“The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no- one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. ”
The preamble to the constitution of the Liberal Democrats.
In 2010, after 13 years of Labour Government, the UK was one of the most regressive and oppressive states in western Europe. There had been a new piece of legislation for virtually every day that Labour was in power, and whilst some of that legislation was necessary the majority of it was an attempt to micromanage our society, our affiliations and our thinking.
Anti-social behaviour orders meant that what was a civil act of nuisance when one person did it, could be a criminal act if a person with an ASBO did the same thing. These acts effectively removed the fundamental principle of one law for all. They were overbearing, often ridiculous and frequently just plain daft. Take the case of the suicidal woman in Bristol who was banned from going near bridges, or the farmer whose pigs were banned from escaping from their pens.
In Government the Liberal Democrats succeeded in negotiating revisions to the Tory proposals which have included measures to ensure that young people face hard labour in the community rather than imprisonment, which has been proven to be damaging in most cases.
Liberal Democrats in Government have also secured an end to child detentions in prison for asylum seekers and a reduction in the amount of time that someone can be held by the police without charge, together with much stronger protections in place for people held under such conditions.
One of the first and most significant polices that the Liberal Democrats have secured in Government is the abolition of Labour’s proposed National Identity Card. Britons can continue to enjoy the freedom to walk out nations streets without having to prove that they have a right and reason to be there.
In the campaign against poverty the Liberal Democrats in Government have secured three major policy changes:
- The increase in the basic income tax threshold will lift over 2,000,000 of our poorest paid citizens out of tax all together and put around £ 750 into the pockets of every low to middle paid person in this country.
- The introduction of the pupil premium means that the children from the poorest families attract the extra cash that they need to pay for additional services that can help them to achieve well in education. This money is spent locally by the schools and can be used for anything from providing a basic breakfast for children right through to providing one-to-one specialist tuition where needed.
- Pensions have been linked to inflation for the first time in 30 years, which means that the basic pension has risen this year by more than at any time in it’s history. This means that at last our pensioners can be certain that their pensions will at least continue to meet the cost of living.
On the issue of community the powers contained in the communities act, and the introduction of the City Deals and Regional Development Funds mean that for the first time the decision about what a community needs to improve it is not dictated from above but requested from below.
Power is being returned to the people, thanks to the Liberal Democrats in Government.