LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s pro-European Union Liberal Democrats launched their manifesto on Wednesday, setting out the policies they would put into place if they are elected to government on Dec. 12.
The party is in third place in opinion polls and expected to fall a long way short of forming their own majority government. But if there is no clear winner they may have a key role in deciding what policies a minority government can implement.
Their central policy was emblazoned across the front of the manifesto’s yellow and orange patterned cover: “Stop Brexit, build a brighter future”
The party wants to stop Brexit and has said if it is elected with a majority it will revoke Article 50. If it is not, it will fight for a second referendum with an option to stay in the EU.
It says stopping Brexit will generate a “remain bonus” of 50 billion pounds over the next five years because the economy will grow faster than it would have done outside the EU. It plans to use that money to invest in public services and tackling inequality.
- Invest 130 billion pounds in infrastructure over the next five years, including public transport upgrades, broadband, housing, schools and hospitals.
- Ensure overall national debt continues to decline as a share of national income
- Protect the independence of the Bank of England and keep the inflation target of 2%
- Increase corporation tax to 20%
- Simplify business taxation
- Replace business rates system
- Implement reforms to stop multinationals shifting profits
- Allow the public to share in the profits made by tech companies in the use of their data
- Extend the scope of the existing public interest test when considering approving foreign takeovers.
- Free childcare for children of working parents from age 9 months, and free childcare for every child aged 2-4
- 20,000 more teachers
- A 4.6 billion-pound cash injection for schools next year and 10 billion pounds a year more for schools by 2024/25
- Invest in renewable power so at least 80% of UK electricity is generated from renewables by 2030
- Ban fracking
- Ban non-recyclable single-use plastics
- Moratorium on the development of net new UK runways
HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE
- increase income tax by 1% to raise an extra 7 billion pounds a year to spend on health and social care
- Introduce a levy on tobacco companies
- Minimum unit pricing for alcohol
- A levy on gambling companies
- Decriminalise abortion across the UK while retaining the existing 24-week limit and legislate for access to abortion facilities within Northern Ireland
Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Stephen Addison
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