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Liberal Democrats: Our manifesto in practice

The Liberal Democrats have been in government for only ten months, but we have already implemented many of our manifesto policies.

In this document you will find details of how we are putting our manifesto into

action. The list does not even include those of our policies that are in the Coalition

Programme but have not yet been implemented, so this list is just the first part of a long line of Liberal Democrat policies to come.

This document is a striking illustration of the influence the Liberal Democrats are having in government.

 

 

Your Money

Lib Dem Manifesto p.14 – “We will tackle tax avoidance and evasion, with new powers for HMRC”

In September, Danny Alexander announced a £900m crackdown on tax avoidance and evasion, expected to raise billions each year by 2014/15 from those who currently avoid paying their fair share of tax.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.14 – “We will tax capital gains at the same rates as income, so that all the money you make is taxed in the same way.”

In June’s emergency budget we increased the rate of Capital Gains Tax to 28% for higher rate taxpayers while keeping it at 18% for basic rate taxpayers. This will raise an extra £1bn and end the disgraceful situation of bankers paying a lower rate of tax than their cleaners.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.16 – “We will scrap ID cards”

We have scrapped the ID card programme. The ID card database was publicly destroyed on 11

th February 2011.Lib Dem Manifesto p.17 – “We will pay down the deficit by saying no to the like-forlike replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system.”

There will be no like-for-like replacement of Trident this Parliament. The point at which the contracts would have to be signed for a new generation of submarines has been delayed until 2016, after the next general election.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.17 – “Better IT procurement, investigating the potential of different approaches such as cloud computing and open-source software.”

The Government has formed an Efficiency and Reform Group in the Cabinet Office to develop this. So far existing IT projects have been reviewed with wasteful ones being pruned, and new projects are now watched closely through ICT moratorium. New guidance has been issued to ensure smaller, less costly projects and ensure level playing field for open source software. Report coming in March on ICT procurement.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.18 – “We will increase the income tax threshold to £10,000.”

In June’s emergency budget, we raised the tax threshold by £1,000, lifting 880,000 low earners out of tax completely. It will increase each year of the Coalition Government until it reaches £10,000, which will lift an additional 3 million people out of tax altogether.

 

Lib Dem Manifesto p.18 – “We will immediately restore the link between the basic state pension and earnings. We will uprate the state pension annually by whichever is the higher of growth in earnings or 2.5%”

The link between pensions and earnings, scrapped by Margaret Thatcher, was restored in the Coalition’s first budget. The annual increase in the state pension will be protected by a ‘triple lock’ – the rise will be in line with earnings, prices or a 2.5% increase, whichever is the greater.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.18 – “We will give people control over their pension by scrapping the rule that compels you to buy an annuity when you reach age 75”

The Government announced in the Emergency Budget that it will end the effective requirement to purchase an annuity by age 75 from April 2011.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.18 – “Meeting the government’s obligations towards Equitable Life policyholders who have suffered loss. We will set up a swift, simple, transparent and fair payment scheme”

We have agreed a deal on Equitable Life which is fair to policy ownerand the tax payer. This will finally bring an end to a terrible saga which Labour wouldn’t resolve.

Your Job

Lib Dem Manifesto p.22 – “We will break up the banks, to ensure taxpayers are never again expected to underwrite high-risk banking. We will introduce a Banking Levy, so that banks pay for their tax-payer guarantee, until the break-up is complete.”

We have set up an independent commission on separating investment and retail banking, reporting by September 2011, and introduced a banking levy that will raise £2.5bn a year.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.22 – “We will get the banks lending responsibly again.”

In February 2011, Vince Cable announced an agreement with the biggest UK high-street banks which will see them lend 15% more to Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises this year.

The Government has also persuaded the major domestic banks with the British Bankers’ Association to set up a £2.5bn Business Growth Fund that will supply essential capital to fast-growing businesses.

 

Lib Dem Manifesto p.22 – “We will ensure that the bonus system can never again encourage banks to behave in a way that puts the financial system at risk or offers rewards for failure.”

Project Merlin ensured that we have the most transparent pay disclosure regime in the world, and that pay and bonuses will be lower this year than last – and lower than they would have been without this agreement.

Thanks to the Liberal Democrats in government the FSA will now also have a role in checking bonuses and pay, and lending figures will be independently checked by the Bank of England.

Liberal Democrat MEPs are also working alongside the government to introduce EU regulation on curbing bonuses (see ‘Your World’).

Lib Dem Manifesto p.24 -“To help the transition to a green economy over the longerterm, we will set up a United Kingdom Infrastructure Bank (UKIB) to attract private finance.”

The creation of a UK-wide Green Investment Bank will be funded by a £1 billion spending allocation and additional proceeds from the sale of government-owned assets. The bank will encourage significant additional investment in green infrastructure.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.25 – “Reduce the burden of unnecessary red tape by properly assessing the cost and effectiveness of regulations before and after they are introduced, using ‘sunset clauses’ to ensure the need for regulation is regularly reviewed, and working towards the principle of ‘one in, one out’ for new rules.”

The Government has adopted the ‘one in, one out’ regulatory principle.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.25 – “Put an end to the so called ‘gold-plating’ of EU rules, so that British businesses are not disadvantaged relative to their Europeancompetitors.”

The Government, led by Vince Cable’s department, have put in place a new system to ensure that the implementation of EU rules does not constitute gold-plating that could damage UK competitiveness in Europe.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.26 – “Support public investment in the roll-out of superfast broadband, targeted first at those areas which are least likely to be provided for by the market.”

The Government has published an action plan, Broadband Future hub in every community, making sure the UK has the best broadband in Europe by 2015.

Britain’s Superfast, announcing an £830 million strategy to put a digital 

Lib Dem Manifesto p.26 – “Use the substantial purchasing power of government to expand the markets for green products and technologies.”

Nick Clegg, in February 2011, announced the Development have been ‘sustainability-proofed’ – by making sure they help deliver sustainable economic growth, improve our quality of life and protect our natural environment now and for future generations.

Mainstreaming Sustainable package, which will guarantee that Government policiesLib Dem Manifesto p.27 – “Give financial regulators a clear objective of maintaining a diversity of providers in the financial services industry.”

The Financial Conduct Authority (the replacement for the FSA) will be tasked with increasing and fostering competition in the market.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.28 – “Give both Royal Mail and post offices a long-term future, by separating Post Office Ltd from the Royal Mail and retaining Post Office Ltd in full public ownership.”

The Postal Services Bill is currently passing through Parliament. It allows for the restructuring of Royal Mail, including the introduction of private sector capital and expertise from the sale of part of it, an employee share scheme, and provisions for Post Office Ltd to continue to be owned by the Crown or a mutual ownership structure.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.30 – “We will extend the right to request flexible working to all employees.”

We have put in place secondary legislation to extend the right to request flexible working to parents of children up to age 18 and are consulting with business on shared parental leave and extension of flexible working to all employees

Lib Dem Manifesto p.30 – “Liberal Democrats want to build a society where everyone has the opportunity to get on in life. Most businesses do a great job of supporting their employees, but there is more to do to tackle discrimination on the grounds of gender, sexuality, age, race, religion or disability. We want to give employees fair opportunities to make the best use of their talents, and greater control over their working lives and conditions.”

The Government and Lib Dem MEPs actively supported the EU’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. This is a landmark victory in the struggle of Europe’s 65 million disabled people for equal rights and is the first time the EU has become a party to an international human rights treaty. The Government and Lib Dem MEPs have also pushed to agree new legislation on bus and coach travel which will be of great assistance to

disabled people and older people in particular. There will be a right to accessible travel information before and during the journey, a right to compensation for damaged wheelchairs or other assistive equipment and for long bus and coach journeys, a right to free assistance for disabled persons, and, where necessary, free transport for an accompanying person .

Your Life

Education and Skills

Lib Dem Manifesto p.34 – “We will increase the funding of the most disadvantaged pupils, around one million children. We will invest £2.5bn in this ‘Pupil Premium’ to boost education opportunities for every child.”

The government has delivered on the key Liberal Democrat pledge of a £2.5bn pupil premium to bring extra funding to the most vulnerable students.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.34 – “We will improve discipline by early intervention to tackle to poor basic education of those children who are otherwise most likely to misbehave and become demotivated”

The schools white paper introduced simple reading checks at age 6, designed to stop young children falling behind in basic skills which go unnoticed until it is too late and therefore contribute to future bad behaviour.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.34 – “Guarantee Special Education Needs (SEN) diagnostic assessments for all 5-year olds, improve SEN provision and improve SEN training for teachers.”

In March 2011, Sarah Teather announced an SEN Green Paper that proposed key reforms to the way Special Education Needs are diagnosed and the support that parents and children receive. Amongst other proposals, the paper includes a new single assessment process and a joined-up approach amongst health, social care and education services.

The Green Paper also proposes to give parents more control by offering every family with a single plan the right to a personal budget by 2014, making a wider range of short breaks available in all areas, and ensuring more choice by allowing parents to name in their child’s plan apreference for any state-funded school.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.34 – “We will… support the expansion of Teach First to attract more top graduates into teaching”

 

The Government has announced plans to expand the Teach First scheme. It also announced a new Teach Next programme to encourage more mature entrants into teaching.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.34 – “We will improve teacher training by increasing the size of the school-based Graduate Teacher Programme… we will improve training for existing teachers over the course of their careers to keep them up to date with best practice”

 

The Government have announced plans to expand the Graduate Teacher Programme.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.34 – “Axe the rigid National Curriculum, and replace it with a slimmed-down ‘minimum curriculum entitlement’ to be delivered by every state funded school.”

On January 20th 2011 the Department for Education announced a review into the National Curriculum, to replace the current system with a slimmed-down and more competitive version.

 

Lib Dem Manifesto p.35 – “We will confront bullying, including homophobic bullying, and include bullying prevention in teacher training”

The schools white paper specifically states that we will expect teachers and head teachers to take a strong stand on homophobic bullying. It sets out plans to rationalise and simplify anti-bullying guidance from a fragmented 500 pages to around 20 pages. It also commits to working with NGOs such as Stonewall and the Anti-Bullying Alliance to promote best practice and make sure that schools know where to go for support.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.35 – “We will replace the bureaucratic Early Years Foundation Stage with a slimmed-down framework which includes a range of educational approaches and enough flexibility for every young child.”

Dame Clare Tickell has been commissioned to review how the curriculum of the Early Years Foundation Stage prepares all children for school, reporting in spring 2011.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.36 – “Reform league tables to give parents more meaningful information which truly reflects the performance of a school. Schools should be working to get the best from all their pupils but government league tables are forcingthem to focus on those who are just above or below the key C-grade borderline.”

Under government proposals, performance tables will include a measure of how well pupils progress as well as attainment. All of the information that underpins government statistical tables will be published for each school, and DfE will publish ‘families of schools’ documents that group

 

similar schools in a region and provide detailed performance information that can be used to identify best practice.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.37 – “Introduce an Education Freedom Act banning politicians from getting involved in the day-to-day running of schools.”

The schools white paper introduced this year addresses many of our concerns, removing much of the centralised and stifling bureaucracy imposed by Labour. Every school will have more autonomy, but the white paper also includes provision for local authorities’ strategic oversight.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.38 – “Reform the existing rigid national pay and conditions rules to give schools and colleges more freedom”

The schools white paper announced that we would give schools greater flexibility and freedom to set pay.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.39 – “Reform current bursary schemes to create a National Bursary Scheme for students, so that each university gets a bursary budget suited to the needs of its students. These bursaries would be awarded both on the basis of studying strategic subjects (such as sciences and mathematics) and financial hardship.”

The Government, led by Vince Cable’s department, will introduce a new National Scholarship Scheme worth £150 million by 2014 to support able, low-income students with living costs and fee waivers. In addition, Universities will now have to do far more to attract students from disadvantaged backgrounds which will include targeted bursaries.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.40 – “We will end Train to Gain funding for large companies, restricting the funds to the small and medium-sized firms that need the support.”

The Government has announced that it will end Train to Gain and replace it with an SME-focused programme to help small employers train low-skilled staff.

Health

 

Lib Dem Manifesto p. 40

Give priority to preventing people getting ill by linking payments to health boards and GPs more directly to prevention measures.”

The Public Health White Paper proposes that 15% of current funding through the Quality and Outcomes Framework is tied to evidence-based public health and primary prevention indicators from 2013 in order to incentivise the new GP consortia to reduce public health inequalities.

 

 

Lib Dem Manifesto p.40 – “Cut the size of the Department of Health by half, abolish unnecessary quangos such as Connecting for Health and cut the budgets of the rest, scrap Strategic Health Authorities and seek to limit the pay and bonuses of top NHS managers so that none are paid more than the Prime Minister.”

The NHS White Paper confirmed proposals to reduce NHS management costs by more than 45% over the next four years, radically reduce the Department of Health’s own functions and to abolish quangos that do not need to exist. These proposals will be put into practice by the Health and Social Care Bill which will also abolish Strategic Health Authorities and cut the cost of NHS administration cut by a third.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.41 – “Integrate health and social care to create a seamless service, ending bureaucratic barriers and saving money to allow people to stay in their homes for longer rather than going into hospital or long term residential care.”

Around 35,000 people will benefit from a £70 million cash boost announced by the Coalition that will enable the NHS to support people back into their homes after a spell in hospital. The Health and Social Care Bill promotes integration and partnership working between the NHS, social care, public health and other local services through the creation of health and wellbeing boards. Following a successful efficiency drive, Paul Burstow announced in January an additional £162million to be spent on helping people to leave hospital more quickly, get settled back at home with the support they need, and to prevent unnecessary admissions to hospital.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.41 – “We will prioritise dementia research within the health research and development budget.”

The Treasury confirmed in October 2010 that this commitment on dementia research will be prioritised within health research and development. Paul Burstow is now personally overseeing this commitment through his role as chair of a Ministerial Advisory Group by ensuring that dementia researchers get a fair share of the £1.7 billion research fund. Plans will be published soon to accelerate the pace in this vital area of research.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.41 – “We will improve access to counselling for people with mental health problems, by continuing the roll-out of cognitive and behavioural therapies.”

Nick Clegg and Paul Burstow announced in February 2011 additional investment of £400million to improve access to modern, evidence based psychological therapies over the next four years as a part of the Government’s new mental health strategy entitled Mental Health

 

No Health Without. This strategy commits to beginning to expand provision of psychological therapies to children and young people, older people, people with long-term health problems, those with medically unexplained symptoms and those with serious mental illness. The strategy will extend the current programme available to offer personalised support to 3.2 million people across the country.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.41 – “We support a ban on below-cost selling, and are in favour of the principle of minimum pricing, subject to detailed work to establish how it could be used in tackling problems of irresponsible drinking.

In January 2011 the Government unveiled plans to introduce a minimum price for alcohol. Shops and bars will be banned from selling drink for less than the tax paid on them and will mean a base price for alcoholic drinks for the first time.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.43 – “We all need to be assured that, if we become unwell, the care we get will be of good quality. Most of all, we need to be confident that our safety comes first, and that the treatment we get doesn’t put us in more danger. Wewill introduce a series of reforms to improve patient safety.”

The Government actively supported the recently agreed Directive on Cross Border Healthcare. This sets out a coherent and clear legislative framework for UK patients seeking treatment in another EU Member State. Crucially, patients will receive important information of the quality and standard of care as well as the kind of treatment they are likely to receive in another EU Member State.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.43 – “Giving every patient the right to choose to register with the GP they want, without being restricted by where they live.”

Proposals contained in the NHS White Paper, which are now being brought forward in the Health and Social Care Bill, will give every patient a right to choose to register with any GP practice regardless of where they live.

Culture and Sport

Lib Dem Manifesto p.45 – “We will maintain free entry to national museums and galleries and open up the Government Art Collection for greater public use.”

We have maintained free entry to national museums and galleries, and Government Art Collection works are to be shown in a public gallery for the first time.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.46 – “Cut red tape for putting on live music.”

 

In March 2011, the Government announced that it would be supporting Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Clement-Jones’ Live Music Bill. This Bill will benefit hundreds of small pubs, restaurants and church and community halls who want live music at their venue by generally removing the need to apply for a complicated licence.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.46 – “Use cash in dormant betting accounts to set up a capital fund for improving local sports facilities and supporting sports clubs”

Don Foster has written a report on unclaimed gambling winnings for the Department of Media, Culture and Sport. The Government is reviewing this and will announce its plans shortly.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.46 – “Support a diverse regional and local media. We will help to maintain independent local sources of news and information by enabling partnerships between TV, radio and newspaper companies to reduce costs, and by limiting publicly-subsidised competition for paid advertising from local council freesheets.”

In February 2011 the Government announced a new ‘publicity code’ for English councils that tightens up the rules to protect the use of taxpayers’-money being spent inappropriately. Following consultation it sets out specific rules to stop municipal newspapers being published more often than four times a year. In January 2011 the Department for Culture, Media and Sport launched its Local Media Action plan, with interested providers invited to give their responses by 1

st  March. The aim is to offer communities a ‘new voice’ and provide local perspectives directly relevant to them. Licenses will be awarded by the end of 2012 with local stations up and running soon after. On February 14th  the Government laid before the House new rules to allow local TV, radio and newspapers operating in one area to be brought under the same owner. This will make it easier for local media to survive in a tough environment.

 

 

Your Family

 

 

Lib Dem Manifesto p.49 – “We will allow parents to share the allocation of maternity and paternity leave between them.” 

In January 2011, Nick Clegg outlined plans to press ahead in April with changes to allow couples to share maternity leave, with the Government consulting on a proper system of shared parental leave to be introduced in 2015.

 

Lib Dem Manifesto p.49 – “We will protect existing childcare support arrangements until the nation’s finances can support a longer term solution: a move to 20 hours free childcare for every child, from the age of 18 months.”

We have extended 15 hours free early education to all disadvantaged two year-olds, while keeping the free offer of 15 hours early education for every three and four-year-old. We will be spending £300 million more on this by the end of the Parliament

Lib Dem Manifesto p.50 – “Maintain the commitment to end child poverty in the UK by 2020.”

This commitment has been maintained.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.50 – “Enhance child protection. We will enforce the publication of an anonymised version of Serious Case Reviews to ensure that lessons are learned.”

Serious Case Reviews, including that of Baby Peter, have been published.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.52 – “We will offer a week’s respite for the one million carers who spend 50 hours every week looking after a sick relative.”

Paul Burstow has made over £400 million available in additional funding over the next four years to provide a week’s respite care to the almost one million carers who work over 50 hours a week.

Sarah Teather also recently announced £800 million investment in short break provision for disabled children and their families.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.52 – “Scrap compulsory retirement ages, allowing those who wish to continue in work to do so.”

The government has announced it is ending the compulsory retirement age.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.54 – “We will stop private sector wheel-clamping”

Lynne Featherstone has announced that wheel-clamping on private land will be banned.

Your World

Lib Dem Manifesto p.58 – “Begin a ten-year programme of home insulation, offering a home energy improvement package of up to £10,000 per home, paid for by the

savings from lower energy bills, and make sure every new home is fully energyefficient by improving building regulations.”

At the beginning of November 2010, Chris Huhne announced the Green Deal. Through the Green Deal, households and businesses will be able to invest in home insulation at no up-front costs, paying back the investment through the lower bills that will result. Extra help will be available through the new Energy Company Obligation for those living in hard-to-treat buildings, such as those with solid rather than cavity walls.

Under the new Energy Company Obligation, the government will require energy companies to help poorer customers with their Green Deal packages. And since the Green Deal will take time to cover everyone’s homes, from April 2011 the Warm Home Discount will help around 2 million vulnerable households per year by reducing their electricity bills by about £130 each.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.58 – “We will set out a clear renewable route map to 2050, covering grid access and investment in electricity networks, and develop new incentives to promote renewable heat.”

Our comprehensive reform of the electricity market, on which we are currently consulting, will establish clear incentives for low-carbon power, particularly from renewables. The Green Investment Bank will be key to channelling additional flows of private investment into the major programme of low-carbon electricity infrastructure investment we will need over the next decade.

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), the equivalent of the feed-in tariff scheme for renewable heat installations such as solar thermal, heat pumps and biogas boilers, was announced by Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne in March 2011; £860m will be allocated to the RHI in 2011–15.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.58 – “We will transform the electricity networks into a dynamic electricity grid that can better connect and integrate new, clean energy technologies particularly through the better use of sub-sea connections, leading to the development of a European Supergrid.”

The Government has launched a consultation on energy market reform to incentivise a dynamic electricity grid and demand reduction through a capacity mechanism. We have worked with our European partners to accelerate plans for a North Sea Offshore Grid initiative, which will now report to ministers on a sub-sea Supergrid in June 2011.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.58 – “Invest up to £400 million in refurbishing shipyards in the North of England and Scotland so that they can manufacture offshore wind turbines and other marine renewable energy equipment.”

 

The Government has taken the first steps toward this goal, announcing in October 2010 £60m of Government funding to establish world-class offshore wind manufacturing at ports sites. The investment will help secure our energy supplies, protect our planet and the Carbon Trust says it could create 70,000 jobs.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.59 – “If you choose micro-generation, you will be able to sell the energy back to the National Grid at a profit, with a more attractive feed-in tariff than under current government plans.”

Feed-in tariffs were protected under the spending review.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.59 – “Block any new coal-fired power stations – the most polluting form of power generation – unless they are accompanied by the highest level of carbon capture and storage facilities.”

Chris Huhne has stated that the coalition would not allow any new coal power station to be built without being equipped with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, and we have allocated £1 billion for the world’s first commercial-scale CCS demonstration project. Our process of electricity market reform includes a proposal for an emissions performance standard that will set an upper limit on the carbon emissions allowable from any fossil fuel station.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.59 – “Improve energy efficiency in the commercial and public sectors, by strengthening the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme and requiring companies and government departments to report on their energy use and set targets for reducing it. We will set a 30 per cent energy efficiency improvement target for 2020, and will commit the government to the goals of the 10:10 campaign as a first step.”

In the first week in government we announced that all central government departments would reduce carbon emissions by 10% within the one year. This is the first step towards an ambitious long-term energy efficiency target for the public sector. We have announced a review of the Carbon Reduction Commitment to ensure it is adequately driving energy efficiency in companies and the public sector

Lib Dem Manifesto p.60 – “Engage with major emitters and deepen diplomatic cooperation between the EU and emerging economies and developing countries, provide enhanced financial support for low-carbon solutions and lead international efforts to promote the transfer of technologies that will help to tackle climate change.”

 

 

Chris Huhne played a leading role in the UN climate conference in Cancun in December 2010, helping get the process back on the road after the disappointment of the Copenhagen conference in 2009. He also served as a member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing, helping to identify possible options for the funding of the Green Climate Fund agreed at Cancun to assist developing countries with mitigating and adapting to climate change. 

Lib Dem Manifesto p.61 – “Protect the world’s forests, not only to reduce carbon emissions but also to preserve this crucial reservoir of biodiversity. We will argue for an international target of zero net deforestation by 2020; support a new system of payments to developing countries to enable them to reduce deforestation; and adopt at EU – or, if necessary, at UK – level a new making it illegal to import or possess timber produces illegally in foreign countries.”

The Cancun climate conference made good progress with establishing a system for REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) through which developing countries will be paid to protect their forests. Of the £1.5 billion we are spending on ‘fast start’ finance in 2010–12, £300 million will be devoted to forests, and more funding will follow after 2012. In summer 2010, following a six year campaign by Chris Davies MEP, and with the strong support of the Coalition Government, the EU passed a new law banning the import of illegally-sourced timber and products derived from such timber into the EU.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.62 – “Work with other countries to develop an international labelling system for the environmental impact of products, helping consumers choose those with the least impact on resource use and pollution.”

The Government and Lib Dem MPs were highly influential in securing new EU legislation extending energy labelling for a variety of new energy consuming products.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.62 – “We will increase the UK’s aid budget to reach the UN target of 0.7% of GNI by 2013”

The overseas aid budget has been protected from cuts and will rise to £11.5bn over the next four years. The effect will be that the UK will reach the United Nations goal of giving 0.7% of GNI in aid by 2013.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.63 – “We will prioritise health and education programmes in the developing world which aim to promote gender equality and reduce maternal and infant mortality.”

In September 2010, Nick Clegg announced that the government will refocus its aid efforts to put the lives of women in developing countries at its heart.

 

Lib Dem Manifesto p.63 – “Support a global fund for social protection to help developing countries build viable welfare systems.”

The Global Poverty Action Fund (GPAF) is a new fund that was launched on 27 October 2010. The GPAF will be a demand-led fund supporting projects focused on service delivery in support of poverty reduction and the most off-track Millennium Development Goals in poor countries. Projects will be selected on the basis of demonstrable impact on poverty, clarity of outputs and outcomes, and value for money.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.65 – “Reinvigorate Franco-British and wider European defence co-operation to ensure procurement costs are kept low.”

In November 2010, a new programme of defence co-operation between the UK and France was announced by the Government, to be delivered by an overarching Defence Co-operation Treaty.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.66 – “Work with Britain’s European neighbours to create thousands of new jobs by breaking down trade barriers and boosting support for green jobs”.

The Government, led by Vince Cable’s department, and with the support of Lib Dem MEPs, is a leading proponent of the package of measures under the EU Single Market Act and other flagship initiatives, such as the Innovation Union, Digital Agenda and Resource Efficient Europe, to dramatically deepen and widen the EU single market.

In particular, economic growth and thousands of new British jobs are expected to be created from the completion of the single market for services, and the development of a functioning EU digital and energy single market, with a particular focus on low carbon sectors.The Government is also a leading supporter of completing new major EU Free Trade Agreements, including with South Korea, India and Canada. This will create huge new trading opportunities for British businesses and generate tens of thousands of new jobs.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.66 – “Work through the EU for stricter international regulation of financial services and banking.”

The Government has been working with Liberal Democrat MEP, Sharon Bowles, in negotiations over a huge array of new EU level financial regulations. This includes establishing a completely new EU financial regulatory architecture, beefing up the capital buffers held by banks, tackling systemic weakness in financial regulations across the Union and establishing a new and tougher EU-wide regime for bankers’ bonuses. New EU legislation from 2010 has ensured that at least 50% of bankers’ bonuses must be in ‘contingent capital’ and shares which locks in the value of bonuses to the long-term performance of the bank; that banks

have to disclose bonuses over €1 million; and that lump sum bonus-like pension benefits (e.g. Fred Goodwin who walked away from RBS with a multi-million pound pension deal despite the bank having to be bailed out by the taxpayers as a result of his decisions) will be paid in contingent capital and shares and held for at least 5 years after the employee has retired or left the company.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.66 – “Keep Britain part of international crime-fighting measures such as the European Arrest Warrant, European Police Office (Europol), Eurojust, and the European Criminal Records Information System, while ensuring high standards of justice.”

The UK remains an active member of all of these measures. In addition, the Government has opted in to new EU Justice & Home Affairs measures including the new European Investigation Order, which will make it simpler for police forces from across the EU to request help from each other; new measures to combat cybercrime and the sexual exploitation of children; and new measures to provide guaranteed rights for EU citizens arrested in the Union but outside their own member state.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.67 – “Make the EU use its collective weight effectively in other areas of foreign policy. Britain can have a far stronger voice on relations with Russia, China, Iran and the Middle East peace process when it joins with the rest of Europe”

The new European External Action Service (EEAS) became up and running in January 2011 and has the full support of the Government as a means to strengthen Britain’s voice in the world through Europe. The Government has secured provisional agreement among EU member states for a package of trade concessions to Pakistan to help alleviate the humanitarian stress there following the huge floods in 2010. The Government is actively supporting efforts to strengthen the EU’s role in its relations with Russia and other emerging powers and markets, in particular through the agreement of new Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) such as with India.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.68 – “We will hold a full judicial inquiry into allegations of British complicity in torture and state kidnapping as part of a process to restore Britain’s reputation for decency and fairness.”

The Coalition Government has announced a judicial inquiry into Britain’s role in torture and rendition since the al-Qaida attacks of September 2001. A three-person inquiry panel will be headed by Sir Peter Gibson, a former appeal court judge who is currently commissioner for the intelligence services.

 

Your Community

Lib Dem Manifesto p.72 – “Reform the police, with a full review of the very restrictive terms and conditions for police officer employment.”

In October 2010 the Home Office launched a full review into the pay and conditions of the police in England and Wales. The review is due to report back in June 2011.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.73 – “Require better recording of hate crime against disabled, homosexual and transgender people.”

In December 2010 Lynne Featherstone launched the government’s new equalities strategy, which includes a commitment to promote better recording of, and response to, hate crimes.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.74 – “We will make prisoners work and contribute from their prison wages to a compensation fund for victims”

The Government’s Sentencing Green Paper included proposals for ‘working prisons’ to get prisoners used to working regular hours, and to contribute toward financial reparations for victims.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.74 – “Move offenders who are drug addicts or mentally ill into more appropriate secure accommodation.”

As of June 2011 we will pilot drug recovery wings in prisons, reviewing this in June 2012 with a view to working with the Department of Health to roll it out more widely. The Sentencing Green Paper proposes to pilot and roll out liaison and diversion services nationally by 2014 for mentally ill offenders, and increase the treatment capacity for offenders who present a high risk of harm where this is linked to a severe personality disorder.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.74 – “As a consequence of these changes, be able to cancel the Government’s billion-pound prison building programme.”

The Government is scaling back the prison building programme and instead focusing on rehabilitating criminals to ensure that they do not reoffend.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.75 – “We will give people a direct say in how petty criminals and those who engage in anti-social behaviour are punished by setting up Neighbourhood Justice Panels”

 

The sentencing green paper also included proposals for increasing the opportunities for communities to become involved in local justice through Neighbourhood Justice Panels.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.75 – “Champion restorative justice programmes which make offenders confront their behaviour and are more successful at reducing crime”

The sentencing green paper also includes proposals to make more use of restorative justice as a more effective punishment

Lib Dem Manifesto, p.76 – “We will end the detention of children in immigration detention centres”

On 16th December, Nick Clegg announced the ending of child detentionfor immigration purposes.

 

Lib Dem Manifesto, p.77 – “In a fair society, everyone should have the right to a decent home, but this is not the reality of Britain today. There should be quality social and private rented housing available for those who need or choose it.”

We have announced plans for 150,000 new affordable homes over the next four years, the first net increase in the social housing stock by any government in 30 years.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.77 – “We will make sure every new home is fully energy efficient by improving building regulations.”

We have required a 25% improvement in energy efficiency standards for new buildings.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.78 – “We will scrap burdensome Home Information Packs, retaining the requirement for homes to have an energy performance certificate.”

We have scrapped Home Information Packs, and retained the requirement for homes to have an energy performance certificate.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.79 – “Include promotion of safer cycling and pedestrian routes in all local transport plans.”

In September Norman Baker announced plans for a new Local Sustainable Transport Fund to challenge local transport authorities outside London to develop packages of measures that support economic growth and reduce carbon emissions in their communities, as well as delivering cleaner environments, improved safety and increased levels of physical activity.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.80 – “We will cancel plans for the third runway at Heathrow.”

 

In May 2010, as one of the first actions of the new Government, the proposed third runway was scrapped.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.80 – “Work through the EU for a zero emissions target for all new cars by 2040 and extend targets to other vehicles.”

The Government has been working closely with the EU and in February 2011, the European Parliament announced an ambitious set of EU carbon emission reduction targets for all light commercial vehicles.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.81 – “Introduce a new strategy to bring the UK back on target to halt the loss of habitats and species and as far as possible restore biodiversity by 2020”

On 4

th December 2010 the UK pledged £2million in financial support to the newly created Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) which has been created by the UN. IPBES will provide independent advice and scientific evidence on our biodiversity with which to tackle the growing threats to our environment. The Big Tree Plant launched on the 2nd December 2010. A £4million scheme will see over a million trees planted across England in the next four years

 

Lib Dem Manifesto p.81 – “A huge increase in anaerobic digestion to generate energy from food and farm waste.”

The Government has consulted on an Anaerobic Digestion framework that lays out the plan to move towards more complete measures, with a report due in spring 2011.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.82 – “We will stop ‘garden grabbing’ by defining gardens as Greenfield sites in planning law so that they cannot so easily be built over.”

We have ended ‘garden grabbing’, saving considerable amounts of greenbelt land from being built over.

Lib Dem Manifesto, p.83 – “Through our policy on Capital Gains Tax, ensure that those who use second homes as speculative investments will pay tax on enhanced capital value at the same rate as on earned income, not at 18% as at present”

In June’s emergency budget we increased the rate of Capital Gains Tax to 28% for higher rate taxpayers while keeping it at 18% for basic rate taxpayers.

 

Lib Dem Manifesto p.83 – “We will promote schemes for affordable homes like equity mortgages and ‘Home on the Farm’ which encourage farmers to convert existing buildings into affordable housing.”

We have promoted ‘Home on the Farm’ schemes that encourage farmers to convert existing buildings into affordable housing.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.83 – “Refund VAT to mountain rescue services.”

In February 2011, Danny Alexander announced that the Government would refund VAT to mountain rescue services through an annual grant.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.84 – “Help consumers chose foods with the least environmental impact, through clear labelling, and work with the EU to make sure country-of-origin labels identify the source of the produces, not where they are packaged.”

In February 2011 the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs published more informed decisions about what products they buy, and put a stop to inaccurate claims of ‘green’ products, allowing genuinely sustainable products more market share. The principles of Country of Origin Labelling Code, published in November 2010, will formalise the information provided by companies on the origin of their meat and dairy products and eliminate confusion over sourcing, allowing consumers to make informed decisions about sustainability and environmental impact.

Green Claims, guidance that will help consumers make

Lib Dem Manifesto p.85 – “Reform the process of criminal record checking so that volunteers need only one record that is portable, rather than multiple checks for each activity”

As part of the Freedom Bill, Lynne Featherstone, announced that the process of Vetting and Barring would be reduced to common sense levels, and that volunteers would now need only one CRB check that would be portable, no longer requiring them to have multiple checks.

Your Say

Lib Dem Manifesto p.87 – “We will give people a real say in who governs the country by introducing fair votes.”

The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill was passed in February 2011, meaning there will be a referendum on introducing the Alternative Vote on May 5

th 2011.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.89 – “We will introduce fixed-term parliaments to ensure that the Prime Minister of the day cannot change the date of an election to suit them.”

The Fixed Term Parliaments Bill, which legislates for fixed term Parliaments, is in the process of going through Parliament.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.92- “We will implement the recommendations of the Calman Commission to give significant new powers and responsibilities to the Scottish Parliament.”

 

The Scotland Bill had its first reading on the 30th November. It implements the recommendations of the Calman Commission, devolving landfill tax and stamp duty, and introducing a Scottish Income Tax and new borrowing powers.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.92 – “We will scrap the Government Offices for the Regions and regional ministers.”

We have scrapped the Government Offices for the Regions and regional ministers, devolving some of their powers and resources to local government.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.92 – “Give the National Assembly primary legislative powers so that it becomes a true Welsh Parliament. We also support passing on a greater number of responsibilities to the National Assembly.”

 

A referendum on extending the law-making powers of the NationalAssembly for Wales was held on 3rd March, 2011.

The people of Wales voted ‘yes’ and new legislative powers for the Assembly will come into force in summer. 

Lib Dem Manifesto p.93 – “We will introduce a Freedom Bill. We will regulate CCTV, stop councils from spying on people, stop unfair extradition to the US, defend trial by jury and stop children being fingerprinted at school without their parents’ permission.”

The Freedom Bill was published on 11th February 2011. It includes the measures listed below.

A new statutory code of practice for local authorities and police on the use of CCTV and ANPR to improve effectiveness and ensure proportionately.

New safeguards in the use of surveillance powers (RIPA) to protect lawabiding citizens from town hall snoopers.

Schools will no longer be able to fingerprint children under 18 without their parents’ permission.

 

 

It also replaces the powers to stop and search persons and vehicles without reasonable suspicion with a power that is exercisable in significantly more restricted circumstances. It reverses measures put in place in 2003 which removed the right to trial by jury in complex fraud cases. The Government also set up a review of extradition in September 2010. Among other things this review will look at whether the US-UK extradition treaty is balanced. 

Lib Dem Manifesto p.94 – “Halt the increase in unnecessary new offences with the creation of a ‘stop unit’ in the Cabinet Office. Every department in Whitehall would have to convince this unit of the need for a new offence.”

The Government has created a unit in the Ministry of Justice to scrutinise any new offences, by any department, before they can be created.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.94 – “We will remove innocent people from the police DNA database”

The Freedom Bill also includes a measure to ensure that the DNA of innocent people will no longer be kept on the database, only those convicted of a crime.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.94 – “Scrap control orders, which can use secret evidence to place people under house arrest.”

Control orders have been scrapped and the Government’s new system ends forced relocation; ends lengthy curfews; increases the threshold of evidence required; and time limits their length.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.94 – “Scrap plans for expensive unnecessary new passports with additional biometric data.”

Plans for the next generation of biometric fingerprint passports were scrapped in May 2010, saving £134m.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.94 – “We will scrap the intrusive ContactPoint database which is intended to hold the details of every child in England.”

The ContactPoint database was switched off on the 6

th August 2010.

Lib Dem Manifesto p.95 – “Reduce the maximum period of pre-detention charge to 14 days.”

The Freedom Bill also reduces the maximum period of pre-detention charge to 14 days.