You can read the Lib Dems full manifesto here but Liberal Youth had a quick leaf through the Lib Dem manifesto for some of the policies we thought you might be interested in. Here’s a few of the highlights we picked out:
One in four of us will experience a mental health problem at some point in our lives, but for decades support for those facing a mental health problem has been neglected.
To deliver genuinely equal care for mental health in the NHS we will continue to roll out access and waiting time standards for children, young people and adults. Meaning no one should have to wait more than six weeks for therapy for depression or anxiety and a two-weeks for all young people experiencing a first episode of psychosis.
This is made possible by the £3.5bn we will be investing in mental health throughout the next parliament. This investment will also help children to access high-quality care closer to home.
We will also ensure front-line staff in schools and universities, get better training in mental health, to enable them to identify pupils and students who may be in need of help.
Crucially, we will continue to support the Time to Change programme, tackling stigma against mental health to so people can be comfortable with seeking the support they need.
Work and Apprentices:
Liberal Democrats will protect young people’s entitlements to the welfare safety net, while getting them the help they need to get their first job. That means doubling the number of businesses that hire apprentices. It also means providing support that has been proven to work, like work experience placements that help them get a first foot on the career ladder.
These placements should be tailored for those with disabilities or mental health problems and those with parental responsibilities and we will work to expand the availability of placements into new sectors including manufacturing, science and technology
Develop cutting-edge digital skills courses for young people and the unemployed, working with private sector employers and education and training providers.
Being Free and Happy:
People will be freer. A second Freedoms Act will have embedded citizens’ rights to freedom of speech and protest. The Human Rights Act will remain, with children’s rights protected in law too.
The culture of everyday sexism will be declining, with young people taught in school about respect in relationships and sexual consent. Online, people will no longer be worried that the government is monitoring their every keystroke: a Digital Bill of Rights will have enshrined enduring principles of privacy and helped keep the internet open.
A second Freedoms Act to protect free speech, stop heavy-handed policing and ban Mosquito devices that discriminate against young people.
Children start learning from the moment they are born, so parents need to be supported right from the start. Our plan stretches from cradle to college: high-quality early years education; qualified teachers and successful schools in every community; more money helping the children who need it most; flexible choices for teenagers and young people; and world-class training at college and university to set every young adult on the path to a fulfilled working life.
A world class university sector, open to all Liberal Democrats have ensured that no undergraduate student in England has to pay a penny up front of their tuition fees. Students in England do not have to pay anything until they are earning over £21,000 per year – a figure which will increase in line with earnings – and over that income, monthly repayments are linked to earnings. This means only high-earning graduates pay their tuition fees in full.
We now have the highest university application rates ever, including from disadvantaged students. But we need to ensure higher education is accessible to all those who can benefit, including at postgraduate level. Liberal Democrats in government secured the first ever income-contingent loans scheme for graduate degrees, which we will protect and seek to extend. We will we ensure that all universities work to widen participation across the sector, prioritising early intervention in schools and colleges. This will include running summer schools and setting up mentoring programmes between students or alumni and school pupils.
Require universities to be transparent about their selection criteria. Work with university ‘mission groups’ to develop a comprehensive credit accumulation and transfer framework to help students transfer between and within institutions, enable more part-time learning, and help more people to complete qualifications. Improve the Key Information Set and explore the option of a standardised student contract. We will legislate to reform regulation of the higher education sector, improving student protection.
Establish a review of higher education finance within the next Parliament to consider any necessary reforms, in the light of the latest evidence of the impact of the existing financing system on access, participation (including of low-income groups) and quality. The review will cover undergraduate and postgraduate courses, with an emphasis on support for living costs for students, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Improving support for young people:
We want young people to face the future with optimism and confidence. The education leaving age has now risen to 18, but as children grow, their independence grows too, and the support that education and youth services provide to them and their families needs to adapt. Whether it is supporting people with the costs of travel to college or apprenticeships, or promoting positive images of young people by celebrating their successes: Liberal Democrats are on the side of the next generation. Here are some of the things the Lib Dems would do to improve support for young people:
- Enable government departments, local Councils and private businesses to add discount offers to the Young Person’s Discount Card. Review access to transport for students and apprentices in rural areas where no scheduled services may be available.
- Develop an NHS ‘student guarantee’, making it easier for students to get care and support while at university, particularly those with long-term health conditions or caring responsibilities Promote social action and volunteering at school, college and university and work to raise the status of youth work and youth workers.
- Improve links between employers and schools, encouraging all schools to participate in mentoring schemes and programmes that seek to raise aspiration like Speakers for Schools. In particular, we will seek to inspire more children and young people to follow technical and scientific careers through partnership with relevant businesses.
- Grow our skill base, especially in the technologies and industries that are most important to our economic future. We want it to become the norm for businesses to take on and train up young people as apprentices in every sector of our economy, and for higher level apprenticeships to be understood as a respected alternative to university education.
- Develop National Colleges as national centres of expertise for key sectors, like renewable energy, to deliver the high-level vocational skills that businesses need.
- Establish a cross-party commission to secure a long-term settlement for the public funding of re-skilling and lifelong learning.
- Set up a review into the VAT treatment of Sixth Form Colleges and FE Colleges to ensure fair treatment in relation to the schools sector.
- Work with the Apprenticeship Advisory Group to increase the number of apprentices from BAME backgrounds, ensure gender balance across industry sectors, and encourage under-represented groups to apply.
- Identify and seek to solve skills gaps like the lack of advanced technicians by expanding higher vocational training like foundation degrees, Higher National Diplomas, Higher National Certificates and Higher Apprenticeships.
- New Help to Rent tenancy deposit loans to help young people get into their first place.
Too many people, particularly younger people, can't afford a home of their own. Liberal Democrats have set a bold and ambitious target to increase the amount of homes we build in the UK to 300,000 every year, more than any other mainstream party. These homes will be greener than the current housing stock because they will be built to a “zero carbon standard” meaning they will be better insulated and heated.
We will also also create a "Rent to Own" programme, where young people will be able to buy their own home without needing a deposit. Rent to Own will see first-time buyers steadily build up a share in their home through monthly payments equivalent to rent until they own the property outright after 30 years, just like a normal mortgage.
For decades, successive Conservative and Labour Governments have not built enough homes. This lack of building has left us with a crippling under supply and an industry that is only producing roughly half of the houses we need. This lack of homes forces prices and rents higher and higher leaving thousands of people, especially young people, with no hope of buying their first property.
We have set a higher target than the other parties because we believe 300,000 new homes a year is the minimum we need, not only to meet existing need but also to tackle the historic under-supply.
Liberal Democrats are the only major party that takes seriously the responsibility of protecting our natural environment. We believe it is vital to make sure everyone has access to clean water, clean air and green spaces. We want to hand our countryside and green spaces on to the next generation in a better condition than when we were children. That is why we have consistently defended the natural environment in government, bringing forward plans for a 5p charge for plastic bags, planting a million extra trees in England and ensuring Natural England remains a strong and independent organisation able to speak up for nature. We have fought to protect the Green Belt and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and we have increased public access to our coastal paths
For too long the debate about effective ways to reduce the harm caused by drugs has been distorted by political prejudice. Around the world, countries are trialling new approaches that are reducing drug harm, improving lives, reducing addiction and saving taxpayers’ money. In the UK we have made good progress on treatment but we continue to give 80,000 people a year a criminal record for drug possession, blighting their employment chances, and we still imprison 1,000 people a year for personal possession when they are not charged with dealing or any other offence.
We will adopt the approach used in Portugal where those arrested for possession of drugs for personal use are diverted into treatment, education or civil penalties that do not attract a criminal record.
Put the Department of Health rather than the Home Office in charge of drug policy.
If you have any questions about the policies then just drop out staff member Olivia a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and she’ll get back to you as soon as possible. And remember, you can read the Lib Dems full manifesto here!