The key policies in the Liberal Democrats’ General Election manifesto

Ed Davey’s campaign trail has been full of unexpected hijinks(Picture: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey has gained a lot of attention on the campaign trail for his election stunts – but what is in his actual manifesto for July 4?

The fourth-largest party after the last General Election in 2019 is hoping to leapfrog the SNP to become the third-largest after this one.

On the campaign trail, they’ve unveiled pledges on care, water quality, the NHS, national parks and rail travel.

Follow the latest from the General Election campaign on our live blog 

But the manifesto is the most complete picture of what the Liberal Democrats would like to achieve if they end up as part of the government.

Sir Ed has gone personal in the past few weeks, talking about his extensive personal experience of caring for various members of his family to demonstrate why he’s put care at the centre of party’s campaign.

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And his speech at the manifesto launch was no different – at times he got misty-eyed talking about how he and his relatives were impacted by issues like bereavement support.

Then, at the end, he announced he was off to ride a rollercoaster at Thorpe Park.

Here are some of the main points from the manifesto.

Health and social care

The Lib Dems describe their document as a ‘manifesto to fix the NHS’ (Picture: PA)

Ed Davey’s speech at the manifesto launch today was heavily focused on the NHS and social care – by my watch, about 75 per cent of it was dedicated to the issue.

Everyone in England would be given ‘the right to see a GP within seven days, or within 24 hours if they urgently need to, with 8,000 more GPs to deliver on it’.

Those 8,000 GPs, I was told, would come from a mixture of recruitment and retention.

Another similar promise for cancer patients specifically: a ‘guarantee’ that 100 per cent of them would be able to start treatment within 62 days of their urgent referral.

There’s a manifesto commitment to introduce free personal care, which would be staffed with the help of a new Royal College of Care Workers and a higher Carer’s Minimum Wage.

The eligibility for Carer’s Allowance would be expended, and it would be boosted by £20 too.

The environment

Ed Davey fell of a paddleboard to bring attention to sewage discharges in the Lake District (Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Wire)

Remember when Sir Ed fell from a paddleboard into Windermere right at the start of the General Election campaign? That was to highlight water quality.

Targeting the ‘sewage scandal’ is the top priority listed in the manifesto, with a pledge to ban bonuses for water bosses until discharges and leaks end.

The Liberal Democrats also want to ‘double nature’ by 2050: that means doubling the size of the Protected Area Network; the area of the most important wildlife habitats; the abundance of species; and woodland cover in the UK.

However, a previously announced pledge to create new National Parks doesn’t appear to have made it into the final manifesto.

International issues

The Lib Dems would like a closer relationship with Europe (Picture: Pierre Crom/Getty Images)

You might remember that the last Liberal Democrat election campaign in 2019 revolved around stopping Brexit.

Obviously that didn’t happen, but Sir Ed told the audience at the manifesto launch today that his party remains pro-European.

To that end, tucked away near the end of the manifesto is the line: ‘we would aim to place the UK-EU relationship on a more formal and stable footing by seeking to join the Single Market’.

The party has also scooped Labour somewhat by saying they would officially recognise the independent state of Palestine ‘with immediate effect’.

Education

Sir Ed took part in a baking lesson with students from High Beeches Primary School (Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire)

To combat the children’s mental health crisis, the Lib Dems would put a dedicated, qualified mental health professional in every primary and secondary school.

Disadvantaged children aged three and four would be given an extra five free hours a week of early years education in an effort to close the attainment gap.

All adults would also get a £5,000 ‘Lifelong Skills Grant’ to spend on education and training throughout their lives – with a view to increase this to £10,000 ‘when the public finances allow’.

Economy

‘Tax cuts for big banks’ would be reversed, according to the manifesto (Picture: Getty Images)

The Liberal Democrats aim to tackle the cost of living through a few assistance schemes.

They include an emergency Home Energy Upgrade programme which would cut bills and a National Food Strategy to bring down food prices.

Any tax changes would be focused on ‘reversing the Conservatives’ tax cuts for big banks’, while HMRC would be given ‘the resources it need to properly tackle tax avoidance and evasion’.

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