Conservative Manifesto 2010 Change Society Make Britain The Most Family Friendly Country in Europe
We will make Britain the most family-friendly country in Europe. We will support families in the tax and benefits system, extend flexible working and improve parental leave. We will help parents cope with the commercialisation of childhood and give families more control over their lives. We will support and improve Sure Start, and introduce a new universal health visiting service. We will give targeted help to disadvantaged and dysfunctional families.
Strong families are the bedrock of a strong Reform tax and benefits to help society. they provide the stability and love we need to flourish as human beings, and the relationships they foster are the foundation on which society is built. the warmth of a child’s parenting is as important to their life chances as the wealth of their upbringing.
Labour’s complacent attitude to commitment has done untold harm, and their narrow approach ignores the importance of strengthening the relationships between all family members – children, parents, grandparents and the wider family. as a result, britain is one of the least family-friendly countries in the world.
this will change with a Conservative government. We will help families with all the pressures they face: the lack of time, money worries, the impact of work, concerns about schools and crime, preventing unhealthy influences, poor housing. We will not be neutral on this. britain’s families will get our full backing across all our policies.
families and pensioners
today, Labour’s tax and benefits system rewards couples who split up. a Conservative government will end the couple penalty for all couples in the tax credit system as we make savings from our welfare reform plans. We will recognise marriage and civil partnerships in the tax system in the next Parliament. This will send an important signal that we value couples and the commitment that people make when they get married.
to help britain’s families further, a Conservative government will freeze council tax for two years, in partnership with local councils. this will be paid for by reducing spending on government consultants and advertising, and could save families and pensioners up to £219 over two years on a band D bill. We will also scrap Labour’s plans for an expensive and intrusive council tax revaluation.
We support tax credits and will continue to provide the range of tax credits to families, although we can no longer justify paying tax credits to households earning more than £50,000. We will reform the administration of tax credits to reduce fraud and overpayments, which hit the poorest families hardest.
We strongly value the role older people play in families and in society, and will not let them suffer because of the economic mistakes of others. that is why we have made a pledge to pensioners to re-link the basic state pension to earnings, and protect:
• the winter fuel payment;
• free bus passes;
• free tv licences;
• disability living allowance and attendance allowance; and,
• the pension credit. give families more control over their lives making britain more family-friendly means helping families spend more time together.
That is why we will initially extend the right to request flexible working to every parent with a child under the age of eighteen. We want our government to lead from the front, so we will extend the right to request flexible working to all those in the public sector, recognising that this may need to be done in stages. in addition, we will:
• in the longer term, extend the right to request flexible working to all, but only in the light of experience and after full consultation with business on how to do this in a way which is administratively simple and without burdening them with extra costs; and,
• oblige JobCentre Plus offices to ask employers if their vacancies could be advertised on a part-time or flexible basis.
We will introduce a new system of flexible parental leave which lets parents share maternity leave between them, while ensuring that parents on leave can stay in touch with their employer. We support the provision of free nursery care for pre-school children, and we want that support to be provided by a diverse range of providers. a Conservative government will review the way the childcare industry is regulated and funded to ensure that no providers, including childminders, are put at a disadvantage.
to give families more control over their lives, we will put funding for relationship support on a stable, long-term footing and make sure couples are given greater encouragement to use existing relationship support. We will review family law in order to increase the use of mediation when couples do break up, and look at how best to provide greater access rights to non-resident parents and grandparents.
Children should be allowed to grow up at their own pace, without excessive pressure placed on them by businesses. We will take a series of measures to help reverse the commercialisation of childhood. We prefer to gain voluntary consent to these actions but we are prepared to legislate if necessary. We will:
• prevent any marketing or advertising company found to be in serious breach of rules governing marketing to children from bidding for government advertising contracts for three years;
• ban companies from using new peer-to-peer marketing techniques targeted at children, and tackle marketing on corporate websites targeted at children;
• establish a new online system that gives parents greater powers to take action against irresponsible commercial activities targeted at children; and,
• empower head teachers and governors to ban advertising and vending machines in schools. a new approach to early intervention the Conservative Party is committed to keeping Sure Start because the network of Children’s Centres is of enormous value to parents across the country. but we believe Sure Start needs to work better because the people who need it most – disadvantaged and dysfunctional families – are not getting enough of the benefit.
We will take Sure Start back to its original purpose of early intervention, increase its focus on the neediest families, and better involve organisations with a track record in supporting families.
families need the best possible advice and support while their children are young. We will provide 4,200 more Sure Start health visitors – giving all parents a guaranteed level of support before and after birth until their child starts school. this will be paid for out of the Department of health budget and by refocusing Sure Start’s peripatetic outreach services. to improve the early interventions we make to help families, we will:
• ensure that new Sure Start providers are paid in part by the results they achieve;
• bring all funding for early intervention and parenting support into one budget, to be overseen by a single, newly-created early Years Support team; and,
• set out a new approach to help families with multiple problems.
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