Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2010 Your Life

Liberal Democrats believe in investing in and improving the quality of our public services. They are the cornerstone of a fair society, opening up opportunities and providing support and help when needed.

a fair deal and the help you need from public services

Liberal Democrats believe in investing in and improving the quality of our public services. They are the cornerstone of a fair society, opening up opportunities and providing support and help when needed.

Despite increased investment, there are still problems. Too many children leave school without the knowledge and skills to be successful. The NHS often feels too remote and complex for patients to handle, while doctors and nurses spend too much time trying to meet government targets. And inequality is rife: in Britain today your chances in life are more determined by your parents’ income than anywhere else in the developed world.

We will provide a fair start for all children by giving schools the extra money they need to cut class sizes and provide additional one-to-one teaching, and by setting schools free to give all children the best possible education. We will scrap unfair university tuition fees so everyone has the chance to get a degree, regardless of their parents’ income. We will help the NHS work better with the money it has by using the savings we have found to protect front-line services, such as cancer treatment, mental health care, maternity services, dementia care and preventive medicine.

the best chance for every child

Liberal Democrats want every child to receive an excellent education, to unlock children’s potential and to ensure that they can succeed in life.

Too many children are still leaving school without the knowledge and skills to be successful. And your family background still has a huge effect: a typical child from a poor family will fall behind a richer classmate by the age of seven and never catch up. We will seek to ensure that all pupils leaving primary and secondary education have the skills they need.

We will free schools from the present stranglehold of central government control and encourage them to be genuinely innovative.

We will invest additional money in the schools system to allow schools to cut class sizes, pay for one-to-one tuition, introduce catch-up classes, or take other steps to ensure that every child has the best possible education.

We will therefore ensure that every neighbourhood is served by an excellent local school or college.

We will:

• Increase the funding of the most disadvantaged pupils, around one million children. We will invest £2.5 billion in this ‘Pupil Premium’ to boost education opportunities for every child. This is additional money going into the schools budget, and headteachers will be free to spend it in the best interests of children.
• The extra money could be used to cut class sizes, attract the best teachers, offer extra one-to-one tuition and provide for after-school and holiday support. This will allow an average primary school to cut classes to 20 and an average secondary school to introduce catch-up classes for 160 pupils.
• Improve discipline by early intervention to tackle the poor basic education of those children who are otherwise most likely to misbehave and become demotivated.
• Guarantee Special Educational Needs (SEN) diagnostic assessments for all 5-year-olds, improve SEN provision and improve SEN training for teachers.
• Improve teacher training by increasing the size of the school-based Graduate Teacher Programme and support the expansion of Teach First to attract more top graduates into teaching. We will improve training for existing teachers over the course of their careers to keep them up to date with best practice. We will seek to ensure that science at Key Stage 4 and above is taught by appropriately qualified teachers.

• Confront bullying, including homophobic bullying, and include bullying prevention in teacher training.
• Set aside extra money for schools to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings. They will pay back the loan over time from energy savings, creating a rolling fund to help insulate other public buildings.

a better education: standards and the curriculum

To make the most of their years at school, every child needs an education tailored to suit their abilities and interests. The restrictive National Curriculum and the arbitrary split between academic and vocational qualifications isn’t working.

We will:

• Establish a fully independent Educational Standards Authority (ESA) with real powers to stand up to ministers and restore confidence in standards. The ESA would oversee the examinations system, the systems of school inspection and accountability, and the detail of the curriculum. It would replace the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency and the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator (OFQUAL), and include OFSTED, the schools inspectorate.
• 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.
• Axe the rigid National Curriculum, and replace it with a slimmed down ‘Minimum Curriculum Entitlement’ to be delivered by every state-funded school.
• Scale back Key Stage 2 tests at age 11, and use teacher assessment, with external checking, to improve the quality of marking.
• Create a General Diploma to bring GCSEs, A-Levels and high quality vocational qualifications together, enabling pupils to mix vocational and academic learning.
• Give 14–19 year-olds the right to take up a course at college, rather than at school, if it suits them better. This will enable all children to choose to study, for example, separate sciences or modern languages at GCSE, or a vocational subject.
• Seek to close the unfair funding gap between pupils in school sixth forms and Further Education colleges, as resources allow.
• Scrap the Government’s plan to criminalise those who leave education between ages 16 and 18.
• 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 forcing them to focus on those who are just above or below the key C-grade borderline.

freeing schools for excellence

Liberal Democrats want an education system where all schools will have the freedom to innovate, not be dictated to by central government.

We will:

• Introduce an Education Freedom Act banning politicians from getting involved in the day-to-day running of schools. Teachers are held back by constant government interference which distracts from teaching. We would cut the size of the central department of Children, Schools and Families, and focus its activities on a few strategic priorities. Local authorities will not run schools, but will have a central strategic role, including responsibility for oversight of school performance and fair admissions. They will be expected to intervene where school leadership or performance is weak.
• Give all schools the freedom to innovate. We will ensure a level playing field for admissions and funding and replace Academies with our own model of ‘Sponsor-Managed Schools’. These schools will be commissioned by and accountable to local authorities and not Whitehall, and would allow other appropriate providers, such as educational charities and parent groups, to be involved in delivering state-funded education.
• Allow parents to continue to choose faith-based schools within the state-funded sector and allow the establishment of new faith schools. We will ensure that all faith schools develop an inclusive admissions policy and end unfair discrimination on grounds of faith when recruiting staff, except for those principally responsible for optional religious instruction.
• Reform the existing rigid national pay and conditions rules to give schools and colleges more freedom, including in offering financial and other incentives to attract and retain excellent teachers, while ensuring that all staff receive the minimum national pay award. opportunities at college and university

There should be a wide range of opportunities for everyone at the age of 16. Liberal Democrats believe that education is important for all young people, and will create, finally, a level playing field between academic and vocational courses. And we will ensure that adults who wish to study, including those wanting to return to education later on in life, are able to do so without being put off by the burden of debt.

We will:

• Scrap unfair university tuition fees for all students taking their first degree, including those studying part-time, saving them over £10,000 each. We have a financially responsible plan to phase fees out over six years, so that the change is affordable even in these difficult economic times, and without cutting university income. We will immediately scrap fees for final year students.
• 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.
• Replace wasteful quangos (the Skills Funding Agency and the Higher Education Funding Council for England) with a single Council for Adult Skills and Higher Education.
• Scrap the arbitrary target of 50 per cent of young people attending university, focussing effort instead on a balance of college education, vocational training and apprenticeships.
• Start discussions with universities and schools about the design of a trial scheme whereby the best students from the lowest achieving schools are guaranteed a place in Higher Education.
• As part of our immediate job creation package, fund 15,000 new places on Foundation Degree courses and fully fund the off-the-job costs of adult apprenticeships, which currently have to be met by employers, for one year.
• Better target spending on adult skills. 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 money saved will be used to cover the course fees for adults taking a first Level 3 qualification (such as A-levels or an adult apprenticeship), allowing a significant reduction in the overall budget.

protecting and improving our NHS

We are proud of the NHS – it’s built on the basic British principle of fairness. Liberal Democrats believe that we can improve the NHS; in fact, we believe it’s our duty to do so at a time like this when budgets are tight. We all know that too much precious NHS money is wasted on bureaucracy, and doctors and nurses spend too much time trying to meet government targets.

So our first priority is to increase spending in some parts of the NHS by cutting waste in others. We have identified specific savings that can be made in management costs, bureaucracy and quangos, and we will reinvest that money back into the health care you need. Because of the rising costs of treatments and an ageing population, there will be particular pressure on services like cancer treatment, mental health care, maternity services, and dementia care; only by going through this process of finding savings elsewhere can we protect these services in the coming years. The NHS is a huge system, and we will make changes to ensure it works as effectively as possible.

We will:

• Give priority to preventing people getting ill by linking payments to health boards and GPs more directly to prevention measures.
• 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.
• Make the NHS work better by extending best practice on improving hospital discharge, maximising the number of day case operations, reducing delays prior to operations, and where possible moving consultations into the community.
• 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.
• Use the money for Labour’s flawed Personal Care At Home Bill to provide guaranteed respite care for the one million carers who work the longest hours. We will establish an independent commission, with cross-party support, to develop proposals for long-term care of the elderly.
• Prioritise dementia research within the health research and development budget.
• Improve access to counselling for people with mental health problems, by continuing the roll-out of cognitive and behavioural therapies.
• Reduce the ill health and crime caused by excessive drinking. 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. We will also review the complex, ill-thought-through system of taxation for alcohol to ensure it tackles binge drinking without unfairly penalising responsible drinkers, pubs and important local industries.

• Save lives and reduce pressure on NHS budgets by cutting air pollution. We will cancel plans for a third runway at Heathrow and other airport expansion in the South East, and reduce pollution from vehicle exhausts through tighter regulation. We will aim to fully meet European air quality targets by 2012.

more control over the health care you need

Liberal Democrats believe that one important way to improve the NHS is to make care flexible, designed to suit what patients need, not what managers want. And we believe that care would improve if local people had more control over how their health services were run.

The NHS often feels too remote and complex. Local services – especially maternity wards and accident and emergency departments – keep being closed, even though local people desperately want them to stay open. People often struggle to get convenient access to GP services, and poorer areas are less well served by the NHS, contributing to widening health inequalities.

We will change this by:

• Sharply reducing centralised targets and bureaucracy, replacing them with entitlements guaranteeing that patients get diagnosis and treatment on time. If they do not, the NHS will pay for the treatment to be provided privately.
• Putting front-line staff in charge of their ward or unit budgets, and allowing staff to establish employee trusts giving them real involvement and a say over how their service is run.
• Empowering local communities to improve health services through elected Local Health Boards, which will take over the role of Primary Care Trust boards in commissioning care for local people, working in co-operation with local councils. Over time, Local Health Boards should be able to take on greater responsibility for revenue and resources to allow local people to fund local services which need extra money.
• Giving every patient the right to choose to register with the GP they want, without being restricted by where they live, and the right to access their GP by email.
• Ensuring that local GPs are directly involved in providing out-ofhours care.
• Reforming payments to GPs so that those who accept patients from areas with the worst health and deprivation scores receive an extra payment for each one they take.
• Giving Local Health Boards the freedom to commission services for local people from a range of different types of provider, including for example staff co-operatives, on the basis of a level playing field in any competitive tendering – ending any current bias in favour of private providers.

quality care for all patients

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. We will introduce a series of reforms to improve patient safety.

We will:

• Require hospitals to be open about mistakes, and always tell patients if something has gone wrong.
• Make it illegal for a Local Health Board to allow a doctor to work in the UK without passing robust language and competence tests.
• Clamp down on anyone who is aggressive or abusive to staff in accident and emergency departments. We would encourage better working relationships between hospitals and the local police to provide an increased police presence at times of high risk, and increase prosecutions. At the same time, we will ensure that problem drinkers or substance abusers are referred for appropriate treatment. It is deeply disappointing that the Government has failed to provide adequate support for those affected by the contamination of blood products with HIV. A Liberal Democrat government will establish a working group involving patient groups to determine appropriate levels of financial assistance.

access to culture and sport

Liberal Democrats believe that the arts are a central part of civic and community life. They contribute to innovation, education, diversity, and social inclusion, and the creative industries are one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy. Britain’s culture and heritage play a vital role in attracting visitors to the UK and boosting the very important tourism industry. We will foster an environment in which all forms of creativity are able to flourish.

We are proud that Britain is hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012, and we support bids for other high-profile events such as the 2018 World Cup – but we believe that grassroots sport is just as important. We will give people from all backgrounds and generations the opportunity to participate in sports.

Liberal Democrats will:

• Maintain free entry to national museums and galleries and open up the Government Art Collection for greater public use.
• Set up a ‘Creative Enterprise Fund’ offering training, mentoring and small grants or loans to help creative businesses get off the ground.
• Cut red tape for putting on live music. We will reintroduce the rule allowing two performers of unamplified music in any licensed premises without the need for an entertainment licence, allow licensed venues for up to 200 people to host live music without the need for an entertainment licence, and remove the requirement for schools and hospitals to apply for a licence.
• Reform the National Lottery. We will change the way the National Lottery is taxed from a ticket tax to a gross profits tax, which is forecast to deliver more for good causes and the Exchequer.
• Use cash in dormant betting accounts to set up a capital fund for improving local sports facilities and supporting sports clubs.
• Close loopholes that allow playing fields to be sold or built upon without going through the normal planning procedures. A strong and diverse media, free from government interference and pressure is essential to a free and democratic society.

We will:

• Ensure that the BBC remains strong, free from interference and securely funded, not least to provide impartial news, independent of political and commercial pressures. We will also ensure that the BBC does not undermine the viability of other media providers through unfair competition based on its public funding and dominant position.
• 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 free-sheets.

Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2010

Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2010 : 4 Steps to a Fairer Britain

Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2010 : Introduction Our Values

Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2010 : Your Money Fair Taxes And Fair Benefits

Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2010 : Your Money Dealing With The Deficit

Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2010 : Your Money Fairness in Pensions, Savings and Benefits

Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2010 : Your Job

Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2010 : Your Life

Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2010 : Your Family

Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2010 : Your World

Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2010 : Your Community

Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2010 : Your Say

Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2010 : Credible And Responsible Finances

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