UK liberals release manifesto

The Liberal Democrats have set out
a “four step” manifesto plan to “hardwire fairness into British
society”.

Leader Nick Clegg said his
policies, including raising the state pension and a tax cut for low and middle
earners, combined “hope and credibility”.

The four main themes of the
103-page booklet are fair taxes, more chances for children, a fairer and
greener economy, and cleaning up politics.

Labour and the Tories said their
opponents’ sums “did not add up”.

Mr Clegg said it was a
“tragedy” that so many people in Britain were prevented from
fulfilling their potential by social and economic “bottlenecks” that
his party was committed to remove.

“Our manifesto will hardwire
fairness into British society,” he told an audience in London. “This
is not a promise. It is a plan.”

The Lib Dems are the last of the
three largest parties to publish their manifesto, following on from Labour and
the Conservatives.

Setting out his agenda, which he
insisted was fully funded; Mr Clegg said that he wanted to turn “anger
into hope, frustration into ambition and recession into opportunity”.

He accused Labour and the
Conservatives of “fobbing off” the electorate with promises which
could never be fulfilled.

In contrast, he said his party
pledges – which include plans to break up banks, put an extra 3,000 police on
the streets in England and Wales, reducing class sizes in England and give a $1,000
tax cut to low and middle earners – represented “hope married to
credibility”.

“If you have ever looked at
the Liberal Democrats and thought they have got the right ideas but can they
deliver, the answer is this manifesto.

The Lib Dems say they cannot rule
out tax rises after the election in order to reduce borrowing but stress that
their focus will be on cutting spending outside frontline areas.

Among their key policies, the Lib
Dems are pledging to raise the state pension each year in line with earnings or
inflation, whichever is highest.

The Lib Dems have already pledged
that the first $15,000 of UK earnings would be tax-free for low and middle
earners, which they will say will leave millions of people $1,000 a year better
off and overall cost $2.6 billion.

By raising tax thresholds, the
party wants to take about 3.4 million of the lowest-paid people out of tax
altogether.

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