Bus pass for young people in Lib Dem manifesto plan

Published on Monday, 08 September 2014 12:35
Written by Daniel Mason

Nick Clegg today said the Liberal Democrats had "learnt the hard way" from tuition fees not to make promises they cannot deliver as he unveiled the party's pre-manifesto ahead of next May's election.

Clegg described the document as the "first big building block for the manifesto we will put to the British people at the general election next year".

"We take this manifesto process seriously, and we totally accept - I totally accept - the need to show that what we say is credible and deliverable," he said. "We've learnt our lesson from tuition fees, and we've learnt it the hard way. There will be no repeat of that mistake."

Among the policies unveiled was a young person's bus pass giving a third off travel for 16 to 21-year-olds - paid for by abolishing free TV licenses and winter fuel payments for the wealthiest pensioners.

"What are effectively benefits for the rich and retired cannot be justified when there are so many young people struggling to get on their feet," Clegg said.

Meanwhile the record of the Lib Dems in coalition meant people could "believe in our promise of more for the next government", he claimed.

He warned that while "the recovery has been secured" the "years of restraint are not done", adding that the commitments in the pre-manifesto would "reflect the tough fiscal realities the country continues to face".

And he said that while the Conservatives would eliminate the deficit by "hitting people who are in work but still poor", the Lib Dems would "finish the job in a way that is fair".

The party has already released details of some of the other promises made in the documents, including increasing early years pupil premium, introducing an additional four-week paternity leave allowance and raising the income tax threshold to £12,500.

Ending imprisonment for drug users whose only crime is possession for personal use, and introducing safe standing areas in the top two divisions of English football were also among the pledges.

Clegg said the promises made this time would be "more fiscally modest and financially smaller" than at the last election.

The pre-manifesto will be debated and voted on at the Lib Dems' autumn conference in Glasgow next month.

Responding to the publication Labour's deputy leader, Harriet Harman, said people would judge the Lib Dems on "their record of broken promises and failure".

She said: "The Lib Dems cannot escape responsibility for the policies they have voted for in support of David Cameron and the Tories.

"The Lib Dems talk about a fairer society, but after nearly a full term in government working people are struggling while millionaires have been given a tax cut. The Lib Dems talk about opportunity for young people, but they voted to treble tuition fees.

"Nick Clegg voted for the bedroom tax, but now claims they no longer support it. The truth is there would be no bedroom tax if it was not for the Lib Dems voting for it.

She added: "What the Lib Dems say now is no guide to what they'll say in the future. Voters know they cannot trust Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems.

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