Party Policies Compare Alliance policies against Liberal Democrat policies

Please note this website was created for the 2015 General Election. Due to the lack of preparation time, we have not updated this website for the 2017 Election. Why?


Opposing steep cuts in UK public spending, including seeking to exempt Northern Ireland from cuts as far as possible in return for local commitment to reform.

Alliance believes that if the economic recovery is going to benefit everybody, every community in Northern Ireland must be fulfilling its economic potential. This means that as well as investing in big projects, we must invest in town centres, high streets, local districts and urban villages. These are usually the economic heart of communities across Northern Ireland and need support to ensure that all parts of Northern Ireland are involved in economic growth.

Unfortunately, the high street will not be the same as it has been in the past and we will need to reconsider what we want it to look like. This will mean a mix of shops, cafes and restaurants, residential properties and non-retail businesses. This will help to ensure vibrant community economies despite trends towards out-of-town retail centres and internet shopping.

Reforms to business rates to make it easier for entrepreneurs to establish a business in vacant premises, such as scrapping business rates for the first year for a new business.

Support for Business Improvement Districts, whereby businesses fund regeneration in their area through a levy on business rates.

Some reforms due to take place in the Assembly, such as the introduction of Business Improvement Districts, will create structures that allow community business interests to be developed. We will seek to maximise these.

Alliance would support legislation to separate retail banking from investment banking.

Alliance supports the call for a differential rate of Corporation Tax for Northern Ireland, ideally at 12.5%.

Source: Alliance party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Our key policy commitments include:

Encouraging greater co-operation and co-ordination between the criminal justice agencies tackling undue delay and the speed of justice, including working to agreed and shared targets;

Providing new alternative to prosecutions for low-level offences;

Delivering comprehensive reform of the legal aid system, including full provision of adequate funding and other resources to the disadvantaged in society, ensuring equality of access to justice for all;

Reviewing strategies for assisting victims and witnesses within the criminal justice system and the development of a Victims' Code of Practice;

Developing a formal set of guidelines on sentencing and on the enforcement of judgements, through the creation of a Northern Ireland Sentencing Guidelines Council;

Facilitating of collaborative working between statutory and non-statutory agencies to drive down offending and re-offending rates;

Creating a Northern Ireland Offender Management Strategy;

Reviewing the conditions of detention, management and oversight of all prisons;

Producing a five-year community safety strategy;

Rationalising District Policing Partnerships and Community Safety Partnerships, ideally as part of wider community planningdevelopments;

Developing and resourcing of an active strategy to engage with communities to commence and support a process for the removal of so-called 'peace-walls';

Source: Alliance party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Alliance will support a Strategic Defence Review. We believe that the balance of investment in the armed services needs to change to reflect the different challenges of peacekeeping and peacemaking.

Alliance believes that no serviceman or woman should be sent into conflict on less basic pay than the starting salary of a police constable.

There are pressing demands for investment in armoured protection and transport for troops and in the pay and living standards for service personnel and their families.

We would ensure taxpayers' money is spent more effectively on equipping the armed forces for the tasks of the future, not past threats. There is also a need for greater support and services for returning service personnel and also for their families.

Alliance has seen no evidence to suggest that the like-for-like renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system is necessary or cost-effective. Alliance believes that other approaches can be found to ensure the nuclear security of the United Kingdom with a different focus to reflect the security challenges of the future rather than refighting the Cold War.

Source: Alliance party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Source: Alliance party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Alliance is committed in principle to abolishing tuition fees for Northern Ireland students, as in Scotland, at the earliest opportunity.

Setting a minimum target of 20% of children in integrated education by 2020, backed up by legislation which will make it easier to establish new integrated schools and help other schools to integrate.

Source: Alliance party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Alliance is a pro-environmental party. We believe that tackling climate change is a priority and that the new district Councils should be at the forefront of this. We have a long record of supporting groups who wish to take action in their communities and arguing for investment at a district level. We are proud of our environmental record and will be the most active party on your Council on these issues.

Alliance believe that one of the most important tasks for the new Councils will be to improve the amount of waste that Councils recycle- making sure that we are not throwing out items that can be recycled and always looking to reduce the amount of rubbish that is sent to landfill. This is one of the simplest ways we can reduce our impact on the environment.

Alliance supports regional, national, European and international efforts to protect the environment. Alliance supports the implementation of the Rio and Kyoto Treaties. Although the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit 'recognises' the scientific case for keeping temperature rises to no more than 2°C, there was no commitment to legally binding, timely emissions reductions to achieve that goal.

Alliance will work for Sustainable Development at all levels of government. Protecting the environment and developing our economy are not mutually exclusive, but interdependent. This is reflected in the concept of sustainable development, as it recognises the links between economic, social and environmental concerns. It is about balancing all of these needs.

Alliance endorses the 'polluter pays' principle. This means that those who pollute more should pay more and provides a financial incentive to pollute less. We support a shift in taxation towards pollution and resource depletion. Consistent with the 'polluter pays' principle, the use of market forces can contribute to the protection of the environment.

Alliance calls for the creation of a Green Economy Task Force. This body could be sponsored by the Northern Ireland Executive and include representatives from the business community.

Source: Alliance party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Alliance supports the principle of the United Kingdom's entry into the Euro at the earliest appropriate opportunity governed by the economic convergence criteria. We do recognise that those criteria do not clearly exist at present.

Alliance will support measures to develop and reinforce the Single Market. All member states should be encouraged to comply with their obligations.

Alliance supports an enhanced role of the European Union in financial regulation. The recent economic recession was partially international in nature and efforts to prevent a repeat are required at the European level in addition to domestic action.

Alliance will support reform of the Common Agricultural Policy to ensure a long term sustainable agriculture sector, through shifting support from production and export subsidies towards diversification, conservation and rural development.

Alliance will work towards a co-ordinated European effort to fight organised crime and terrorism. Organised criminals and terrorists do not respect national borders. Therefore collaboration across borders by states and regions is essential.

Alliance will support the maintenance of the UK's participation within the European Arrest Warrant and the European Police Office (EUROPOL).

Alliance will support the further enlargement of the European Union, including the membership of Turkey.

Source: Alliance party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Alliance would support measures to allow parents more flexibility around maternity and paternity leave. This would enable mothers and fathers to determine the most effective balance to fit their own family and work circumstances.

Alliance will work to provide well resourced childcare provision. There are successful childcare voucher employer/employee tax incentive schemes that we will promote and implement with sufficient funding.

Requiring concerted government action to improve relations with other groups, such as ethnic minorities and the LGBT community.

Alliance Councillors will push to make sure your community is as clean as possible. This will mean using our position on the Council to push for:

More street-sweepers to keep our streets tidier, including making sure they are out and about more at busier times.

Investment in graffiti removal, prioritising sectarian or other offensive graffiti which intimidates as well as looks ugly.

Introducing new techniques to reduce dog-fouling as well as providing more dog waste bins.

Campaigning for more litter bins on our streets where they are needed.

Alliance is also committed to increasing the number and accessibility of nursery places in Northern Ireland.

Source: Alliance party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Alliance would replace the current 'First-Past-the-Post' electoral system with the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system of Proportional Representation. A plurality electoral system, such as 'First-Past-the-Post', does not produce fair and representative outcomes in a diverse society.

Alliance will support 'Votes at 16'. Young people have a stake in society. They can pay taxes and participate in the services. It is inconsistent to deny young people the right to have their say in the future.

Alliance believes that the House of Lords should be replaced by a mixed elected and appointed second chamber. The principle of inherited representation is wrong. However, there is a case for a second chamber to act as a balance to the House of Commons.

Elected representatives could be elected by Proportional Representation from the 12 regions of the UK, including Northern Ireland.

Alliance will support the introduction of a register of lobbyists at Westminster. This is vital to assist in creating greater transparency.

Further to this, there should be an interval before former government ministers are allowed to become lobbyists.

Alliance will support a cap on the level of donations to political parties from individual sources. The initial level of a cap should be around £10,000 per annum.

Alliance will support the consideration of a system whereby electors can recall an MP in the event of major breaches of code of conduct and law.

Alliance MPs would be full-time and will support further action against 'double-jobbing'. Future legislation could bar MPs from holding other public offices, and also working in other jobs and professions or engaging in consultancy beyond a set number of hours annualised.

Source: Alliance party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Alliance is committed to a National Health Service that is free to all at the point of entr y.

Alliance stresses the importance of investment in public health and prevention. In particular bearing in mind that the incidence of mental health problems is much higher in Northern Ireland than the UK-average, we are committed to the full implementation of the recommendations of the Bamford Review.

We would address the structural underfunding of mental health services, particularly with respect to children and young people.

Alliance is further conscious of the inadequate system of social care of our senior citizens in Northern Ireland, as in the rest of the United Kingdom.

We have a longstanding commitment to free personal care. It is wrong that people are forced into selling their homes to fund their care. Alliance would also welcome a UK-wide Commission to study this issue.

Source: Alliance party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

We believe that there is a difficult balance to be struck between keeping the rates as low as possible and funding quality public services. However, we believe that all people should pay their fair share of the district (and regional) rate by removing the cap that stops the owners of the wealthiest properties from paying the same percentage rate as everyone else.

Alliance advocates the following elements as part of a Northern Ireland Green New Deal:

Energy efficiency in homes and businesses - this involves incentives and regulations to encourage the installation of such measures, including 'smart meters' and home insulation.

Source: Alliance party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Alliance recognises that immigration must be regulated in order to be fair, but is opposed to a mindset of 'pulling up the drawbridge' and shutting the UK off from a globalising world.

There is a need for formal exit controls to capture numbers leaving in order to complement information on those who have arrived.

Alliance would change the rules to make it easier to get a work permit for those who are willing to go and live in a part of the United Kingdom that is short of workers. This would encourage newcomers to live where they are needed.

Alliance supports a points-based system, linked to skills, as the least worst of all the alternatives for regulating legal immigration. We are opposed to an arbitrary cap that has been proposed by some, such as the Conservative and Unionists.

There is a need for a stronger safety net for immigrants when they lose employment.

Alliance is keen to attract students to study in UK Further and Higher Education Colleges. However, there is a need for stronger checks to ensure that this avenue is not abused.

Alliance would support measures to allow asylum seekers in certain circumstances to work two months after making an application and benefits would only be paid if they could not find work. This would reduce spending on benefits, increase tax revenue, help integration, lower community tensions and greatly reduce dependence on welfare and social housing.

Alliance would advocate taking responsibility away from the Home Office and give it to an independent agency, thus making decisions free from political influence. Currently 25% of decisions are overturned on appeal.

Alliance would allow people who have been in the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland for 10 years, have a clean record and who want to live here long-term to earn citizenship thus allowing immigration services to focus their time deporting dangerous individuals and checking up on employers to stop illegal working.

Alliance believes that the priority for deportation should be on criminals, while letting law-abiding families earn citizenship.

Source: Alliance party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Alliance believes that green transport options should be pursued as a priority alongside other modes of transport. That is why we will support Councils adopting sustainable travel plans that make it easier for cyclists and walkers to get about town and will include advance planning about new bus routes.

We will especially promote safe cycle routes and storage and suitable pavements and road crossings to encourage walking.

Alliance will lobby for a revised Aviation Strategy for the United Kingdom. Aviation policy is not currently devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Source: Alliance party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Alliance would oppose Conservative and Unionist plans for a £3 a week marriage tax credit . The tax system is not the appropriate mechanism to promote so-called family values. Every family is different, and instead of creating rigid rules or special policies that help some families and not others, measures should be put in place that address poverty and lack of opportunities.

Alliance will work towards the eradication of pensioner poverty. We would support increasing the basic state pension, paid alongside other existing entitlements, to provide some financial stability for all.

Source: Alliance party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Alliance will support the introduction of a standard minimum wage from the age of 16. This reflects our commitment to fairness and non-discrimination.

Alliance would support measures to allow parents more flexibility around maternity and paternity leave. This would enable mothers and fathers to determine the most effective balance to fit their own family and work circumstances.

Source: Alliance party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Alliance strongly supports a successful comprehensive Climate Change agreement . The limited agreement from the Copenhagen Summit is be followed-up at talks in Bonn and Mexico.

We also support for the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development.

Alliance supports the UK Government meeting and maintaining the United Nations target of 0.7% of GDP for international development aid and assistance. We further encourage the use of the UN Development Programme's Human Development Index to measure the quality of life in countries. Alliance will continue to oppose tying aid to trade.

Alliance calls for co-ordinated action led by the United Kingdom to realise the UN's Millennium Development Goals.

Structural changes in the developing world, such as investment in primary education, are vital to remove the dependency on short-term aid and relief.

We also urge the continuation and advancement of international leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS. We must put our efforts into education and preventive programmes.

Alliance advocates an open and fair international trading system. We would call in particular on the industrialised world, including the EU and the USA, to lead the way towards a more broad-based economic model to ensure that economic disasters can be mitigated.

Alliance supports fair trade initiatives. We are committed to promoting the welfare of workers in the developing world and ensuring fair prices for products.

Alliance endorses the introduction of a small tax on international financial transactions, such as the proposed 'Tobin Tax' . Organised multilaterally, the proceeds would fund international development.

Source: Alliance party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Industrial Strategy and Business Bank to grow modern British businesses; and delivered 99,000 jobs with our £3 billion Regional Growth Fund.

Continue to develop our Industrial Strategy, working with key sectors which are critical to Britain's ability to trade internationally motor vehicles, aerospace, low-carbon energy, chemicals, creative industries and more.

Support innovation through greater public funding on a longer timescale, with a ring-fenced science budget, more 'Catapult' innovation and technology centres and a green innovation arm within the new Business Bank.

Facilitate new entrants to the banking sector, including through public procurement policy, so that there is much more choice and variety of competitors in banking, in particular business banking, encourage the growth of crowd funding and alternative finance models, and promote a new community banking sector to support SMEs and social enterprises.

Grow the Green Investment Bank.

Continue to reform business tax to ensure it stays competitive, making small and medium-sized enterprises the priority for any business tax cuts.

Establish a new Regulation Advisory Board to reduce regulatory uncertainty and remove unnecessary business regulation.

Take tough action against corporate tax evasion and abusive avoidance strategies, including by continuing to invest in HMRC, as we have done in government, to enable them to tackle tax evasion and avoidance, and introducing a general anti-avoidance rule.

Source: Liberal Democrat party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Design out opportunities for crime, by improving the built environment, the design of new technologies, and community resilience.

End the use of imprisonment for possession of drugs for personal use and move the drugs and alcohol policy lead from the Home Office to the Department of Health. We will establish a Commission to assess the effectiveness of current drugs law and alternative approaches, including further work on diverting users into treatment or into civil penalties that do not attract a criminal record which can seriously affect their chances of employment.

Create a National Institute for Crime Prevention, to provide evidence and guidance of what works in fighting and preventing crime.

Ensure that teachers, social workers, police offers and health workers in areas where there is high prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation are trained to help those girls at risk of being cut.

Improve support for victims of crime.

Guarantee the police pursue the public's priorities by replacing Police and Crime Commissioners with Police Boards made up of councillors from across the force area.

Encourage police forces and other emergency services to work together to reduce back office costs and exploit opportunities for efficiency savings.

Explore the case for transferring responsibility for more serious national crime to the National Crime Agency.

Work with EU partners to tackle serious and organised crime.

Create sentencing options which are effective in protecting the public, while reducing the risks of re-offending. We want to see an enhanced role for restorative justice, and will do more to keep young people and women out of prison. We will promote the use of Community Justice Panels.

Reform prisons, so they become places of work, rehabilitation and learning. We will encourage third sector providers to deliver improved rehabilitation.

Make more offenders perform unpaid work in the community to ensure they pay back to their community.

Provide experts on hand in courts and in police stations to identify where mental health or a drug problem is one of the main drivers behind an offender's behaviour so they can be dealt with in a way that is appropriate. We will pilot US-style drug and alcohol courts.

Source: Liberal Democrat party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Maintain strong and effective armed forces, and set long-term budgets to procure the right equipment at competitive prices.

Remain fully engaged in international nuclear disarmament efforts.

Retain our Trident independent nuclear deterrent through a Contingency Posture of regular patrols, enabling a 'surge' to armed patrols when the international security context makes this appropriate. This would enable us to reduce the UK warhead stockpile and procure fewer Vanguard successor submarines, and would help the UK to fulfil our nuclear non-proliferation treaty commitments.

Improve the care of members of our armed forces by re-affirming the Military Covenant, improving mental health service provisions for serving personnel and veterans, and introducing a Veterans Commissioner.

Invest in our security services and act to counter cyber-attacks.

Work to engage with and strengthen multilateral institutions worldwide including global bodies such as the UN and regional groupings.

Support the UN principle of 'Responsibility to Protect'. This principle focuses on the security of individuals, rather than states.

Implement a policy of 'presumption of denial' for arms exports to countries listed as countries of concern in the Foreign Office's annual human rights report.

Source: Liberal Democrat party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Raise the Personal Allowance to at least £12,500, cutting your taxes by around £400 more

Secured the biggest ever cash rise in the state pension with our ‘triple lock’ policy on uprating

Legislate to make the ‘triple lock’ permanent, guaranteeing decent pensions rises each year

Cut the cost of childcare with more free hours for 3 and 4 year olds, and help for disadvantaged 2 year olds too.

Extend free childcare to all two year olds, and to the children of working families from the end of paid parental leave

Helped people balance work and family life with Shared Parental Leave and the Right to Request flexible working for all

Expand Shared Parental Leave with a ‘use it or lose it’ month for fathers, and introduce a right to paid leave for carers

Kept welfare spending under control, while blocking plans to cut off young people’s benefits

Make sure it pays to work by rolling out Universal Credit, and invest in back-to-work and healthcare support for those who need it

Raise the tax-free Personal Allowance to at least £12,500 by the end of the next Parliament, putting around £400 back in the pockets of millions of working people and pensioners. We will bring forward the planned increase to an £11,000 allowance to April 2016.

Consider, as a next step, and once the Personal Allowance rise is delivered, raising the employee National Insurance threshold to the Income Tax threshold, as resources allow, while protecting low earners’ ability to accrue pension and benefit entitlements.

Ensure those with the highest incomes and wealth are making a fair contribution. We have identified a series of distortions, loopholes and excess reliefs that should be removed, raising money to contribute to deficit reduction. These include reforms to Capital Gains Tax and Dividend Tax relief, refocusing Entrepreneurs’ Relief and a supplementary Corporation Tax for the banking sector. In addition, we will introduce a UK-wide High Value Property Levy on residential properties worth over £2 million. It will have a banded structure, like Council Tax.

Take tough action against corporate tax evasion and avoidance, including by:

Levying penalties on firms proven to facilitate tax evasion, equivalent to the amount of tax evaded by their clients.

Restrict access to non-domiciled status, increasing the charges paid to adopt this status and ending the ability to inherit it.

Source: Liberal Democrat party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Protect early years, school, sixth form and college budgets – investment from nursery to 19 to raise standards for all

A million more children now taught in good or outstanding schools

Parents’ Guarantee: core curriculum in every school and every child taught by qualified teachers

Driven up standards and narrowed the attainment gap between rich and poor children

End illiteracy and innumeracy by 2025, with action in nurseries to get all four year olds ready for school by 2020

Free school meals for the youngest children in primary school

Extend free school meals to all primary pupils

Two million apprenticeships, training our young people for 21st century jobs, and record numbers going to university

Raise the quality of early years provision and ensure that by 2020 every formal early years setting employs at least one person who holds an Early Years Teacher qualification. Working with organisations like Teach First, we will recruit more staff with Early Years Qualified status, and extend full Qualified Teacher status, terms and conditions to all those who are properly trained.

Increase our Early Years Pupil Premium – which gives early years settings extra money to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds – to £1,000 per pupil per year.

Continue to support Local Authorities in providing Children’s Centres, especially in areas of high need, encouraging integration with other community services like health visitors, and in particular reviewing the support and advice available for parents on early child nutrition and breastfeeding.

Improve the identification of Special Educational Needs and disability at the earliest possible stage, so targeted support can be provided and primary schools are better prepared for their intake of pupils.

Source: Liberal Democrat party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Pass a Zero Carbon Britain Act to set a new legally binding target to bring net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.

Realise the full potential of the Green Investment Bank by increasing its capitalisation, expanding its remit, allowing it to raise funds independently and enabling it to issue green bonds.

Place the Natural Capital Committee (NCC) on the same statutory footing as the Committee on Climate Change through our Nature Act. We will task the NCC with identifying the key natural resources being used unsustainably and recommending legally binding targets for reducing their net consumption; and introduce incentives for businesses to improve resource efficiency.

Help incentivise sustainable behaviour by increasing the proportion of tax revenue accounted for by green taxes.

Grow the market for green products and services with steadily higher green criteria in public procurement policy, extending procurement requirements more widely through the public sector including to the NHS and Academy schools. In particular we will deliver ambitious reductions in energy use.

Increase research and development and commercialisation support in four key low-carbon technologies where Britain could lead the world: tidal power, carbon capture and storage, energy storage and ultra-low emission vehicles.

Ensure UK Trade and Investment and UK Export Finance can prioritise support for key sectors identified in our Industrial Strategy, including exports of green products and technologies, and press for higher environmental standards for export credit agencies throughout the OECD.

Encourage the creation of green financial products to bring consumer capital into green industries.

Source: Liberal Democrat party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Remain a committed member of the EU so we can complete the Single Market in areas including online industries, the energy market and services, and help negotiate EU international trade agreements, opening opportunities for British businesses.

Support Single Market disciplines in relation to competition and state aid rules while creating a stronger public interest test for takeovers in research-intensive activities.

Continue to allow high-skill immigration to support key sectors of the economy, and ensure work, tourist and family visit visas are processed quickly and efficiently.

Ensure the UK is an attractive destination for overseas students, not least those who wish to study STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). We will reinstate post-study work visas for STEM graduates who can find graduate-level employment within six months of completing their degree.

Source: Liberal Democrat party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Commit to an ambitious goal of 20 hours’ free childcare a week for all parents with children aged from two to four years, and all working parents from the end of paid parental leave (nine months) to two years. This will not only help parents afford to work, it will help all children start school confident, happy and ready to learn.

Start by providing 15 hours a week of free childcare to the parents of all two year olds. We will then prioritise 15 hours free childcare for all working parents with children aged between nine months and two years.

Complete the introduction of Tax-Free Childcare, which will provide up to £2,000 of childcare support for each child and include childcare support in Universal Credit, refunding 85% of childcare costs so work pays for low earners.

Protect your privacy by updating data laws for the internet age with a Digital Bill of Rights.

Complete the roll-out of high speed broadband, to reach over 99% of the UK.

Build on the Green Deal with a national programme to raise the energy efficiency standards of all Britain's households and eradicate fuel poverty cutting people's council tax bills if they take part. All new homes will be Zero Carbon by 2016, and we will help tenants afford to stay warm, with new energy efficiency standards for private rented homes.

Help people to form new energy co-operatives so they can benefit from group discounts and cut their bills.

Help people cut their energy tariffs by forcing energy companies to allow customers to change to any cheaper supplier in just 24 hours.

Give people easier to understand information about their own personal energy use with a national roll-out of smart electricity and gas meters. We will guarantee that anyone on a prepayment meter can choose a smart meter instead by 2017.

Promote the 'double price tag' approach where the customer sees both the purchase price and the annual running costs for all cars and domestic appliances.

Protect the independence of the BBC, funded by the Licence Fee, as the cornerstone of public service broadcasting in this country, and protect the funding and editorial independence of Welsh language broadcasters.

Require the Sports Ground Safety Authority to prepare guidance under which domestic football clubs, working with their supporters, may introduce safe standing areas.

Source: Liberal Democrat party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Return power from the stifling grip of Whitehall to the citizens and communities of our nation, so the next generation have the power to shape the society in which they live.

Fixed Term Parliaments, taking away the Prime Minister's power to call elections when it suits the governing party.

Reform party funding, electoral reform and an elected House of Lords.

New financial powers for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, City Deals and Growth Deals to enable local people to drive local economic growth.

A new wave of devolution to the nations of the UK and 'Devolution on Demand' to transfer more power and control to local areas.

Reduce the powers of the Department of Communities and Local Government to interfere in democratically elected local government in England.

Remove the requirement to hold local referenda for Council Tax changes in England.

Build on the success of City Deals and Growth Deals, to devolve more power and resources to groups of local authorities and local enterprise partnerships, starting with back to work support.

Introduce 'Devolution on Demand', enabling even greater devolution of powers from Westminster to councils or groups of councils working together (for example to a Cornish Assembly).

Establish a commission to explore the scope for greater devolution of financial responsibility to English local authorities, and new devolved bodies in England.

Take big money out of politics by capping donations to political parties, at £10,000 per person each year.

Introduce votes at age 16 for elections and referenda, and make it easier to register to vote in schools and colleges.

Reform the House of Lords with a proper democratic mandate starting from the 2012 Bill.

Reform our voting systems for elections to local government and Westminster.

Make Parliament more family friendly, and establish a review to pave the way for MP job-sharing arrangements.

Strengthen the role of MPs in amending the budget and scrutinising government spending proposals.

Source: Liberal Democrat party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Guarantee the NHS budget will rise by at least the rate of inflation every year. We will commission a Fundamental Review of NHS and social care finances in 2015, before the next Spending Review, in order to assess the pressures on NHS budgets and the scope for efficiencies. This will allow us to set multi-year budgets that will be sufficient to maintain and improve the current standard of NHS services, including keeping waiting times down.

We will always ensure access is based on need and not on ability to pay and that that NHS remains free at the point of delivery.

Reform the NHS payment system to encourage better integration of hospital and community care services and better preventative care for people with long term conditions. This would include more use of personal budgets for people who want them and better access to technology and services to help people get care closer to home.

Secure local agreement on and pooling of budgets between the NHS and social care.

Encourage GPs to work together to improve access and availability of appointments, including out of hours.

Incentivise GPs and other community clinicians to work in more disadvantaged areas.

Act to improve the mental health of children and young people promoting wellbeing throughout schools and ensuring that children and young people can access the services they need as soon as a mental health problem develops.

Deliver genuine parity of esteem between mental and physical health, including by improving access and waiting time standards for mental health services and establishing a world-leading mental health research fund to improve understanding of mental illness and treatments.

Do more to tackle the causes of ill health, including promoting healthy eating and exercise, making people aware of the dangers of smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol and other drugs, and helping to improve mental health and well-being.

Invest in research and set ambitious goals to improve outcomes for the most serious life-threatening diseases like cancer and long-term conditions like dementia.

Source: Liberal Democrat party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Set an ambitious target of increasing the rate of house building to 300,000 a year, and build to the Zero Carbon Standard.

Within the first year of the next Parliament, publish a long term plan which sets out how this goal will be achieved.

As part of this plan, publish proposals for at least ten new 'Garden Cities' in England, in areas where there is local support, providing tens of thousands of high quality new homes, with gardens and shared green space, jobs, schools and public transport.

Bring forward development on unwanted public sector sites through the Homes and Communities Agency.

Help social housing providers including councils to build more affordable homes to rent, with central government investment and local flexibility within the Housing Revenue Account.

To maximise total house building we will work with housing providers to design new models of affordable housing, to sit alongside the traditional social rented sector, including models that offer a path to ownership for lower income working families.

Require local authorities in England to allocate land to meet 15 years' housing need in their local plans, and work with local authorities to pilot techniques for capturing the increase in land value from the granting of planning permission.

Tackle overcrowding with a new system to incentivise social landlords to reduce the number of tenants under-occupying their homes, freeing up larger properties for larger families. We will reform the policy to remove the spare room subsidy. The subsidy will continue to be removed for new tenants in social housing but existing social tenants will not be subject to any housing benefit deduction until they have received a reasonable offer of alternative social rented accommodation with the correct number of bedrooms.

We will ensure that tenants who need an extra bedroom for genuine medical reasons or whose homes are substantially adapted do not have their housing benefit reduced.

Source: Liberal Democrat party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Restore full entry and exit checks at our borders, to rebuild confidence in immigration control, and allow targeting of resources at those who over-stay their visas.

Remove students from our immigration targets given their temporary status, while taking tough action against any educational institution which allows abuse of the student route into the UK.

Double the number of inspections on employers to ensure all statutory employment legislation is being respected.

Require all new claimants for Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) to have their English language skills assessed, with JSA then being conditional on attending English language courses for those whose English is poor.

Encourage schools with high numbers of children with English as a second language to host English lessons for parents.

Work in the EU to tighten up benefit rules for migrants, including reducing, and ultimately abolishing, payment of child benefit for children who are not resident in the UK.

Source: Liberal Democrat party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Set out 10-year rolling capital investment plans.

Develop a comprehensive plan to electrify the overwhelming majority of the UK rail network, reopen smaller stations, restore twin-track lines to major routes and proceed with HS2, as the first stage of a high-speed rail network to Scotland.

Invest in major transport improvements and infrastructure. We will:

Deliver the Transport for the North strategy to promote growth, innovation and prosperity across northern England.

Develop more modern, resilient links to and within the South West peninsula to help develop and diversify the regional economy

Complete East-West rail, connecting up Oxford and Cambridge and catalysing major new housing development.

Ensure London’s transport infrastructure is improved to withstand the pressure of population and economic growth.

Work to encourage further private sector investment in rail freight terminals and rail-connected distribution parks. We will set a clear objective to shift more freight from road to rail and change planning law to ensure new developments provide good freight access to retail, manufacturing and warehouse facilities.

Ensure our airport infrastructure meets the needs of a modern and open economy, without allowing emissions from aviation to undermine our goal of a zero-carbon Britain by 2050. We will carefully consider the conclusions of the Davies Review into runway capacity and develop a strategic airports policy for the whole of the UK in the light of those recommendations and advice from the Committee on Climate Change. We remain opposed to any expansion of Heathrow, Stansted or Gatwick and any new airport in the Thames Estuary, because of local issues of air and noise pollution. We will ensure no net increase in runways across the UK.

Ensure new rail franchises include a stronger focus on customers, including requirements to integrate more effectively with other modes of transport and a programme of investment in new stations, lines and station facilities. We will continue the Access for All programme, improving disabled access to public transport.

Source: Liberal Democrat party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Introduce a 1% cap on the uprating of working-age benefits until the budget is balanced in 2017/18, after which they will rise with inflation once again. Disability and parental leave benefits will be exempt from this temporary cap.

Encourage landlords to lower their rent by paying them Housing Benefit directly, with tenants’ consent, in return for a fixed reduction. Our plans for a major expansion of house building and new ‘family friendly’ tenancies, which limit annual rent increases, will also help reduce upward pressure on rents. We will review the way the Shared Accommodation Rate in Local Housing Allowance is set, and review the Broad Rental Market Areas to ensure they fit with realistic travel patterns.

Improve links between Jobcentres and Work Programme providers and the local NHS to ensure all those in receipt of health-related benefits are getting the care and support to which they are entitled. In particular, as we expand access to talking therapies we expect many more people to recover and be able to seek work again.

Work with Local Authorities to tackle fraud and error in a more coordinated way, in particular on Housing Benefit.

Help everyone in work on a low wage step up the career ladder and increase their hours, reducing their need for benefits, with tailored in-work careers and job search advice.

Withdraw eligibility for the Winter Fuel Payment and free TV Licence from pensioners who pay tax at the higher rate (40%). We will retain the free bus pass for all pensioners.

Source: Liberal Democrat party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Given an £800 tax cut to low and middle income earners by letting you earn £10,500 tax free.

Raise the personal allowance to at least £12,500, cutting your taxes by an extra £400.

Consider, as a next step, and once the personal allowance rise is delivered, raising the employee national insurance threshold to the income tax threshold, as resources allow, while protecting low earners' ability to accrue pension entitlements.

Encourage employers to provide more flexible working, particularly for parents and carers, expanding shared parental leave with a 'use-it-or-lose-it' month for fathers to encourage them to take time off with young children.

Use transparency to drive fair pay: require companies with over 250 employees to publish information on gender pay differences, declare the number of people they employ on less than the living wage, and provide information comparing the top and median pay levels of their staff. We will also require companies to consult employees on executive pay as recommended by the High Pay Commission.

Ask the Low Pay Commission to look at ways of raising the National Minimum Wage, without damaging employment opportunities, and improve enforcement action.

Establish an independent review to consult on how to set a fair Living Wage, working with stakeholders such as the Living Wage Foundation. We will ensure this Living Wage is paid by all central government departments and executive agencies from April 2016 onwards, and encourage other public sector bodies including local authorities to do likewise.

Clamp down on any abusive practices in relation to zero hours contracts.

Continue the drive for diversity in business leadership and encourage women entrepreneurs.

Encourage employers to provide more flexible working, expanding Shared Parental Leave with an additional ‘use it or lose it’ month to encourage fathers to take time off with young children. While changes to parental leave should be introduced slowly to give business time to adjust, our ambition is to see Paternity and Shared Parental Leave become a ‘day one’ right.

Ensure swift implementation of the new rules requiring companies with more than 250 employees to publish details of the different pay levels of men and women in their organisation. We will build on this platform and, by 2020, extend transparency requirements to include publishing the number of people paid less than the Living Wage and the ratio between top and median pay. We will also consult on requirements for companies to conduct and publish a full equality pay review, and to consult staff on executive pay.

Ask the Low Pay Commission to look at ways of raising the National Minimum Wage, without damaging employment opportunities. We will improve enforcement action and clamp down on abuses by employers seeking to avoid paying the minimum wage by reviewing practices such as unpaid internships.

Establish an independent review to consult on how to set a fair Living Wage across all sectors. We will pay this Living Wage in all central government departments and their agencies from April 2016, and encourage other public sector employers to do likewise.

Improve the enforcement of employment rights, reviewing Employment Tribunal fees to ensure they are not a barrier. We will ensure employers cannot avoid giving their staff rights or paying the minimum wage by wrongly classifying them as workers or self-employed.

Source: Liberal Democrat party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

Work with our partners in the EU, NATO, the UN and the Commonwealth to tackle security challenges and seek peaceful solutions to conflicts worldwide.

Act globally to tackle the threats of climate change and environmental degradation.

Argue for a 50% reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, while ensuring that the UK meets its own commitments and so can play a leadership role within Europe and internationally on efforts to combat climate change.

Work to secure agreement on a global climate treaty at the 2015 UN Climate Conference.

Argue for EU and global commitments to zero net deforestation, globally, by 2020 and provide greater resources for international environmental cooperation.

Ensure that UK and EU development aid, free trade and investment agreements support environmentally sustainable investment.

Maintain our commitment to spend 0.7% of UK Gross National Income on international aid and enshrine this in law. We will adhere to the OECD's definition of what activities count as Official Development Assistance.

Respond generously to humanitarian crises wherever they may occur.

Work to ensure the post-2015 development goals fully take into account the need to leave no one behind and to safeguard the sustainability of the planet.

Continue to support free media and a free and open internet around the world, championing the free flow of information.

Lead international action to ensure global companies pay fair taxes in the developing countries in which they operate.

Invest to eliminate within a generation preventable diseases such as TB, HIV and malaria; ensure that people do not suffer discrimination or disadvantage because of gender, sexual orientation, disability or ethnic origin, including pursuing an International Gender Equality Strategy, including recognition of women's rights to education and freedom from enforced marriage, and an international LGBT strategy; and aim to end female genital mutilation worldwide within a generation.

Source: Liberal Democrat party website, existing manifesto or officially-published policies.

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