Friday, October 01, 2010

Liberal Democrat policies in action

This is a list of policies that were in our manifesto, and not the Tories', that are in the coalition agreement:

We will bring forward detailed proposals for robust action to tackle
unacceptable bonuses in the financial services sector; in developing these
proposals, we will ensure they are effective in reducing risk.

We want the banking system to serve business, not the other way round. We
will bring forward detailed proposals to foster diversity in financial
services, promote mutuals and create a more competitive banking industry.

We will take steps to reduce systemic risk in the banking system and will
establish an independent commission to investigate the complex issue of
separating retail and investment banking in a sustainable way; while
recognising that this will take time to get right, the commission will be
given an initial time frame of one year to report.

We will cut red tape by introducing a ‘one-in, one-out’ rule whereby no
new regulation is brought in without other regulation being cut by a
greater amount.

We will impose ‘sunset clauses’ on regulations and regulators to ensure
that the need for each regulation is regularly reviewed.

We will find a practical way to make small business rate relief automatic.

We will seek to ensure an injection of private capital into Royal Mail,
including opportunities for employee ownership. We will retain Post Office
Ltd in public ownership.

We will seek to ensure a level playing field between small and large
retailers by enabling councils to take competition issues into account
when drawing up their local plans to shape the direction and type of new
retail development.

We will review the range of factors that can be considered by regulators
when takeovers are proposed.

We will reinstate an Operating and Financial Review to ensure that
directors’ social and environmental duties have to be covered in company
reporting, and investigate further ways of improving corporate
accountability and transparency.

We will ensure that Post Offices are allowed to offer a wide range of
services in order to sustain the network, and we will look at the case for
developing new sources of revenue, such as the creation of a Post Office
Bank.

We will end the so-called ‘gold-plating’ of EU rules, so that British
businesses are not disadvantaged relative to their European competitors.

We will introduce a Freedom Bill.

We will scrap the ID card scheme, the National Identity register and the
ContactPoint database, and halt the next generation of biometric passports.

We will outlaw the finger-printing of children at school without parental
permission.

We will extend the scope of the Freedom of Information Act to provide
greater transparency.

We will protect historic freedoms through the defence of trial by jury.

We will restore rights to non-violent protest.

We will end the storage of internet and email records without good reason.

We will introduce a new mechanism to prevent the proliferation of
unnecessary new criminal offences.

We will abolish the unelected Infrastructure Planning Commission and
replace it with an efficient and democratically accountable system that
provides a fast-track process for major infrastructure projects.

We will maintain the Green Belt, Sites of Special Scientific Interest
(SSSIs) and other environmental protections, and create a new designation
– similar to SSSIs – to protect green areas of particular importance to
local communities.

We will explore a range of measures to bring empty homes into use.

We will promote ‘Home on the Farm’ schemes that encourage farmers to
convert existing buildings into affordable housing.

We will phase out the ring-fencing of grants to local government and
review the unfair Housing Revenue Account.

We will require continuous improvements to the energy efficiency of new
housing.

We will introduce stronger consumer protections, including measures to end
unfair bank and financial transaction charges.

We will take forward measures to enhance customer service in the private
and public sectors.

We will increase households’ control over their energy costs by ensuring
that energy bills provide information on how to move to the cheapest
tariff offered by their supplier, and how each household’s energy usage
compares to similar households.

We will seek to extend protection and support to ‘off-grid’ energy
consumers.

We will seek to spread information on which policing techniques and
sentences are most effective at cutting crime across the Criminal Justice
System.

We will have a full review of the terms and conditions for police officer
employment.

We will make hospitals share non-confidential information with the police
so they know where gun and knife crime is happening and can target
stop-and-search in gun and knife crime hot spots.

We will promote better recording of hate crimes against disabled,
homosexual and transgender people, which are frequently not centrally
recorded.

We will review the operation of the Extradition Act – and the US/UK
extradition treaty – to make sure it is even-handed.

We will maintain the independence of the BBC, and give the National Audit
Office full access to the BBC’s accounts to ensure transparency.

We will maintain free entry to national museums and galleries, and give
national museums greater freedoms.

We will examine the case for moving to a ‘gross profits tax’ system for
the National Lottery, and reform the National Lottery so that more money
goes into sport, the arts and heritage.

We will use cash in dormant betting accounts to improve local sports
facilities and support sports clubs.

We will cut red tape to encourage the performance of more live music.

We will look at whether there is scope to refurbish Armed Forces’
accommodation from efficiencies within the Ministry of Defence.

We will support defence jobs through exports that are used for legitimate
purposes, not internal repression, and will work for a full international
ban on cluster munitions.

We will hold a full Spending Review reporting this autumn, following a
fully consultative process involving all tiers of government and the
private sector.

We will push for the EU to demonstrate leadership in tackling
international climate change, including by supporting an increase in the
EU emission reduction target to 30% by 2020.

We will introduce measures to promote a huge increase in energy from waste
through anaerobic digestion.

We will refuse permission for additional runways at Gatwick and Stansted.

We will replace Air Passenger Duty with a per-flight duty.

We will work towards an ambitious global climate deal that will limit
emissions and explore the creation of new international sources of funding
for the purpose of climate change adaptation and mitigation.

We will work towards full compliance with European Air Quality standards.

We will investigate measures to help with fuel costs in remote rural
areas, starting with pilot schemes.

We will extend the right to request flexible working to all employees,
consulting with business on how best to do so.

We will undertake a fair pay review in the public sector to implement our
proposed ‘20 times’ pay multiple.

We will press for the European Parliament to have only one seat, in
Brussels.

We will maintain the goal of ending child poverty in the UK by 2020.

We will reform the administration of tax credits to reduce fraud and
overpayments.

We will publish serious case reviews, with identifying details removed.

We will regulate lobbying through introducing a statutory register of
lobbyists and ensuring greater transparency.

We will end the detention of children for immigration purposes.

We support E-borders and will reintroduce exit checks.

We will explore new ways to improve the current asylum system to speed up
the processing of applications.

We will support efforts to establish an International Arms Trade Treaty to
limit the sales of arms to dangerous regimes.

We will review what action can be taken against ‘vulture funds’.
We will support reform of global financial institutions such as the World
Bank and the International Monetary Fund in order to increase the
involvement of developing nations.

We will explore alternative forms of secure, treatment-based accommodation
for mentally ill and drugs offenders.

We will urgently review Control Orders, as part of a wider review of
counter-terrorist legislation, measures and programmes. We will seek to
find a practical way to allow the use of intercept evidence in court.

We will ensure that there is a stronger voice for patients locally through
directly elected individuals on the boards of their local primary care
trust (PCT). The remainder of the PCT’s board will be appointed by the
relevant local authority or authorities, and the Chief Executive and
principal officers will be appointed by the Secretary of State on the
advice of the new independent NHS board. This will ensure the right
balance between locally accountable individuals and technical expertise.

We will give every patient the right to choose to register with the GP
they want, without being restricted by where they live.

We will make the NHS work better by extending best practice on improving
discharge from hospital, maximising the number of day care operations,
reducing delays prior to operations, and where possible enabling community
access to care and treatments.

We will prioritise dementia research within the health research and
development budget.

We will seek to stop foreign healthcare professionals working in the NHS
unless they have passed robust language and competence tests.

Doctors and nurses need to be able to use their professional judgement
about what is right for patients and we will support this by giving
front-line staff more control of their working environment.

We will encourage NHS organisations to work better with their local police
forces to clamp down on anyone who is aggressive and abusive to staff.

We will restore the earnings link for the basic state pension from April
2011, with a ‘triple guarantee’ that pensions are raised by the higher of
earnings, prices or 2.5%.

We will commit to establishing an independent commission to review the
long-term affordability of public sector pensions, while protecting
accrued rights.

We will explore the potential to give people greater flexibility in
accessing part of their personal pension fund early.

We will establish five-year fixed-term Parliaments. We will put a binding
motion before the House of Commons stating that the next general election
will be held on the first Thursday of May 2015. Following this motion, we
will legislate to make provision for fixed-term Parliaments of five years.
This legislation will also provide for dissolution if 55% or more of the
House votes in favour.

We will bring forward a Referendum Bill on electoral reform, which
includes provision for the introduction of the Alternative Vote in the
event of a positive result in the referendum, as well as for the creation
of fewer and more equal sized constituencies. We will whip both
Parliamentary parties in both Houses to support a simple majority
referendum on the Alternative Vote, without prejudice to the positions
parties will take during such a referendum.

We will review the control and use of accumulated and future revenues from
the Fossil Fuel Levy in Scotland.

We will fund a significant premium for disadvantaged pupils from outside
the schools budget by reductions in spending elsewhere.

We will help schools tackle bullying in schools, especially homophobic
bullying.
We will simplify the regulation of standards in education and target
inspection on areas of failure.

We will ensure that all new Academies follow an inclusive admissions
policy. We will work with faith groups to enable more faith schools and
facilitate inclusive admissions policies in as many of these schools as
possible.

We will reform Access to Work, so disabled people can apply for jobs with
funding already secured for any adaptations and equipment they will need.

We will increase the personal allowance for income tax to help lower and
middle income earners. We will announce in the first Budget a substantial
increase in the personal allowance from April 2011, with the benefits
focused on those with lower and middle incomes.

We will further increase the personal allowance to £10,000, making real
terms steps each year towards meeting this as a longer-term policy
objective. We will prioritise this over other tax cuts, including cuts to
Inheritance Tax.

We will reform the taxation of air travel by switching from a
per-passenger to a per-plane duty, and will ensure that a proportion of
any increased revenues over time will be used to help fund increases in
the personal allowance.

We will seek ways of taxing non-business capital gains at rates similar or
close to those applied to income, with generous exemptions for
entrepreneurial business activities.

We will make every effort to tackle tax avoidance, including detailed
development of Liberal Democrat proposals.

We will review the taxation of non-domiciled individuals.

We are committed to fair pricing for rail travel.

We will ensure that public funding mechanisms for university research
safeguard its academic integrity.
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