The manifesto includes:
- Opportunity for children: with investment in education from nursery to 19 and qualified teachers in every classroom
- Opportunity for young people: with more apprenticeships, discounted bus travel, a massive increase in housebuilding and support to rent or own their own home through the innovative Help to Rent and Rent to Own schemes
- Opportunity for parents: with more free childcare and more paternity leave for fathers
- Opportunity for workers: with a further £400 tax cut for millions of working people
- Opportunity for older people: with the pensions triple lock written into law and the extra £8bn a year the NHS needs by 2020 to cope with the pressures of an ageing population
- Opportunity for the next generation: with the budget balanced and our environment protected so that our children and grandchildren are not left to pay for the mistakes of this one
As with the party’s 2010 manifesto, the Liberal Democrats’ top priorities are spelt out on the front page. They are:
- · Prosperity for all: Balance the budget fairly and invest to build a high-skill, low-carbon economy
- · Opportunity for every child: Guarantee education funding from nursery to 19 and qualified teachers in every class
- · Fair taxes: Cut your taxes by an additional £400 by raising the Personal Allowance to £12,500
- · Quality healthcare for all: Invest £8bn to improve our NHS and guarantee equal care for mental health
- · Our environment protected: Protect nature and fight climate change with five green laws
Speaking at the launch, Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg said: "This manifesto is a blueprint for a stronger economy and a fairer society. This manifesto is a plan to finish the job of balancing the books, and to do so fairly by protecting our schools, hospitals and public services. This manifesto is an insurance policy against a government lurching off to the extremes. At its heart is one word that is absolutely central to what Liberal Democrats believe: opportunity. No matter who you are, where you were born, what sexuality or religion you are or what colour your skin is, you should have the same opportunity to get on in life."
On the choice facing voters on 7 May, Nick Clegg said: "I’m not denying that either David Cameron or Ed Miliband will be Prime Minister. One of them will. But you know and they know that neither of them will win outright. Neither of them will have a majority in Parliament. So what really matters is who they will have by their side. Someone is going to hold the balance of power on the 8th of May and it won’t be David Cameron or Ed Miliband. But it could be Nigel Farage. It could be Alex Salmond. Or it could be me and the Liberal Democrats.
“So ask yourself this: Do you want Nigel Farage walking through the door of No 10? Do you want Alex Salmond sat at the cabinet table? Or do you want the Liberal Democrats? The Liberal Democrats will add a heart to a Conservative government and we will add a brain to a Labour one. We won’t allow the Conservatives to cut too much and jeopardise our schools and hospitals. And we won’t allow Labour to borrow too much and risk our economy again." Mr Clegg added.