Nick Clegg’s foreword to the Liberal Democrat manifesto

You can read the whole manifesto here but here is Nick Clegg’s foreword setting out its themes and how it builds on what the Liberal Democats have already delivered in government.

Dear friend,

When Liberal Democrats launched our 2010 General Election

manifesto, few people expected that many of the policies it contained would be implemented by the next Government. But that’s what happened: three quarters of those policies formed the backbone of the Coalition’s programme.

Front-page commitments like raising the Income Tax threshold and investing in the poorest schoolchildren through the Pupil Premium became flagship Coalition policies.

With Liberal Democrats in Government to deliver them, those policies have started the work of building a stronger economy and
a fairer society, with opportunity spread across the whole United Kingdom.
Despite tough economic circumstances, those policies are making a difference to people’s lives and helping make Britain a freer, greener, more liberal country.

But our mission has only just begun. You can’t build a stronger economy and a fairer society, and spread opportunity to every citizen, in five years.

For the first time, this is a Liberal Democrat manifesto that builds on a record of policies delivered in national government.

We can say we will finish the job of balancing the books, but do so fairly, because we have started that job in this Parliament.
We can say we will cut taxes for working people by raising the tax-free allowance to £12,500 because we have raised the tax-free allowance every year since 2010.

We can say we will protect funding for education from nursery to 19 because we have protected schools funding and invested in early years education in Government.

We can say we will increase health funding and invest in mental

health because we have protected the NHS budget in Government and introduced the first ever waiting-time standards for mental health.

And we can say we will protect our environment because we have almost trebled the amount of electricity from renewable energy in this Parliament.

In our fast-changing world, the fundamental question political parties face is: do we want to continue to be an open society, confident and optimistic about our place in the world, or do we want to become a closed one, increasingly insular and backward-looking? For Liberal Democrats there is only ever one answer: we want an optimistic, open-hearted and outward-looking United Kingdom.

In Government for the next five years, Liberal Democrats will continue to build a stronger economy and a fairer society with opportunity for everyone. This manifesto sets out how.

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