Everyone deserves the opportunity to work hard and build a good life for themselves, their family and their community. Everyone deserves to be paid a fair wage, to afford a home and to be able to use good public services. But for many, that’s not the reality today.
People are working hard; they’re playing their part, whether that means taking care of their family, earning their degree or working to afford their rent or their mortgage – and yet too many are trapped by a lack of opportunity.
The Conservative government’s austerity policies are hurting people at all levels of society, while rich individuals and big corporations dodge their fair share of taxes. Public services are suffering: the NHS, schools and local government are starved of resources, while train companies fail to provide a decent service. High street shops are closing down, local communities are losing their pubs and their post offices. The government is undermining green energy and forcing fracking on communities that don’t want it. In terms of income and wealth, Britain is one of the most unequal societies in Europe: success increasingly depends on where you live and who your parents are rather than on your own talents and hard work.
People are not getting what they deserve for their efforts.
Brexit will make all this much worse. Leaving the European Union will cost not just jobs and investment but Britain’s place in the world and its citizens’ opportunities. But instead of opposing it, the Labour Party is supporting the Tories; its leadership is obsessed with fighting the ideological battles of the 1970s rather than achieving the best for Britain. The worst government in living memory is facing the worst opposition. The end result is to deny people the opportunities they need to make the best of their lives.
Too many people are trapped: by inequality, poverty, debt, ill-health, a failing economy, the shambles of Brexit. Too many people find that the odds are stacked against them however hard they try.
It doesn’t have to be like this; a better Britain is possible.
A country in which everyone has the opportunity to make the most of their lives, where they get something back for the contributions they make to their communities. A country where everyone can live in homes in safe, clean and friendly neighbourhoods, where people can do rewarding work for a decent income and have access to high-quality health and social care, childcare, transport, education for children and adults alike. A country where people can breathe clean air, use clean energy and enjoy the beauty of the natural world. A government that keeps the country safe, that helps it prosper, that builds a society in which everyone has an equal chance.
Liberal Democrats have always fought for this kind of country: a just society where everyone contributes what they can and has the opportunity to build the life they want.
Liberal governments laid the foundations of the welfare state; Liberal leaders and thinkers crafted the vision of universal education, the National Health Service, government policy aiming for full employment. Liberals championed the cause of the environment and were crucial to Britain’s entry into Europe. Liberals and Social Democrats argued for greater equality between people regardless of their race, gender, sexuality, disability, beliefs or way of life.
Liberal Democrats in coalition took millions of low-paid people out of tax, raised the state pension, expanded apprenticeships, helped schools to teach children from deprived backgrounds, invested in renewable energy, gave higher priority to mental health in the NHS and legislated for same-sex marriage. Today these causes are more important than ever.
We will fight for a country where people have the opportunity to live the lives they want to, that offers an equal chance to everyone, provides high-quality education and health care, protects the environment and is open and welcoming to the world. We are a party that stands up to power and privilege and enables everyone to build the future they want and deserve.
The Liberal Democrats demand better for Britain, better than Conservative and Labour 'politics as usual'.