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Lib Dem Campaign for Race Equality

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Support Families and Communities

A fair society is one in which everyone has the means to get by and the chance to get on. It means being able to provide for your family, afford somewhere to live and work within your community.

That's why we will increase the availability of childcare to help parents who want to work and why we will ensure that the benefits system is fair - focusing on helping people and not just saving money. It's why we will work to build more houses and make them affordable. And it's why we will empower local councils and communities to run their own services - free from the interference of central government.

Our priorities in the next parliament will be:

6.1 Help with childcare costs

Parents often want to take time out from paid work to care for young children but in many families both parents want, or have, to work. The costs of childcare can be prohibitive and opportunities for flexible working are scarce.

In government, we were proud to introduce Shared Parental Leave and increases in free childcare but there are still gaps in the system. We will:

6.2 Helping people find work

Having a paid job is for many people the key opportunity they need to be able to achieve their life goals. Unemployment isn't just an economic challenge - it's a personal problem and government must do everything it can to help those who can work find a job and provide for themselves and their family. To that end, we will:

6.3 Treating people fairly

The Liberal Democrats are clear - balancing the books on the backs of the poor and disabled, and demonising people who claim benefits, is neither acceptable nor responsible. Although all government budgets must be scrutinised to minimise waste and ensure value for money, this must not be used as an excuse to attack the poor and vulnerable. In any case it is more effective to tackle the causes of the benefits bill - low pay, high rents, unemployment and ill-health.

That's why we will reverse unfair Conservative policies such as reducing support for younger people and cutting the benefits of people not fit for work. We will reinstate the legally binding poverty targets of the Child Poverty Act. We will:

6.4 Saving for and enjoying your retirement

Life expectancy is increasing. This is good news, but it brings challenges; older people may need a pension income that will last for 20, 30 or even 40 years. We want Britain to be the best place in the world to save for, and enjoy, your retirement. We will:

6.5 Building more and better homes

The housing crisis in Britain has become an emergency. For far too long Britain has built many fewer homes than we need; unless we build enough to meet demand, year after year, we will find that housing costs rise further out of reach. That is why we have set an ambitious target of increasing the rate of housebuilding to 300,000 a year - almost double the current level. These new houses must be sustainably planned to ensure that excessive pressure is not placed on existing infrastructure. We will:

6.6 Buying and renting

House prices are high across the country - even where houses are available to buy, they are often unaffordable for first-time buyers. In many areas, the rental market has also become unaffordable. Young people, in particular, need support from the government to help them find and keep a home of their own. We will:

6.7 Investing in the transport we need

High-quality public transport is essential to building sustainable communities and the local and national economy. Britain needs better transport infrastructure, a modern railway system run for the benefit of its customers, and less congestion and pollution on the roads. We also need to ensure that local communities, particularly rural communities, remain connected with local rail and bus services, and that stations serve the needs of their local community. To build a transport system fit for the 21st century, we will:

To protect and extend local public transport, we will:

6.8 Local communities working together

Liberal Democrats believe in community politics - in the power of local people to come together to solve their own problems and make a better life for their neighbourhoods. This means rejuvenating democratic local government in England and also supporting other forms of community organisation and empowerment. We will:

6.9 Sustainable rural communities

A thriving rural community needs local services and community facilities such as schools, public transport, local shops, cultural venues and pubs. It needs enough homes, affordable for local families, to ensure those services are viable. Liberal Democrats understand the changes needed to support a living, working countryside. We will:

6.10 Access to culture and sport

Arts, media and sports are essential for personal fulfilment and quality of life - they are part of what turns a group of people into a community. Funding for these organisations is put at risk with Brexit and the Liberal Democrats will ensure that we continue to invest in our cultural capital. We will: