The Liberal Democrats have set out the party’s own ambitions for the Queen’s Speech. Here is what the Liberal Democrats want to see.
We need a Queen’s Speech for future generations.
On Wednesday 18th May the Conservative Party will use the Queen’s Speech to set out their agenda for the next year.
In their first year in office they have set back progress on education, our economy and on climate change. At every turn they have let short term political interest triumph over the long term interests of the country and the opportunities of the next generation.
While we might not yet know exactly what will be in the Conservative’s Queen’s Speech, we certainly know what they should be doing. They should be looking to the future.
And if they don’t Liberal Democrats will.
Liberal Democrats have always been optimistic, eager to improve the lives of our children and grandchildren and to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to succeed.
Key to this is education. Education is the vital to our future, yet current Government plans have more to do with attacking teachers and local authorities than they do with ensuring our kids develop the skills they need.
The future is full of exciting opportunities, as technology changes the way we work and live. However, there are also massive challenges, from creating an education system that enables the next generation to reach their full potential and adapt to our changing economy, to tackling climate change.
The Liberal Democrats believe that a responsible Government should be fighting to address to the challenges yet to come, not fixating on tomorrow’s headlines or reliving the battles of the past.
That is why we want to see a Queen’s Speech focused on the future. A Queen’s Speech for the next generation.
That’s why we are calling for:
Education sits right at the heart of what Liberal Democrats stand for. It is the key to freedom and opportunity.
We are concerned that the curriculum focusses too much on meeting targets and passing exams, rather than giving children the confidence, creativity and practical skills to meet the challenges of a future economy.
This Government’s policies are only making things worse. Teachers are demoralised and school budgets are stretched to breaking point. Children are missing out as subjects like art, music and sport are cut.
That is why we are proposing an Education Charter to set out the education system and the broad, balanced curriculum that we believe every child has a right to.
Future of the Economy Bill
Our economy is changing. New technology is shaking up every sector of business and the skills and infrastructure we need to compete if our economy is to continue to grow.
Liberal Democrats believe that the Government is failing to take the challenges our economy will face seriously. They are prioritising short term plans to look tough on spending over the need to invest in our future.
That is why we are proposing an Economy of the Future Bill, to prioritise spending on new broadband, housing and rail infrastructure, requiring the Government to set out a long term industrial strategy to manage the changes in our economy, and real support for new technology such as 3D printing so UK businesses are at the forefront of new ways of working.
Future of Healthcare
Liberal Democrats will always fight to protect our health and care system. To do that we need to be honest about the funding and capacity challenges they face.
We need a healthcare system which can provide high quality care to all – across both mental and physical health – and which will carry on delivering for future generations.
However, the Government refuses to act.
That is why we have proposed a Future of Healthcare Bill, to set up an independent, cross-party commission to assess the scale of these challenges and look at how we can deliver a new, sustainable settlement for health and care.
Global Responsibilities Bill
In a more globalised, interdependent world, freedom for individuals is not best protected solely for the nation state. It is in the interests of all countries to create a system of international law and governance.
Liberal Democrats believe that to promote global stability we must strengthen the UK’s adherence to international law, in particular international humanitarian law, which we believe it too easily compromised by the UK arms trade.
To tackle this, we would introduce a Global Responsibilities Bill which would strengthen our commitment to international humanitarian law, as well as introducing tougher regulation on the UK arms market, and enshrining a commitment to non-proliferation efforts worldwide.”
Zero Carbon Britain Bill
The threat of climate change to our planet is growing. We need to act now to tackle global warming before it’s too late, and ensure that the ambitious new global target set in the Paris Agreement is met.
Liberal Democrats believe that the Government is failing to take the threat of climate change seriously. They have cut back on the renewable sector and stopped the momentum towards a low carbon, green economy that creates jobs as well as protects the environment.
That is why we are proposing a Zero Carbon Britain Bill, to set a new legally binding target to bring net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. The 2008 Climate Change Act set a target of 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 and this must now be updated to 100% in order for Britain to play its part in the fight against climate change.
Social Justice and Equalities Bill
The way we live, from our relationships to how we define ourselves, is changing. As a society we are far more liberal and tolerant than we were 10, 20 and 50 years ago.
The Liberal Democrats believe that Government must be active in tackling the remnants of discrimination.
That is why we are proposing a Social Justice and Equalities Bill to give equal rights to cohabiting couples, allow opposite sex couples to have civil partnerships, introduce ‘x’ passports for those who don’t identify as male or female and introduce mandatory reporting on the BAME pay gap.
Modern Politics Bill
Society is changing and politics needs to keep pace with the environment within which we all live.
The Lib Dems believe that the Government must do more to reflect people’s wishes and that Parliament needs to be more democratic in its representation of this.
That is why we are proposing a Modern Politics Bill to reform our voting system, the structure of the House of Lords, and to enable those from the next generation to be a part of that process with votes for 16 and 17 year olds, whilst ensuring that all laws are assessed in the interests of intergenerational fairness.
We also want to see plans to tackle the other challenges the country will face in the future including:
- A Digital Bill of Rights- enshrining your rights online
- An Equality for Mental Health Bill – to ensure true parity of estimate between mental and physical health
- A Decent and Affordable Homes Bill – to improve the quality and availability of housing
- A Skills for the Future Bill – to support lifetime learning and enable low income workers to access skills training
- A Cannabis Legalisation Bill – to take the drug out of the hands of dealers and create a legal market
- A Modern Politics Bill – to take big money out of politics, reform the House of Lords, require laws to be assessed for intergenerational fairness, and create a fair, proportional voting system
- An Equalities Bill – requiring reports on the BAME pay gap and crack down on disability hate crime
- A Travel Freedom Bill – to create discounted travel for young people and require the next generation of trains and busses to have better access for disabled people.
- A Creative Industries Bill – to protect the BBC and Channel 4 from privatisation and encourage investment in the creative industries across the UK.