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Westminster

21 November 2019

Ahead of the General Election on the 12th of December, the Liberal Democrats have published their manifesto. We have summarised the most relevant commitments for the youth sector below.

You can find similar summaries for other political parties here.


Youth sector commitments

Accountable Local Schools

  • Give local authorities with responsibility for education the powers and resources to act as Strategic Education Authorities for their area, including responsibility for places planning, exclusions, administering admissions including in-year admissions, and Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) functions.
  • Create a level playing field by requiring Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) to undergo external inspection and allowing local authorities to open new Community Schools where needed.
  • Oppose any future expansion of grammar schools and devolve all capital funding for new school spaces to local authorities.

A Safety Net that Works

  • Make the welfare system work by: Tackling child poverty by removing the two-child limit and the benefits cap.

A Public Health Approach to Violence

  • Invest £1 billion to restore community policing, enough for two new police officers in every ward.
  • Adopt a public health approach to the epidemic of youth violence: identifying risk factors and treating them, rather than just focusing on the symptoms. This means police, teachers, health professionals, youth workers and social services all working closely together to prevent young people falling prey to gangs and violence.
  • Invest in youth services. We will provide a £500 million ring-fenced youth services fund to local authorities to repair the damage done to youth services and enable them to deliver a wider range of services, reach more young people and improve training for youth workers.
  • Embed Trauma-informed Youth Intervention Specialists in all Major Trauma Centres.
  • Introduce a target of one hour for handover of people suffering from mental health crisis from police to mental health services and support the police to achieve adequate levels of training in mental health response.
  • Create a new Online Crime Agency to effectively tackle illegal content and activity, such as personal fraud, revenge porn and threats and incitement to violence on social media.
  • End the disproportionate use of Stop and Search.
  • Prevent violence against women and girls and domestic abuse, and support survivors.
  • Replace Police and Crime Commissioners with accountable Police Boards made up of local councillors.

Promote diversity

  • Establish a national fund for projects that work in schools to raise the aspirations of ethnic minority children and young people.

Fixing Mental Health Services

  • Prioritise early intervention to prevent people from experiencing a mental health crisis and to minimise the number and duration of in-patient stays. This means ensuring all young people can access support quickly.
  • Ring-fence funding from the 1p Income Tax rise to provide additional investment in mental health.
  • Introduce further mental health maximum waiting time standards, starting with children’s services, services for people with eating disorders, and severe and enduring conditions. We want to ensure that all children and young people with a diagnosable condition receive NHS treatment (currently only 35 per cent do).
  • Stop the cliff edge of young people transitioning to adult services and ensure uninterrupted care.

Help to stay healthy

  • Keep public health within local government, where it is effectively joined-up with preventive community services. We will re-instate the funding that was cut from public health budgets by the Conservatives and join up services across public health and the NHS.

Learning Throughout Life

  • Invest an extra £1 billion in Further Education funding, including by refunding colleges for the VAT they pay.
  • Help children from poorer families to remain in education and training beyond the age of 16 by introducing a ‘Young People’s Premium’. This would be based on the same eligibility criteria as the Pupil Premium, but a portion of it would be paid directly to the young person aged 16-18.

Power for Communities

  • Decentralise decision-making from Whitehall and Westminster, by inviting local areas to take control of the services that matter to them most.
  • Give democratic local government enhanced powers to call on new income sources appropriate to their area to support local services and investment.
  • Give people more power, with customers holding companies delivering services to account for their failures, and with communities able to take charge of aspects of their own local development – through, for example, establishing local banks and community energy cooperatives.
  • Devolve further revenue-raising powers away from Westminster, to regions from Cornwall to North East England. We will legislate to empower groups of authorities to come together to establish devolved governance and ensure that any powers devolved are matched by the funding to deliver on the needs of local people.
  • Devolve more decision-making power over key levers of economic development including transport, energy, housing and skills.

Power for the Nations and Regions

  • Devolution of power to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has implications for the UK parliament and its dual role in legislating for England as well as the federal UK. Liberal Democrats support an English-only stage in legislation affecting England, so that English MPs can have a separate say on laws that only affect England. However, this should be on a proportional basis, genuinely reflecting the balance of opinion in England.
  • In some areas of England there is a greater appetite for powers, but not every part of the country wants to move at the same speed and there cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach. All areas should however have access to the same opportunities and mayoral authorities should not be ranked higher in terms of the powers with which they can be granted. We will enact permissive legislation to empower groups of authorities to come together to establish devolved governance – for example to a Cornish Assembly or a Yorkshire Parliament, building on the One Yorkshire campaign. We will proceed by consensus as far as possible but will not allow one local authority to veto a coherent proposal.

Other General Election resources

As each party releases their manifesto, we will be summarising the most relevant commitments for the youth sector, which you will be able to find here.

Find out why young people having their say is so important in this excellent blog, Will we see a ‘youthquake’ at the next election?, from Harry Crumless, our Communications Officer.

You can also find some useful information on how young people can vote and have heir voices heard here.


You can keep up-to-date with our latest news and updates by signing up to our newsletter or read more about our policy work.

Samuel Howell, Policy Officer