Lib Dems: Give parents Covid catch-up vouchers to spend
Sir Ed Davey calls for a fairer deal for carers, parents and business in his conference speech.
Most of the event is being held online due to pandemic concerns.Addressing a small audience of about 100 delegates at London's Canary Wharf, he pointed to success in June's- where the Lib Dems overturned a a 16,000 Tory majority to win by more than 8,000 votes - as evidence that "the Tories can be beaten" in traditional, so-called "blue wall" seats.
'Empowering parents'On education, Mr Davey said a "massive Covid education catch-up plan is urgent" as the UK emerges from the pandemic.He said Liberal Democrats would give families a £200 voucher per child - paid directly to parents - to spend on activities such as extra tutoring, music or sports clubs.
The £5bn scheme would make supporting parents and children the "top priority" in a "new fair deal", he said, and would enable the "most radical empowering of parents ever".That extra support "would be doubled and in some cases tripled" for children in care, disadvantaged children and those will special educational needs. headtopics.com
Mr Davey said his party will fight for a "fair deal" and aim to appeal to those who feel "taken for granted" by the Conservatives.'Voice of carers'£36bn health and social care levy,Mr Davey said it was "little more than an unfair tax rise for workers and businesses".
He said as a carer himself for his son he "felt angry" at the prime minister's "claim to have fixed the crisis in social care", describing it as "just another of his broken promises".He criticised the plan for failing to tackle a "dangerous shortage of care staff" and said that those workers would be hit with a tax hike and "heartless universal credit cuts".
He pledged that his party would "empower carers" by giving them their own budget and control over care provision such as when the family carer gets a break.'Pay tax on Planet Earth'Mr Davey said the tax-free allowance against employers, national insurance contributions should be "raised substantially" and that the biggest businesses would pay more tax under Lib Dem plans.
"The world's richest bosses might be racing each other to go to Mars, but before lift-off, they can pay their taxes here on Planet Earth" he added.On the issue of climate action, he said the UK should be leading the world by banning new oil, gas and coal companies from the London Stock Exchange. headtopics.com
That would stop "the flow of money from your pension funds into the dirty industries of the past" he added.Catch-up vouchers are a clear pitch to parents who the Lib Dems are keen to attract.Post-pandemic the party believes it can capitalise on what many said was the government's mishandling of the impact on education.
And it fits with their broader appeal to those they say have been taken for granted or left behind by Boris Johnson's government.But there's a danger it's seen as an expensive giveaway which would put some cautious Conservative voters off.
And competence when it comes to the economy will be crucial if the Lib Dem's are to present themselves as a credible alternative.Trans rightsIn a pre-speech interview on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Mr Davey was asked about the party's attitude to trans rights after an activist, Natalie Bird, was banned from standing as an MP for wearing a T-shirt featuring the words "woman adult human female".
He said all spaces should be open to everyone, regardless of their gender, because the issue was one of human rights."A trans woman is a woman, a trans man is a man" he added.Mr Davey added that transgender people are "some of the most discriminated against" and he accused the prime minister of toxifying the debate around rights. headtopics.comRead more: BBC Health News »
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