Liberal Democrat Party policies

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An overview of the post-16 education manifesto commitments from the Liberal Democrats.

Download the full Liberal Democrat manifesto 2015

Apprenticeships

  • Increase the number of apprenticeships and improve their quality, with a focus on expanding degree-level apprenticeships
  • Extend the apprenticeship grant for employers into the next parliament, delivering 200,000 grants
  • Double the number of businesses which hire apprentices

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(74 votes. Average rating: 4.65 out of 10)
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Localism and devolution

  • Build on the success of City Deals and Growth Deals to devolve more power and resources to groups of local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships, with a focus on balancing local autonomy with fair equalisation between communities
  • Continue to make the case for powers held at Westminster and Holyrood to be transferred directly to local government where appropriate
  • Implement the Smith Commission proposals and deliver proper Home Rule for Wales

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(63 votes. Average rating: 3.79 out of 10)
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Further education, skills and adult learning

  • Develop National Colleges as centres of expertise for key sectors like renewable energy, and expand higher vocational training like foundation degrees, Higher National Diplomas and Higher National Certificates
  • Protect the education budget in real terms from early years to age 19, and establish a cross-party commission to secure a long-term settlement for the public funding of reskilling and lifelong learning
  • Review the VAT treatment of sixth form colleges and further education colleges to ensure fair treatment in relation to the schools sector

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(145 votes. Average rating: 4.34 out of 10)
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Higher education

  • Maintain current £9000 tuition fee in England
  • Establish review of higher education funding
  • Reinstate post-study work visas for STEM graduates who can find graduate-level employment within six months of graduating

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(84 votes. Average rating: 2.49 out of 10)
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Immigration

  • Reinstate post-study work visas for STEM graduates who can find graduate-level employment within six months of graduating
  • Separate students within overall migration statistics, while restoring entry and exit checks and taking tough action against any institution allowing abuse of the student visa route
  • Continue requirements for those with poor English to attend English language courses in order to secure Jobseekers’ Allowance

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(129 votes. Average rating: 4.62 out of 10)
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Professional issues

  • Ask the Low Pay Commission to look at ways of raising the minimum wage and establish a review on setting a ‘living wage’
  • Raise the personal tax allowance to £11,000 in April 2016 and £12,500 by 2020
  • Allow zero hours workers to request a fixed contract and consult on introducing a right to make regular patterns of work contractual after a period of time
  • Keep "triple lock" on state pensions so they rise by the highest of inflation, earnings or 2.5%

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(90 votes. Average rating: 4.94 out of 10)
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Public funding

  • Maintain current £9000 tuition fee in England
  • Establish reviews of higher and further education funding
  • Ring-fence education spending for those aged between 2 and 19 years (‘cradle to college’)

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(133 votes. Average rating: 2.53 out of 10)
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Research & development

  • Ring-fence science research budget and ensure that capital and revenue spending increase in line with inflation by 2020
  • Reinstate post-study work visas for STEM graduates who find graduate level employment within six months of completing their degree
  • Aim to double innovation and research spending, supported by greater public funding on a longer timescale
  • More ‘catapult centres’ and support for green innovations from the Green Investment Bank

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(111 votes. Average rating: 4.65 out of 10)
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