Liberal Democrat candidate Paul Zukowskyj said the Party’s manifesto, launched today, would ‘bring real, positive and lasting change to Welwyn Hatfield’.
The manifesto sets out a bold vision to create a more tolerant society and fairer economy. The key headlines are:
- Stop Brexit. Revoke Article 50 and stay in the EU. This underpins plans to increase public spending by using the fully costed ‘Remain Bonus’ of £50 billion to invest in public services and tackle inequality.
- Tackle Climate Change. Reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2045 at the latest and call for 80% of the UK's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030.
- A penny on income tax for the NHS,raising £7bn a year over five years – a total of £35bn – to spend on the NHS and social care. Mental health care would also be given the same parity as physical health care, with early intervention to prevent people from experiencing a mental health crisis.
- Free childcare. All children aged two to four will qualify for 35 hours a week, 48 weeks a year. For children whose parents are in work, it will start from nine months.
- Recruit 20,000 more teachers. Spend £10.6bn more a year on schools and hire thousands of new teachers by the end of the next Parliament. This would reverse cuts to frontline school budgets with an emergency cash injection of £4.6 billion next year.
- Freeze train fares and strip rail companies of franchises if they fail to meet the new standards. The freeze would apply to all peak-time and season tickets for the next five years at a cost of £1.6bn.
- Introduce a 20% rise for workers on zero-hour contracts. Pay boost the higher minimum wage for people working on zero-hours contracts.
- Overhaul of the UK's asylum system to help more people fleeing war and persecution. This will allow over the next 10 years 10,000 more unaccompanied refugee children to enter the UK.
- New direct spending on housebuilding to help bring the supply of new homes, including social housing, into line with demand.
Speaking after the manifesto launch, Liberal Democrat candidate Paul Zukowskyj said the fully costed manifesto would bring real, positive and lasting change to Welwyn Hatfield:
“This manifesto sets out a clear route map to a fairer, more equitable and tolerant society and ensures that Welwyn Hatfield remains a forward-thinking and welcoming place.
“By using the Remain bonus to invest in our vital services such as our NHS, public transport and schools, it reverses decades of cuts and gives children in Welwyn Hatfield the best possible start in life.
“Like many of you, I have watched, appalled, at the demise of local NHS services and cuts to schools budgets, leaving too many Hertfordshire schools reliant on handouts from local parents, with our children being educated in badly maintained buildings.
“Our rail commuters have suffered year-on-year prices rises, with passengers paying way over the odds for what has often been an appalling service with no chance of a seat. And our elderly and those living in remote communities have been left cut off thanks to reduced bus services.
“We say enough is enough. Our manifesto sets out a better way, a brighter future that puts Stopping Brexit and tackling climate change at the heart of Government. As many of you will know, I am passionate about doing everything we can to tackle the climate emergency and reduce waste. I fought long and hard to stop the New Barnfield Incinerator. People told me then it was a done deal. We fought. We won.
“We can beat Brexit too. As the recent local elections show, we are the only serious challengers in Welwyn Hatfield to the Brexiteers. A vote for me is a vote to Stop Brexit and focus once more on the local and national issues we all care about.”