“Change Britain’s Future”: the Liberal Democrats' 2017 Manifesto


4 mins

Posted on 25 May 2017

The Liberal Democrats released their election manifesto on 17 May 2017. Key policies for the workplace include:

Equality 

The LibDems will

  • extend pay reporting obligations in the private sector to include data on BAME, LGBT+ employment levels and pay gaps;
  • push for 40% female boards in FTSE 350 companies and implement the Parker review recommendations to increase ethnic minority representation in the boardroom; 
  • require name blind recruitment in the public sector and encourage it in the private sector; 
  • require diversity in public appointments and introduce a presumption that every shortlist should include at least one BAME candidate;
  • guarantee the freedom to wear religious or cultural dress;
  • outlaw caste discrimination;
  • extend discrimination law to protect gender identity and expression (not merely gender reassignment as currently); and
  • oppose withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights and any attempt to water down the Human Rights Act.

Families

The LibDems will:

  • make flexible working, paternity leave and shared parental leave “day one rights” (currently 26 weeks’ service is required);
  • introduce an additional one month “use it or lose it” period of shared parental leave for fathers; 
  • fund more extensive childcare, and provide better back-to-work support, with the aim of getting one million more women in work by 2025; and
  • extend 15-hours a week free childcare provision to all two years olds and to the children of all working families from the end of paid maternity/paternity/shared parental leave. The long term goal would be to increase this to 30 hours.

Pay

The LibDems will:

  • establish an independent review into how to set a genuine living wage and roll it out across central government, with other public sector bodies encouraged to follow suit; 
  • require larger employers to publish data on the number of workers earning less than the living wage and the ratio between top and median pay;
  • encourage employee ownership by giving staff in listed companies with more than 250 employees the right to request shares to be held in trust for the benefit of employees; and
  • require binding public votes by board members on executive pay policies. 

Zero hours contracts and the gig economy

The LibDems will stamp out the abuse of zero hours contracts and create a right for workers to request a fixed term contract. They will also consult on introducing a right to make regular patterns of work contractual after a period of time. They would also modernise employment rights to make them “fit for the age of the gig economy”, building on the forthcoming Taylor Report (expected in the Summer). 

Tribunal fees

The LibDems will abolish employment tribunal fees and strengthen the enforcement of employment rights. 

Brexit

The LibDems will:

  • unilaterally guarantee the rights of existing EU nationals in the UK and seek the same rights for UK citizens in the EU;
  • retain freedom of movement as far as possible; and
  • defend existing social rights and equality laws.

Immigration

The LibDems will:

  • ensure that the immigration system is operated fairly and efficiently, with strict control of borders, including entry and exit checks, and adequately funded Border Force policing of entry by irregular routes;
  • hold an annual debate in parliament on skill and labour market shortfalls and surpluses to identify the migration necessary to meet the UK’s needs;
  • continue to allow high-skilled immigration to support key sectors of the economy, and ensure work, tourist and family visas are processed quickly and efficiently;
  • remove students from the official migration statistics; 
  • ensure the UK is an attractive destination for overseas students. They will reinstate post-study work visas for graduates in STEM (science, technology,engineering and maths) subjects who find suitable employment within six months of graduating and give the devolved administrations the right to sponsor additional post-study work visas;
  • work with universities to ensure a fair and transparent student visa process and find ways to measure accurately the number of students leaving at the end of their course; and
  • provide additional government funding for English as an additional language classes to help migrants and residents gain independence and integrate with their local communities.

Pensions

The LibDems will:

  • maintain the ‘triple lock’ of increasing the state pension each year by the
  • highest of earnings growth, prices growth or 2.5% for the next parliament; and
  • establish a review to consider the case for, and practical implications of, introducing a single rate of tax relief for pensions, which would be designed to be simpler and fairer and would be set more generously than the current 20% basic rate relief.

The full manifesto can be read here

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