Lib Dems pledge to rejoin EU's Single Market and introduce a £9billion NHS and care 'rescue' package in manifesto

10 June 2024, 12:25 | Updated: 11 June 2024, 00:43

Sir Ed Davey launching Lib Dems election manifesto
Sir Ed Davey launching Lib Dems election manifesto. Picture: alamy

By StephenRigley

The Liberal Democrats would seek to bring the UK back into the European Union's single market, the party says in its manifesto.

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While putting policies on health and social care at the front and centre of their election campaign, the 114-page document also includes an aim "to place the UK-EU relationship on a more formal and stable footing by seeking to join the single market".

The document, titled For A Fair Deal, sets out that the Lib Dems would fund a £9.4 billion package for the NHS and social care in England by increasing taxes for banks and closing loopholes used by the super-rich.

Speaking at its launch in central London on Monday, Sir Ed said: "Caring has been in the shadows for loo long, and I'm proud that, as a party, we have brought it into the light.

Pointing to his own experiences as a carer, he said: "The truth is, unless we properly value care, unless we properly support carers, we will never be able to fix the crisis in our NHS or get our economy back on track.

"And that's why I'm so proud the Liberal Democrats have put health and care at the heart of our campaign in this General Election, and at the heart of our manifesto too."

Liberal Democrats leader Sir Ed Davey during the party's General Election manifesto launch at Lumiere London
Liberal Democrats leader Sir Ed Davey during the party's General Election manifesto launch at Lumiere London. Picture: Alamy

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The manifesto is 116 pages long and features 22 chapters, including on political reform, defence and economy.

In the international section, the Lib Dems say they will seek to take the UK back into the European Union single market.

"Once ties of trust and friendship have been renewed, and the damage the Conservatives have caused to trade between the UK and EU has begun to be repaired, we would aim to place the UK-EU relationship on a more formal and stable footing by seeking to join the Single Market," the document says.

It comes as Ed Davey joined LBC's Charlotte Lynch at Thorpe Park later in the day to speak about his pledges, while riding on the teacups.

His quickfire 'teacups pitch' included his pledge to rejoin single market, public sector cuts, cutting down on tax avoidance and... cannabis.

Ed Davey launches his manifesto...on the teacups

On taxes, the party promises to raise the money needed for its investment plans by:

- Reversing Tory tax cuts for the big banks, restoring Bank Surcharge and Bank Levy revenues to 2016 levels in real terms.

- Increasing the Digital Services Tax on social media firms and other tech giants from 2% to 6%.

- Fairly reforming capital gains tax to close loopholes exploited by the super wealthy.

- Introducing a 4% tax on the share buyback schemes of FTSE-100 listed companies, to incentivise productive investment, job creation and economic growth.

On political reform, Sir Ed told the launch his party would end the first-past-the-post voting system in favour of "fair votes with proportional representation".

He said this would also involve "getting big money out of politics with a cap on donations to political parties, shifting power out of the centre".

The Conservatives, the Green Party and Labour are also expected to set out their election pledges this week.

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