Election 2019: Liberal Democrats manifesto pledges heavy investment in youth services and early years

Fiona Simpson
Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to invest £500m in youth services and provide a public health approach to tackle youth violence.

Jo Swinson launches the Liberal Democrat's manifesto. Image: Liberal Democrats
Jo Swinson launches the Liberal Democrat's manifesto. Image: Liberal Democrats

Announcing her party’s election manifesto, leader Jo Swinson promised to ringfence £500m to “repair the damage to youth services”, reach more young people and improve training for youth workers.

As part of their plan for health and social care, the Liberal Democrats will invest more into the first two years of a child’s life and provide targeted support for vulnerable children at risk of poor wellbeing.

The party also promised to take a preventative approach to youth violence – training police, teachers, health professionals, youth workers and social services to identify early signs of young people becoming involved in gangs and violence.

Improving waiting times for mental health services featured heavily in the manifesto, with promises to make children’s services a top priority.

Swinson also vowed to “stop the cliff edge of young people transitioning to adult services and ensure uninterrupted care” and introduce a mental health charter for all universities and colleges.

Mental health education, citizenship and age-appropriate relationships and sex education (RSE), sexual consent and LGBT+ relationships would be among topics covered in a new “curriculum for life” at all state schools.

The party has previously promised to fund 20,000 new teachers and raise educators' starting salary to £30,000.

They vowed to triple the early years pupil premium to £1,000 and allocate additional cash to local authorities to halve the amount that schools pay towards the cost of a child’s education, health and care plan (EHCP).

As part of a shake-up to the education system, Swinson vowed to “reduce unnecessary stress on pupils and teachers” by abolishing SATs and replacing them with a formal, moderated teacher assessment.

The party also said it would replace inspectorate body Ofsted with a new HM Inspector of Schools.

Swinson previously pledged to invest £1bn per year in children’s centres and offer 35 hours of free childcare for children aged two to four and children aged between nine and 24 months while their parents or guardians are at work.

Child obesity and youth gambling figures were also addressed in the manifesto, which has been welcomed by the National Education Union.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary for the National Education Union, said: “The NEU welcomes the fact that the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto has addressed many of the issues the NEU has been campaigning on to ensure our children and young people get the education they deserve.”

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