Party Leader Tim Farron delivers a speech at the Liberal Democrat manifesto launch in London.
by REENA KUMAR
THE Liberal Democrats have promised to ban caste discrimination, scrap the government’s counter-terrorism strategy and allow police to spend more money on countering hate
crime as part of an additional £100 million in funding in their election manifesto, launched last week.
Party leader, Tim Farron is hoping the Asian community will be attracted to the pledges, which take into consideration Britain’s large ethnic minority population.
Other pledges include requiring companies to publish data on BAME employment and pay gaps and introducing name blind recruitment in the public and private sector.
At the launch of the manifesto in east London last Wednesday (17), Farron said the party would scrap Prevent– the government’s counter terrorism strategy – in favour of a scheme that prioritised community engagement and supported communities in developing their own approach to tackling the dangers of violent extremism, under the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
Prevent has been criticised by members of Britian’s diverse Muslim communities who feel they are the focus of government scrutiny.
Farron said: “Imagine a brighter future. You don’t have to accept Theresa May and Nigel Farage’s extreme version of Brexit that will not celebrate one of Britain’s great strengths – its mix of cultures.
“And you don’t have to accept a future with Labour’s weak opposition. They are letting Britain’s Asian communities down and their complacency and ineffectiveness initially led to a
UKIP vote creeping in, which is now the gateway to the prospect a divisive and significant Conservative majority.
“Every Liberal Democrat vote is therefore a challenge to Theresa May’s divisive, right-wing agenda. Every Liberal Democrat vote is a vote for a brighter future.”
The party’s manifesto also includes a commitment to give voters the final say on the Brexit deal in a referendum, with the option to reject it and remain in the EU if they don’t like the deal they are offered.
Farron would also guarantee the freedom of people to wear religious or cultural dress.
The Lib Dems are hopeful that their pro-EU stance will attract support from the 48 per cent of Britons who backed remaining in the bloc in last year’s referendum, although opinion polls suggest the message has not won over many people from the two major parties who opposed Brexit.
Support for the party has collapsed nationally since the 2010 election when the party won 23 per cent of the vote, propelling it into a coalition government with former Conservative prime minister David Cameron.
But five years later voters abandoned the Lib Dems as they bore the brunt of public anger over unpopular austerity measures and the party lost all but eight of its 57 seats in parliament.
Among the other major policies advocated by the Lib Dems are an extra penny on income tax rates to raise £6 billion to spend on the NHS and a plan for a £100bn infrastructure investment to help build 300,000 homes a year and improve road and rail links.