Garth Harkness

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Saddleworth North Ward on Oldham Council Learn more

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Stronger economy Fairer society Opportunity for everyone

Stronger economy. Fairer society. Opportunity for Everyone.

Only the Liberal Democrats will create opportunity for everyone by building a stronger economy and

a fairer society.

The Labour party wasted their chance and ruined the economy, destroying jobs and slashing

incomes. In power by themselves they will borrow too much and risk the recovery, sacrificing

opportunity for everyone. You just can’t trust Ed Miliband and Ed Balls with the economy.

And you can’t count on the Tories to care because they only care about themselves. Without Liberal

Democrats in government to stop them, they would have cut public services deeper and faster,

making the poorest bear the heaviest burden – exactly what George Osborne says they plan to do if

they win the general election.

So the choice in this election is clear: Labour will borrow too much, risking the economy. The

Tories will cut too much, threatening public services and sacrificing the least well off. The Liberal

Democrats will borrow less than Labour and cut less than the Tories. We will balance the budget

by 2018, cut taxes for low and middle earners and ensure decent public services, creating

opportunity for everyone.

In government, we’ve proved our commitment to building a stronger economy by halving the

budget deficit, helping business create 1.8 million jobs and helping create 1.8 million new

In government, we’ve proved our commitment to making Britain fairer by cutting income tax by

£800 for 24 million low and middle income earners; providing an extra £2.5 billion for struggling

school kids; ensuring the biggest ever cash rise in the state pension; giving all 3 and 4 year olds and

40% of 2 year olds 20 hours of free childcare a week and capping the cost of social care.

And we’ve proved in government we stand up for fairness by blocking Tory plans to run schools for

profit, allow employees to be fired without cause and pay public servants less if they work outside

Now, we need your support to help us create more opportunity for everyone. In the next

parliament, we will:

1. Balance the budget by 2018, protecting the economic recovery and bringing down Britain’s


2. Cut income tax by £400 for low and middle earners, easing the squeeze on household


3. Guarantee equal care and waiting times for mental health as for physical health, by

increasing spending on the NHS.

4. Ensure every child is taught by a qualified teacher and protect spending on nurseries,

schools and colleges.

5. Pass a new Nature Law to protect green spaces, trees, birds and animals, clean up polluted

air and rivers and ensure Britain is at the forefront of fighting climate change.


Only the Liberal Democrats will balance the budget, cut taxes for 30 million people, invest in health

and education and protect nature, creating opportunity for everyone.

In government Liberal Democrats are building a stronger economy in a fairer society enabling everyone to get on in life by:
  • Securing a £700 income tax cut for ordinary people
  • Helped business create over 1 million jobs and campaigning for 1 million more
  • Cut the costs in fuel duty- Stopping Labour’s planned rises
  • 1.2 million apperentices. More apprentices than ever
  • Making higher education fairer
  • £2000 jobs tax break
  • Making the rich pay their share . Someone earning £1m pay £381,000 more than under Labour . Campaigning for a mansion tax
  • Pupil Premium – giving deprived children a chance in life
  • 15 hours free early education
  • £1200 for Childcare costs
  • Youth contract- giving young people struggling a chance
  • Immigration cut by one third- ensuring we get the best and brightest migrants.
  • No more child detention
  •  £9bn back from tax dodgers
  • Tackling the deficient left by the mismanagement of the economy by the Labour government
  • Triple lock pension scheme meaning pensioners get a fair deal
  • More empty homes back in use. Building more homes
  • Equal marriage

Stopped the Conservatives give an inheritance tax cut for millionaires

Stopped the Conservatives Let schools run for profit

Stopped the Conservatives allowing bosses to fire at will

Labour’s current plan is to add £201 bn to the already massive deficit

Lib Dems in government

Labour have opposed every single cut but now, after nearly two years of opposing every cut, Ed Miliband and Ed Balls say they won’t reverse a single one. Yet they still say they oppose them.
* Lifting a million of the poorest workers out of tax and cutting taxes, not for the rich but for 23m basic rate taxpayers;
* Making the well off pay their share by raising Capital Gains Tax, a new £10bn bank levy and keeping the 50p top rate of tax;
* The most generous rise in the state pension for a generation;
* A revolution in the way we support the children who need help the most when it matters the most, in the crucial early years and throughout their school lives;
* More apprenticeships than Britain has ever had before;
* And from this April, the Youth Contract, an ambitious £1bn programme to make sure every 18 to 24-year-old has the opportunity to earn or learn.Clearing up Labour’s mess is not easy, but right

LibDems keep faith with pensioners

Even in these unhappy economic times Lib Dem election pledges for pensioners are being honoured:

All Old Age Pensions now go up with average earnings, match increases in the the cost of living, or rise by two and a half per cent, whichever is more.

We all benefit by paying less income tax, as personal allowances increase each year to £10,000 free of tax in 2014.

Not bad for the much smaller party in the coalition.

 Youth Contract

Lib Dem Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has outlined a £1 billion pound Youth Contract to tackle youth unemployment. The aim is to ensure that all jobless young people are earning or learning again before long-term damage is done.

  • Over three years, the Youth Contract will provide at least 410,000 new work places for 18 to 24 year olds into work. Starting April 2012
  • Including 160,000 wage subsidies and 250,000 new work experience placements.
  • In addition, there will be at least 20,000 more incentive payments to encourage employers to take on young apprentices.
  • A new programme to help the most disengaged 16 and 17 year olds – getting them back to school or college, onto an apprenticeship or into a job with training.


Lib Dems fight for what is right in the difficult times
These are difficult times for people across Britain, but this week has shown that this can also be an opportunity to reshape Britain into a fairer, more equal and greener country.
Labour’s financial legacy has left Britain needing to borrow an extra £400million, every single day, just to get by. Labour also left us paying £120million in interest on our debt each and every day – for that we could build a new primary school every hour.
Oldham’s share of the country’s debt now stands at a dangerous £7.68billion and something needs to be done.
But despite all this, Liberal Democrat policies coming into action this week are making a positive difference to people’s lives.
Over the last seven days in Oldham, thanks to Liberal Democrats:
  • 67000 people are getting a £200 income tax cut – benefiting 23 million people across the country
  • 2300 people have been lifted out of paying income tax altogether, with more to come
  • £625million extra has gone to our schools, aimed at the most disadvantaged pupils – rising to £2.5billion a year by 2015
  • 39700 pensioners have been given an extra £4.50 a week – and those retiring from today will be on average £15,000 better off over their retirement.
Liberal Democrats in government will not stop there.
This week also saw Pensions Minister Steve Webb announcing that the Government will be introducing a simple, flat-rate state pension of £140 to replace the current complicated, unfair and means-tested system.
Business Secretary Vince Cable is cutting regulation to promote small business and create jobs.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Chris Huhne revealed that Britain will be hosting the 2012 Clean Energy Summit – putting Britain at the heart of the Green Energy Revolution.
The Liberal Democrats have entered government at one of the most challenging times for the country. We did not choose the moment but we have not shrunk from our responsibility to act in the national interest. We will not miss the opportunity we have to build a greener, fairer and more liberal Britain