• Balance the books on day-to-day spending services by 2017-8
  • Leave themselves room to borrow for "productive investment" like Labour, as long as debt fell as a proportion of national income every year
  • Public spending to rise in line with economy once the budget was balanced

Verdict: Splits the difference between Labour and the Tories, and could be tweaked in any post-election talks.


  • Personal tax allowances would rise to at least £12,500 by 2020.
  • Raise employees' national insurance threshold (currently £8,000) to the same level "as resources allow"
  • "Fair" deficit reduction through a reform of capital gains tax and dividend tax relief
  • Higher rate of corporation tax for banks
  • £2m levy on homes
  • Clampdown on tax avoidance to save £7bn by 2017-8

Verdict: They may get little credit for the personal allowance policy now the Tories have stolen it.


  • £2bn more than Labour and £5bn more than the Tories
  • Increase the education budget for 2-19 year olds
  • Free school meals extended to all primary pupils
  • Core curriculum taught in every school and every child would be taught by a qualified teacher

Verdict: A useful selling point but will the voters trust them.


  • Half of initial £1bn of guaranteed £8bn to NHS to provide care in people's home and communities to prevent hospital admissions
  • Extra £500m to mental health

Verdict: They are blazing on trail on mental health but extra cash may be eclipsed by Tories' £8bn pledge


  • Support to "limited welfare reductions"
  • 1 per cent cap on uprating working-age benefits until 2017-2018, which would then rise in line with inflation
  • State pension to rise by at least 2.5 per cent a year
  • Withdrawal of winter fuel payments and free TV licences from pensioners paying the 40p higher tax rate
  • Reform of the "bedroom tax" so that existing social tenants would not lose benefit unless they turn down a reasonable offer of alternative accommodation

Verdict: Braver than the Tories and Labour in scrapping pensioners' perks.


  • Nature Act to ensure that the government sets up a 25 year plan for "recovering nature", such as reversing the decline of UK species
  • Resource Efficiency and Zero Waste Britain Act, a Green Transport Act, a Zero Carbon Britain Act, and a Green Buildings Act
  • Expansion of Green Investment Bank
  • Target set for legally binding decarbonisation for electricity

Verdict: No one doubts their credentials, but the Green Party may suck up some votes.


  • 15 hours a week of free childcare to all children aged between nine months and two years who parents are working
  • 20 hours a week of free childcare for all two-to-four-year-olds
  • Shared leave for parents expanded with a "use it or lose it" month for fathers
  • Paid leave for carers

Verdict: Nick Clegg has a good record here, but the three main parties all make similar promises


  • 300,000 new homes a year
  • 10 new garden cities in areas where homes are needed most
  • New rent to own homes with monthly payments buying a stake in the property
  • Tenancy deposit loans from the state to help young adults
  • £100 cut in council tax for 10 years for those who insulate their home
  • Landlords banned from letting homes that tenants cannot reasonably afford to heat

Verdict: All good. But successive governments have not ensured enough housebuilding.


  • A Digital Bill of Rights that would protect privacy by updating data laws
  • Block of any attempt to revive "snoopers' charter"
  • Second Freedoms Act to protect free speech, tighten the regulation of CCTV, stop heavy handed policing and ban high frequency Mosquito devices that can be heard by young people
  • Statutory public interest defence for exceptional cases where journalists may need to break the law to expose wrongdoing

Verdict: The measures are brave but politically risky.

More: The Conservative Party manifesto, point by point

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