Three cheers for the general election!

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The 2015 General Election is less than four months away and here is a short run down of what the main parties stand for:

09NoY2fMThe Conservatives are keen to emphasis their “long term economic plan” will continue into the next parliament by pledging to introduce another £25bn worth of spending cuts, as well as increasing the tax threshold for both low and middle income earners by 2020 and creating more apprenticeships. The rise of UKIP has also seen the Conservatives pledge a referendum on EU membership in 2017 as well as clampdown on migrants claiming benefits until they have lived in the UK for four years.

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Labour is striving to win support in their core working-class bloc by focusing on the “cost of living crisis” through policies such as freezing energy prizes, raising the minimum wage, banning zero-hours contracts and repealing the bedroom tax. Labour is also hoping to utilise the NHS to their advantage by pledging to increase spending on the service, paid for by clamping down on tax avoidance and introducing a “mansion tax” on the wealthiest homeowners, while also ending the “creeping privatisation” of the current government’s top-down reorganisation.

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The Lib Dems are keen to differentiate themselves from the Conservatives by emphasis their commitment to social equity by increasing the personal allowance on the lowest earners, something they would continue to do in government after 2015, while also pledging to remove universal benefits from the wealthiest pensioners and protect education spending. The Lib Dems are the most socially liberal of the main parties – implementing legislation to protect people from online intrusion and decriminalising drug possession – as well as being unashamedly pro-European.

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UKIP have taken the political world by storm in 2014 by utilising both an anti-establishment and anti-EU rhetoric that chimes with popular opinion. UKIP have devised other policies along populist lines: the introduction of an Australian-style point system on immigration and pledging to take all minimum wage earners out of income tax stand out. UKIP also favour a handful of ‘traditionalist’ policies such as opposition to same-sex marriage and increasing the number of grammar schools.

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The Green Party have moved to position themselves to the left of the Labour Party by calling for the implementation of a living wage and the renationalisation of the railways. Environmentalism is still key to the Greens’ message on reducing our reliance on non-renewable energy sources and ensuring sustainable economic growth. The Greens are also one of the leading critics of UK fracking. The party also holds socially liberal views on issues of LGBT rights and ending the prohibition on drugs.

Images: www.twitter.com, @Conservatives, @UKLabour, @LibDems, @UKIP, @TheGreenParty

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