Party Pieces

Children and Families

Labour: Margaret Hodge

  • Committed to providing access to affordable child care for all
    parents of school-aged children by the end of a third term.
  • Will work towards free, part-time early education for all three
    and four year olds. In disadvantaged neighbourhoods, children’s
    services to be brought together within the Sure Start
  • Plans for reform to children’s services propose that children
    known to more than one specialist agency should have a single named
    professional to take the lead on their case.
  • Multi-disciplinary teams working in and around schools and
    children’s centres.
  • A new green paper proposes that parents should be encouraged to
    undertake mediation during divorce proceedings.

Conservatives: Theresa May

  • Want to remove obstacles to supplying child care, and will look
    at ways to encourage more people to become child minders.
  • Will look at reforming the child care tax credit.

Liberal Democrats: Annette Brooke

  • Would scrap the Child Support Agency and enforce payment of
    maintenance through the Inland Revenue.
  • Intends to provide early years support for families throughout
    the country.
  • Will abolish the Child Trust Fund and use the money for
    across-the-board early years provision.
  • Would reform education for children over 14 so they can mix
    vocational and academic learning.


Mental Health

Labour: Rosie Winterton

  • The draft Mental Health Bill proposes to introduce a new legal
    framework for the compulsory treatment and detention of people
    suffering from mental disorders.
  • Pledges fundamental reform of children’s mental health
  • Seriously ill children are to have 24-hour access to
    psychiatric services. Disturbed 16 and 17 year olds will no longer
    be treated as adults or admitted to adult wards.

Conservatives: Andrew Lansley

  • Propose to remove the coercion measures to detain patients
    suffering from mental illness that are included in the draft Mental
    Health Bill.
  • Would create a national mental health framework as part of
    updating mental health legislation.

Liberal Democrats: Paul Burstow

  • Would focus on addressing the social and environmental factors
    that contribute to the onset of mental ill-health.
  • Would engage in positive mental health promotion, particularly
    in schools.
  • Believe their policy of tackling housing problems would
    contribute to reducing stress and mental illness.
  • Would develop the use of physical exercise in promoting mental
  • Would implement a drugs policy with an emphasis on education,
    treatment for addiction and harm reduction strategies, rather than
    criminalising people already suffering from addiction.



Labour: David Blunkett

  • Plans to continue to reduce unfounded applications and aims to
    double the number of deportations of those asylum seekers whose
    cases have been turned down.
  • Will continue to tackle illegal immigration, while welcoming
    migrants where it helps the UK economy.
  • Has committed to giving quicker decisions.
  • Under a new law, will prosecute asylum seekers who have
    destroyed their travel documents on arrival in the UK.
  • Is joining the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
    resettlement programme to allow already certified refugees to
    travel to the UK.

Conservatives: David Davis

  • In its first months in government, a Conservative
    administration would pull out of the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees
    and would no longer abide by the European Convention on Human
    Rights that prohibits the deportation of asylum seekers to
    countries that are guilty of torture.
  • Would introduce a cap on migrant numbers, accompanied by a
    points system that approves entry for people depending on their
  • Would reintroduce embarkation controls and would punish firms
    that employ people illegally.

Liberal Democrats: Mark Oaten

  • Would affirm that “no government should treat asylum as part of
    its immigration policy” and states there will be no upper limits on
    numbers accepted.
  • Detaining asylum seekers should be used as a last resort and
    children should not be detained.
  • Back efforts to integrate asylum seekers into their communities
    before an application is approved.
  • Lib Dems promote the idea that asylum seekers should be allowed
    to work, ending their dependence on benefits.



Labour: Maria Eagle

  • Disability Discrimination Bill published in 2003 extends rights
    enshrined in the existing Disability Discrimination Act to 73,000
    people with cancer, HIV and multiple sclerosis. It also extends
    rights on housing, transport and public services.
  • Will place a duty on the public sector to promote disability
  • Will extend the act’s existing duties on landlords to require
    reasonable adjustments to policies, practices and procedures so
    that a disabled person could choose to rent a property.

Conservatives:Andrew Lansley

  • In August, the Conservative Party launched a nationwide
    consultation aimed at bringing equal opportunities to disabled
    people. This will see the Disability Discrimination Act being
    scrutinised with a view to updating its provisions. The
    consultation will examine how best to support disabled children at
    school, will address health care issues, transport, disability at
    work, improve access to goods and services, benefits, housing,
    social services and family care, and the role of the Equality

 Liberal Democrats: Paul Holmes

  • Initial priorities would be to reverse recent incapacity
    benefit changes, restore the severe disablement allowance and
    extend the scope of the Disability Discrimination Act. lFree
    personal care for those in need.
  • Parents of children with learning difficulties to have a
    greater say in the type of school their child should attend.
    Financial support for disabled students to go into further and
    higher education.
  • Would raise the therapeutic earnings limit and the ceiling on
    voluntary work.


Youth Justice

Labour: David Blunkett

  • Promises earlier intervention when young people first offend,
    including child safety orders for children under 10 and antisocial
    behaviour orders to deal with non-criminal disruption.
  • Youth offending teams have been established to co-ordinate the
    expertise of police, social services, probation service, education
    and health in order to implement youth justice measures.
  • Fast-tracking schemes introduced to speed justice for
    persistent young offenders.

Conservatives:David Davis

  • Would increase the number of drug rehabilitation places from
    2,000 to 20,000.
  • Would give head teachers the final say on the expulsion of
    disruptive pupils.
  • Would put 40,000 police officers back on the beat.

 Liberal Democrats:Mark Oaten

  • Believe that education is central to combat bullying and
    truancy. They would address social problems through early years
    education, school-based crime reduction initiatives and
    good-parenting training.
  • Would revisit the structure and remit of the Youth Justice
    Board, aiming for better accountability through more democratically
    appointed members.
  • Would place emphasis on non-custodial programmes.
  • Would end the imprisonment of children in adult prisons. 


Plaid Cymru

  • Children: Proposes to establish a Department
    of Education and Children’s and Young People’s Services to
    strengthen co-ordination between agencies.
  • Disability: Promote equal access to health
    care, community and leisure services, counter discrimination in
    employment and promote direct payments to service users.
  • Youth justice: Provide funding for drug
    rehabilitation programmes.
  • Asylum: Calls for a review of current
    legislation on asylum and existing provision for asylum seekers.
    Believes that asylum seekers should not be detained unless they
    have committed a criminal offence.


Scottish National Party

  • Children: Will pilot child care projects as a
    first step to a national system of supported child care. Plans to
    expand breakfast clubs and after-school homework clubs.
  • Mental health: Prevention is identified as a
    key priority, together with support for age-appropriate services
    and the removal of stigma associated with mental illness.
  • Disability: Will guarantee equal access to
    employment, public services and transport.
  • Youth justice: Early intervention programmes
    to divert young people away from crime as well as tougher sanctions
    for young offenders. Will double the number of secure units in
    Scotland. Wants to introduce parental compensation orders so that
    parents can be made to take responsibility for their children’s
  • Asylum: Will push for responsibility for
    refuge and asylum to be transferred to the Scottish parliament.
    Successful applicants to be allowed to work.

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