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Exclusive: Tim Farron makes his case to 'Voice' readers

CHANGE: Tim Farron wants a Britain ‘where everyone shares in success’

THE LEADERS of Britain's three main political parties have made a direct appeal to black voters outlining the case why they are the best candidate to lead the country.

Writing exclusively for The Voice, Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May, Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn and Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron have outlined how they plan to tackle some of the key issues facing black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.

Among these are high black youth unemployment, the disproportionate use if of stop and search by police offers and discrimination in the workplace.

Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrat Party writes to readers:

Whilst we can be proud of the progress our country has made in tackling racial discrimination it is clear that there is still a very long way to go.

Current imbalances in our society have resulted in significant barriers for those from BAME communities and we must focus our efforts on addressing these inequalities.

It’s no secret that I am a pro-European; I campaigned hard to Remain because I believe that our future is brighter in the EU. However, Theresa May’s pursuit of an extreme Brexit puts our future at risk.


IN CONVERSATION: Tim Farron speaks with voters on the campaign trail

Her Brexit agenda, endorsed by Jeremy Corbyn, includes taking us out of the single market, threatening the jobs and financial security of millions.

The Liberal Democrats however, will not stand by and allow minority communities to pay the price for her Brexit. Post-Brexit Britain has been increasingly divided and the increase in hate crime has been shocking.

In response to this, we will make all hate crimes an aggravated offence and we will push for tougher sentences for the perpetrators.

Our party will oppose the cold, mean-spirited welfare cuts of the Conservatives; we will uprate working-age benefits to at least in line with inflation, reverse cuts to Employment Support Allowance, increase Local Housing Allowance and scrap the Work Capability Assessment. We will also oppose Conservative proposals to end free school lunches and will instead extend free school meals to all children in primary education and promote school breakfast clubs.

We also want to get more students from disadvantaged backgrounds in to higher education and will reinstate maintenance grants.

The Liberal Democrats will increase the number of apprentices from BAME backgrounds by working with the Apprenticeship Advisory Group to develop diverse talent.


INTERACTION: Tim Farron on a BBC Question Time programme

We want to reduce housing inequalities by providing better access to housing and we commit to building an additional 300,000 homes a year by 2022. We will also introduce a Rent to Own model to allow tenants to use rent payments to buy their own home. Our party will also give renters a greater level of security by pushing for longer tenancies for renters and stronger protections against rogue landlords.

It is a scandal that in 2017, ethnic minorities are more likely to be unemployed, underpaid and living in poverty.

Additionally, those from BAME backgrounds are significantly overrepresented at every stage of the criminal justice system, yet underrepresented in positions of power.

We must put an end to this imbalance by addressing the racial injustice within our criminal justice system and dismantling the barriers to success and prosperity.

We will tackle racial bias in recruitment, by extending the use of name-blind recruitment in employment and we will push for a presumption that every shortlist for public appointments should include at least one BAME candidate.

One of our greatest successes in coalition government was the introduction of gender pay gap reporting; we now want this to be extended to those from a BAME background by requiring companies with 250 employees or more to publish data on their BAME pay gap and employment levels.

I’m pleased to say that our party has almost trebled the number of BAME candidates standing in our strategic seats, but we want to do more to get a greater number of ethnic minorities elected to public office, that’s why want to extend the Equality Act to allow for all BAME parliamentary shortlists.

The Liberal Democrat vision of Britain is one where all people are equal, where everyone shares in the success and no one is left behind.

This election is the biggest fight for the future of our country. A vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote for equality, diversity and inclusion.

Vote for the Liberal Democrats and change Britain’s future for the better.

To read our Theresa May exclusive, click here.

To read our Jeremy Corbyn exclusive, click here.

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