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The General Election of 2015 looks like being the tightest race in a generation and a coalition of some form is the most likely outcome after 7 May 2015. The growth in support of smaller parties, from nationalists to those with single-policy agenda, could spell an end to single party government for the foreseeable future and so the compatibility of policies and pledges will be a key element in creating the right atmosphere for successful government. To better understand what the parties offer and how they might work together in future, here's a guide to future policy impacting on family law.
The Conservatives plan to ensure that all people who work 30 hours per week on the minimum wage will not pay income tax, as well as doubling the free childcare allowance for three and four-year-olds to 30 hours. Their manifesto also includes:
Labour plans to raise the minimum wage to more than £8 by October 2019, and protect tax credits for working families so they rise with inflation. Labour also plans to:
The Liberal Democrats aim to extend free childcare to all two-year-olds and parents near end of parental leave, providing 15 hours a week of free childcare to the parents of all two-year olds and aiming to increase this to 20 hours. The party says it also wants to introduce 15 hours free childcare, for all working parents with children aged between nine months and two years. It also intends to:
The Green Party has stated that it intends to reverse the legal aid cuts, and keep the Human Rights Act 1998 to 'retain the principle that human rights are the common property of the whole world'.
UKIP has said it will reinstate the primary purpose rule for bringing foreign spouses and children to the UK. In addition, UKIP has pledged to ensure there is an initial presumption of 50/50 shared parenting in child custody matters and that grandparents will be given visitation rights
See here for the Scottish National Party General Election manifesto and here for the Plaid Cymru manifesto.
This News Analysis was first published in LexisPSL Family. Click here for a free one week trial.
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Geraldine is Head of LexisPSL Family. She was admitted as a solicitor in 1992 and was in practice for 15 years, most recently as a partner and head of the family team at Hart Brown, a large Surrey firm.
Geraldine writes for Butterworths Family Law Service and is a past editor of the Resolution Review. She has been published in the New Law Journal, the Law Society Gazette and the District Judges’ Bulletin as well as in the national press including the Times and the Telegraph.
When in practice she was a member of the Law Society Family and Children Panels, and an accredited Resolution Specialist with a focus on advanced financial provision and pensions. A past Resolution regional secretary and press officer, Geraldine also contributed chapters to the Resolution publications, International Aspects of Family Law (3rd Edition 2009) and The Modern Family (2012).
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