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Word Count: 568
The Liberal Democratic stance on Welfare Reform is one of extensive change The party has always been associated with efforts to impede long-standing worn out policies that in the Lib-Dems perception sustain old guard ideas that are not progressive enough The Liberal Democrats President is Charles Kennedy Kennedy has a history of extensive involvement in issues relating to the welfare state He has worked as spokesman for the SDP-Liberal Alliance now the Liberal Democrats and also served in the mid eighties in the All-Party Select Committee on Health and Social Services 1 In Britain the word welfare encompasses a whole range of social services performed by the government However specifically for this election the focus is on three prominent themes pensions families with children and the unemployed All three major parties have plans developed for widespread pension reform Previously scheduled elderly persons increases are coming in April of 2002 but the Liberal Democrats are in favor of adding to these benefits2 The Lib-Dems would like to raise the basic state pension by 5 pounds They are also committed to giving an extra 10 pounds to people over 75 and 15 pounds to those over 803 In addition they would do away with the savings rule that holds back pensions to those who have more than 12000 pounds in savings Along with the conservatives the liberal democrats are in favor of reducing the amount of people affected by New Labours system of means testing3 They are in accord with distributing greater say to members of private pension funds as to how they are invested Also Lib-Dems plan to extend the basic state pension while there is talk in Labours camp of doing away with it all together When it comes to Britains Elderly there is a great push to get a few basic plans off the ground that include state funded long-term personal care for elderly and infirmed extended winter fuel allowance and a flexible
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