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General Election 2010: Liberal Democrats promise pension reforms and a better deal for working parents

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to make pensions fairer and give more rights to working parents should they win the General Election next month.

In the Party's manifesto, published this morning, the Liberal Democrats have outlined plans to introduce shared parental leave for 18 months, offer 20 hours free childcare for children, allow parents to share maternity leave, extend the right to request flexible working to all carers and give fathers the right to time off for antenatal appointments.

The Party has pledged to scrap compulsory retirement at age 65 and link the basic state pension more closely to earnings.

As part of its plan for a fairer Britain, the party has pledged plans to introduce name-blind job application forms to reduce sex and race discrimination, fair pay audits for companies employing more than 100 people, requirements for the public sector to declare all remunerations of more than £200,000 and give disabled more access to jobs.

In a bid to curb excessive remuneration strategies, the Liberal Democrats will tax capital gains at the same rate as income (capital gains tax currently stands at 18% compared to some income tax rates of 50% for high earners), implement plans to tackle tax avoidance, give tax relief on pensions only at a basic rate and ‘ensure the bonus system can never again encourage banks to reward for failure'.

In the public sector the Lib Dems plan to reform the pension system to make sure public- sector pensions are ‘sustainable and affordable' in the long term. The Party has also pledged a £400 pay rise for all public-sector workers initially for two years, ensuring the lowest paid will receive the highest percentage pay rise.

In his introduction to the manifesto, Party leader Nick Clegg said: "Only Liberal Democrats have big ideas for fundamental structural changes in the way our country works to make it fair... only Liberal Democrats will break up the banks and start Britain building things again, creating a stronger economy that no longer threatens out planet's future."