Duncan spoke at Liberal Democrat Conference in Glasgow about the party’s policies for the General Election and the role Corsham Youth Council played in shaping one of them.
In the Lib Dem Pre-Manifesto, adopted by the party’s members at the conference, includes proposals for a new Young Person’s Discount Card that would give all 16 to 21 year-olds two-thirds off the cost of bus travel.
Duncan, who chairs the party’s Federal Policy Committee and is a member of the group drawing up the party’s manifesto, spoke during the debate on the Pre-Manifesto.
He recalled a meeting with Corsham Youth Council in which they told him they wanted help to afford public transport so they could get to school, college, work and elsewhere without having to rely on their parents.
Conference, for the last two years, we on the Manifesto Working Group have been listening, and the thing we’ve heard time again is people telling us in their different ways that they and their families want the opportunity to make the most of their lives.
In rural Wiltshire most of us find running a car a necessity, and young people on Corsham Youth Council reminded me how totally out of reach it is for them, and they wanted help to be able to use public transport instead of depending on mum and dad’s taxi service.
Whether travelling to learn at school, college or work, or simply broaden their horizons outside their home town, they wanted the opportunity to get where they want to go.
That’s why we’re proposing a Young Person’s Discount Card for all young people aged 16 to 21, giving them two-thirds off the cost of their bus fares.
At our London consultation event, I was struck by what members most wanted to talk about: the cost of housing. People from all backgrounds, even in graduate jobs, anxious to be able to secure a home of their own, an opportunity denied to so many.
That’s why we’re committed to more than doubling the number of new homes built each year, to 300,000.
This year, as a new dad, lots of fathers have begun to talk to me about the joys and challenges of raising a family. Many of whom, until then, it had been a well-hidden aspect of their lives. They and their partners told me how glad they were for the limited support available to help make time for their families.
In this manifesto, we will give fathers more paternity leave so dads have the chance to be dads. We will expand free childcare, again, from the end of parental leave right through to school, so that all parents can retain their careers, to hold onto their jobs and so that their valuable skills are not lost from the workforce.
Conference, in this Parliament we have helped lift our country from rescue to recovery. In the next, our ambition should be no less than to lead it from recovery to renewal.
A stronger economy, not just for some. A fairer society, at ease with itself. Unlocking opportunity for everyone.