Lib Dem tax plan to fund free childcare

Liberal Democrats will scrap the married tax allowance to fund free childcare for every two-year-old in England if they are in government after the general election.

The plan is a central plank of a “pre-manifesto” of around 300 policies being unveiled by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg under the slogan “Stronger Economy, Fairer Society”, and is likely to be a sticking point for the party in any coalition negotiations if the election result is inconclusive.

The document will form the basis of the Lib Dem manifesto for the May 2015 poll, subject to approval by the party’s annual conference in Glasgow next month. Activists will be able to amend the policies and, while votes are not binding, it is unlikely the leadership would press ahead with any roundly rejected.

Lib Dems would guarantee to extend the 15 hours a week of free childcare, available to two-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds, to all two-year-olds.