Our manifesto outlines “22 ways to build resilience and aspiration in people and communities” across five key areas. Download your copy.

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Catch22 responds to the release of the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto

A badge is overlaid on the Catch22 green gradient background with the text "Catch22 Election Watch" and a cross inside a box.

The Liberal Democrats launched their manifesto yesterday, and at Catch22 we are excited to see so many policies which reflect the changes we asked for in our manifesto.

Children’s rights and safety online

  • Catch22: 
    • Commit to tackling online harms, enact Online Safety Bill, ensuring children’s safety online;
    • Introduce measures that prevent vaping products being marketed to young people, such as plain packaging and banning sports sponsorship.
  • Liberal Democrats:
    • Set up an independent advocacy body for children’s safety online;
    • Introduce regulations to halt the dangerous use of vapes by children while recognising their role in smoking cessation for adults, and banning the sale of single-use vapes.

Youth services and violence

  • Catch22:
    • Implement a national strategy to tackle Child Criminal Exploitation, including County Lines;
    • Invest in youth workers;
    • Mandate training for professionals on youth violence;
    • Invest further in the presence of youth workers in communities, to ensure the impact of the National Youth Guarantee is sustained beyond 2025;
    • Ensure School Exclusion Panels consult with local experts on child exploitation, ‘gangs’ and ‘serious youth violence’ before making an exclusion decision.
  • Liberal Democrats:
    • Adopt a public health approach to youth violence;
    • Invest in engaging youth services, and make youth diversion a statutory duty;
    • Address the under-funding and neglect of children’s mental health services, youth services and youth justice services.

Criminal justice and rehabilitation

  • Catch22:
    • Focus on rehabilitation;
    • Prioritise victims’ rights;
    • Widen access to restorative justice services by placing it as a right in the Victim’s Code;
    • Drive better outcomes for victims of fraud through an increase in police investigations and reduction in revictimisation.
  • Liberal Democrats:
    • Implement a strategy to halve the time from offence to sentencing;
    • Improve the supervision of offenders, and ensure coordinated efforts between various sectors;
    • Improve access to restorative justice services;
    • Combat the rise of fraud and scams by naming and shaming the banks with the worst records on preventing fraud and reimbursing victims,
    • Require banks to reimburse victims of automated push payment scams, unless there is clear evidence that they are at fault,
    • Launch a high-profile public awareness campaign to help people spot, avoid and report frauds and scams.

Jobs, apprenticeships, digital skills, and inclusion

  • Catch22:
    • Publish a digital inclusion strategy and invest in ‘digital skills for work’ programmes;
    • Increase the apprenticeship minimum wage;
    • Increase flexibility in the apprenticeship levy so that it can be spent on pre-apprenticeship training;
    • Consult on an ‘AI for good’ strategy to help build a diverse workforce, eliminate bias in hiring processes and open up job opportunities to all.
  • Liberal Democrats:
    • Enhance educational services and youth opportunities which would cover digital skills improvement;
    • Lifelong Skills Grants for adults to fund ongoing education and training;
    • Replace the apprenticeship levy with a more flexible skills and training levy;
    • Ensure apprentices are paid at least the National Minimum Wage;
    • Create a clear, workable and well-resourced cross-sectoral regulatory framework for artificial intelligence.

Care experienced young people

  • Catch22: 
    • Ensure all care experienced people are made eligible for the over 25 Universal Credit rate from the age of 18;
    • Introduce Corporate Parenting Responsibilities so that organisations and government service providers are expected to treat care experienced people up to the age of 25 as their own children;
    • Make ‘care experience’ a protected characteristic under the Equalities Act 2010.
  • Liberal Democrats:
    • Make care experience a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 to strengthen the rights of people who are in or have been in care.

These policies are in line with what Catch22 has been calling for in our manifesto, and we believe they will enhance the lives of our service users, promoting safer communities and better futures for young people, families, victims of crime, and prison leavers. We also loved the fact that the Liberal Democrats have put care in the heart of their campaign and we agree that carers have been in the shadows of policy debates for far too long. It is extremely encouraging to see the desire to recognise care experience as a protected characteristic, but we would have also liked to see all care-experienced young people be made eligible for the over 25 Universal Credit rate from the age of 18 and the introduction of Corporate Parenting Responsibilities.

Another missing thing was making sure school exclusions do not push young people into crime.  Finally, we believe the employment crisis in the UK can only be achieved by reforming JobCentres Plus and making sure they become places of hope and ambition that help bridge the gap between meaningful employment and our current workforce. A missed opportunity but made better by the clear focus on skills and employability that runs through the whole manifesto.