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Lib Dems propose no national insurance for apprentices

The Liberal Democrats have today pledged to continue a policy of National Insurance exemption for apprentices for the duration of next parliament.

Lib dem leader Nick Clegg meets apprentices on his campaign trail Credit: PA

The policy, which would allow businesses hiring apprentices under the age of 25 to not pay National Insurance Contributions, has already been committed to by the coalition government, and will come into effect in April next year.

Today the party has also announced plans to provide apprenticeship grants for businesses in England, boosting the Welsh budget by around £25 million over the next parliament.

We will make it cheaper for employers to take on an apprentices by abolishing employer National Insurance Contributions for people under the age of 25.

This will boost the Welsh economy while helping people to build careers. This is a pledge for the whole of the next parliament.

As we grow our economy, the Liberal Democrats believe we must enhance adult skills training and our further education colleges. Only then we can become the apprenticeship powerhouse of Europe.

– Jane Dodds, Parliamentary candidate, Montgomeryshire

Welsh Lib Dems: 'fair-minded people will be left disappointed by tonight's debate'

Welsh Lib Dem Jenny Randerson has criticised tonight's leader's debate, claiming 'moderate and fair-minded people will be left disappointed.'

Meanwhile the party say they 'deeply regret' being excluded from tonight's proceedings.

We deeply regret that Nick Clegg was excluded from this debate. The blame lies squarely with David Cameron. Not only was he too scared to face the electorate in this debate, he was too scared to accept the consequences of being the only leader not taking part. That is a pretty contemptible double act of cowardice. We wanted to ensure that at least one all party debate took place so we very reluctantly agreed to the current proposal. But it is outrageous that David Cameron’s cowardice has led to our exclusion.

– Spokesperson, Lib Dems

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Nick Clegg's wife Miriam campaigns in Cardiff

Miriam González Durántez - the wife of Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg - campaigned for the party in Cardiff today.

She says she is visiting selected constituencies to support the party's campaign and encourage more women into politics.

"Very often the discussion has come up as to what we can do to get more women in politics" she said.

"I'm a practical person... I felt that I would take some days off to come and campaign for some of the female candidates" she added.

Lib Dems pledge extra £150 million for Welsh schools

Kirsty Williams is promising an increase in money for disadvantaged schoolchildren Credit: PA

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are launching their Westminster election manifesto this morning with a pledge to provide an extra £150 million for Welsh schools. They say they'd do it by increasing the Pupil Deprivation Grant, which currently pays schools an extra £1,050 for every child who's entitled to free school meals.

The grant was introduced as part of a budget deal between Labour and the Lib Dems in the Assembly and is based on the Pupil Premium that the coalition introduced in England. They say the Welsh Government could find the money because it will get its share of a promised increase in English school budgets, under Lib Dem spending plans.

Our party offers Wales guaranteed funding so that we can improve public services. Both Labour and the Tories will slash Wales’ budget – we won’t allow that to happen.

By securing the Welsh Pupil Premium, we have shown that we are the party of education. We will build on this success thanks to our funding commitment across the border.

– Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams AM

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David Cameron to visit Wales on UK-wide tour

David Cameron will visit Wales later as part of a UK-wide tour. He started off in Scotland this morning and will visit Wales, England and Northern Ireland in the space of 24 hours.

Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha started the tour in Scotland this morning Credit: PA

The deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, is due to be in Montgomeryshire later and Labour's Rachel Reeves is campaigning in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Liberal Democrats promise £400 tax cut for a million Welsh workers

The Liberal Democrats have promised to give more than a million workers in Wales a tax cut of nearly £400, by raising the income tax threshold to £12,500.

As part of their General Election campaign, it's particularly aimed at helping low and middle income earners.

They also added that this tax cut is around ten times more than under Labour's plans.

I think that the Liberal Democrat plans are far more sensible than Labour's plans. Labour's proposals would involve borrowing an extra £70 billion, now just in debt interest alone that's £4 billion more that people would have to pay, that works out at about £130 for every tax payer in the country - that's a huge amount of money that could be spent far better on public services than on just paying back debt interest.

– Jenny Willott, Liberal Democrats

Labour say they'll be cutting taxes for 24 million people, and will rebalance the economy whilst cutting the deficit every year.

I've seen some figures bandied around by the Lib Dems about debt, I mean frankly the Lib Dems have got a huge credibility problem - we don't accept those figures, all our plans our economic plans have been costed - they won't involve any borrowing and we've opened them up to the office of budget responsibility.

– Jo Stevens, Labour
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