The Liberal Democrats are hoping to win over scores of young voters with some eye-catching pledges in their general election manifesto, including a plan to legalise cannabis.

The document, to be unveiled by Tim Farron on Wednesday 17 May, promises to restore housing benefit for young people, introduce votes at 16 for elections and referendums across the UK and create discounted (66%) bus passes for 16-21-year-olds from 2019.

"Imagine a brighter future. You don't have to accept Theresa May and Nigel Farage's extreme version of Brexit that will wreck the future for you, your family, your schools and hospitals," said Tim Farron.

"In the biggest fight for the future of our country in a generation, Jeremy Corbyn's Labour has let you down by voting with Theresa May on Brexit – not against her."

He added: "We want to give all our children a brighter future in a fairer Britain where people are decent to each other, with good schools and hospitals, a clean environment and an innovative economy. Not Theresa May's cold, mean-spirited Britain."

The manifesto also commits the Liberal Democrats to doubling the number of businesses that take apprenticeships, funded through the Apprenticeship Levy.

There were 509,400 apprenticeship starts in England in 2015-16, a 9,500 increase on the previous year, according to the House of Commons Library. A Liberal Democrat source said the proposals will be fully costed in the manifesto.

The Liberal Democrats are the third most popular party (11%) among young people (18-24), according to a YouGov poll conducted between 11 and 12 May. Labour are on 49% and the Conservatives are on 29% among the demographic.

The Liberal Democrats faced heavy criticism in 2010 when former leader Nick Clegg broke a promise to oppose any increase in tuition fees for English universities. The then deputy prime minister apologised for the move in a 2012 video.

"We made a pledge, we did not stick to it, and for that I am sorry," he said. Labour promised to scrap university tuition fees altogether in their election manifesto.