Prime Minister Theresa May has promised a “mainstream government that would deliver for mainstream Britain”.
Whilst launching the Conservative manifesto, May said her main priorities were a strong economy and delivering Brexit.
The manifesto has dropped the 2015 pledge not to raise income tax or National Insurance. It also focuses on big changes to social care funding in England.
Speaking at the manifesto launch in Halifax, May said: “We must take this opportunity to build a great meritocracy in Britain. It means making Britain a country that works, not for the privileged few, but for everyone.”
Manifesto measures include:
- Balancing the budget by 2025
- No increase in VAT – but scrapping a 2015 election pledge not to raise income tax or National Insurance
- Increasing the national living wage to 60 per cent of the median earnings by 2020
- Restating the commitment to bring net immigration down to tens of thousands a year
- Increasing NHS spending by a minimum of £8bn in real terms over the next five years
- A pledge that a referendum on Scottish independence cannot take place until the Brexit process is completed
- Scrapping winter fuel payments to better-off pensioners – at the moment, all pensioners qualify for one-off payments of between £100 and £300 each winter
- A reduction of the so-called “triple lock” on pensions to a “double lock” with the state pension to rise by the higher of average earnings or inflation – but to no longer go up by 2.5 per cent if they are both lower than that
- An extra £4bn on schools in England by 2022 – partly funded by an end to the current provision of free school lunches for all infant pupils in England
- Scrapping the ban on setting up new grammar schools
- Measures on immigration, including asking firms to pay more to hire migrant workers, who will in turn be asked to pay more to use the NHS
- A free vote in the Commons to be held on repealing the ban on fox hunting
- Universities charging maximum tuition fees will have to sponsor academies or help found free schools
Commenting on the Conservative Party Manifesto, Dr Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “A number of the headline commitments in the Conservative Party’s manifesto will be welcomed by business communities around the UK. If delivered, pledges to overhaul the broken business rates system, to deliver better digital and mobile connectivity, and to focus more systematically on unlocking the growth potential of cities, towns and counties around the UK would respond to some of the key concerns of the business communities we represent.
“However, the positive reception to some elements of the manifesto will be tempered by proposals that would increase up-front costs, regulatory obligations and uncertainty for businesses. The Conservatives’ proposed approach to immigration, at a time when many firms are already doing everything they can to train up and employ UK workers, will worry companies of every size, sector, region and nation. Some of the Conservativeproposals for additional market intervention and new employment regulation will be questioned, even by firms that are not directly affected themselves, because of the signals they send.