Compared with Labour’s vast spending spree, the Tory manifesto is a model of fiscal restraint.
Here Associate Editor JACK DOYLE details the policies and analyses their impact.
Tory Manifesto Pledges Analysis
Get Brexit Done and Unleash Britain’s Potential; Leave the EU before the end of January; No extension to the transition beyond 2020.
Analysis: The central Tory campaign message is aimed to unite frustrated Leave voters and Remainers who just want to move on, and contrast Mr Johnson’s decisiveness with Jeremy Corbyn’s fence-sitting. The tough message on not extending transition is aimed at would-be Brexit Party voters.
£34billion a year more for the NHS; 6,000 more GPs; 40 new hospitals by 2030, bursaries to help train 50,000 more nurses; no Trump sell-off, some free hospital parking.
Analysis: In a rapid turnaround, some polls show Mr Johnson ahead of Jeremy Corbyn on the NHS, a sign that increased funding – £650million more a week – is more than neutralising Labour’s core message. An unequivocal pledge not to privatise the health service.
Compared with Labour’s vast spending spree, the Tory manifesto is a model of fiscal restraint
National Insurance cut worth £100 next year; ‘ambition’ to increase to £500 by 2024; no increase in income tax, VAT or NI.
Analysis: Higher earners can be confident their taxes won’t go up, but they aren’t guaranteed a tax cut. Instead Mr Johnson is targeting his limited tax-cutting pledges at lower earners who will get £100 back next year because, he said, they ‘need them most’.
Australian-style points system to control immigration; fewer lower skilled migrants; NHS Visa; no benefits for five years.
Analysis: Mr Johnson promises to ‘take control’ and get numbers down while letting in the ‘brightest and best’, is designed to show moderation and attract the highly skilled and NHS staff while exposing Labour’s lax open door policy.
Another big spending promise designed to crack down on rising crime and restore the party’s reputation on Law and Order is the promise of 20,000 more police officers; tougher stop and search powers; tasers; knife crime crackdown
20,000 more police officers; tougher stop and search powers; tasers; knife crime crackdown.
Analysis: Another big spending promise designed to crack down on rising crime and restore the party’s reputation on Law and Order.
Longer jail terms for violent and sexual offenders; whole life for child killers; 10,000 more prison places; crackdown on traveller camps.
Analysis: Protecting the ‘law-abiding majority’ by keeping criminals in jail for longer sends a clear message about Mr Johnson’s priorities.
One billion extra a year for social care; cross party review; promise no-one has to sell their home to pay for care.
Analysis: No fully costed system yet but a ‘cast iron guarantee’ of a new system in five years and a clear signal of intent – more money and a crucial pledge that pensioners won’t have to sell their homes, to avoid the ‘dementia tax’ nightmare of 2017.
The central Tory campaign message is aimed to unite frustrated Leave voters and Remainers who just want to move on, and contrast Mr Johnson’s decisiveness with Jeremy Corbyn’s fence-sitting
£14billion extra every year; minimum £4,000 for primary and £5,000 secondary per pupil; £30,000 starting salary for teachers; £2billion for FE colleges.
Analysis: Another weak spot in 2017 neutralised with more cash, designed to ‘level up’ funding in ‘left behind’ areas and sustain Mr Johnson’s pledge to spread opportunity.
Mr Johnson shows a return to the ‘vote blue, go green’ pitch to voters – showing the influence of his eco-activist girlfriend Carrie Symonds (pictured)
Net zero carbon emissions by 2050; triple tree-planting to 30million a year; ban fracking; £4billion extra for flood defences; 40GW offshore wind; ban dumping of plastic waste overseas.
Analysis: A return to the ‘vote blue, go green’ pitch to voters – showing the influence of Mr Johnson’s eco-activist girlfriend Carrie Symonds.
Increase to £10.50 per hour by 2024; starts from 21 not 25.
Analysis: A wage boost to millions which also shows low income voters Mr Johnson is on their side, appeals to the young and neutralises a Labour attack.
The Tory manifesto promises a wage boost to millions which also shows low income voters Mr Johnson is on their side, appeals to the young and neutralises a Labour attack
No cut to winter fuel allowance or bus pass, keep the pensions ‘triple lock’ to increase pensions.
Analysis: No repeat of the 2017 threat to winter fuel payments and pensions which alienated core Tory voters.
Debt to be lower at the end of the Parliament; public sector net investment no higher than 3 per cent of GDP.
Analysis: Higher borrowing for capital projects and infrastructure to take advantage of historically low rates, but no Labour-style spending splurge.
Boris Johnson has promised £34billion a year more for the NHS; 6,000 more GPs; 40 new hospitals by 2030, bursaries to help train 50,000 more nurses; no Trump sell-off, some free hospital parking
End ‘witch hunt’ Northern Ireland veterans; no Armed Forces cuts; exceed NATO two per cent spending; Trident.
Analysis: Modest increases to defence spending and a vital lifeline to Northern Ireland veterans in an area where Corbyn is weak.
1million more homes by 2024; £10billion for housing infrastructure; protect the Green Belt; end to leasehold scandal.
Analysis: Increase the number of new homes to appeal to young voters while not building on protected areas.
It promises 1million more homes by 2024; £10billion for housing infrastructure; protect the Green Belt; end to leasehold scandal
No changes to Hunting Act; end live export of animals; tougher sentences for animal cruelty.
Analysis: Fox hunting dealt Theresa May a damaging blow so there will be no repeat and instead a series of animal friendly policies.
Rail and Road
£500million to reverse Beeching cuts, Northern Powerhouse Rail; minimum service during strikes; HS2 review; £28.8 billion for roads; £2billion pothole fund.
Analysis: A huge capital investment programme designed to improve productivity and reconnect areas which feel cut off, and a trade union law to ensure services don’t collapse.
Full fibre and gigabit broadband across the UK by 2025; £5billion to reach far flung places.
Analysis: A key Johnson pledge from the leadership campaign to help businesses in rural areas who complain of slow speeds.
Cut rates for smaller pubs, shops and cinemas to help the high street; double R&D spending.
Analysis: A one-off business rate relief and promise of a longer term review to help the struggling high street and billions more for research and development spending.
Boris Johnson delivers practical plan for thousands more nurses, tax cuts and a Brexit boost — as desperate Jeremy Corbyn blows ANOTHER £58billion on ruinous pledge
40p tax rate won’t be tweaked after all
The middle classes will have to wait for tax cuts, Boris Johnson said yesterday as he focused his fiscal firepower on the lowest-paid workers.
The Prime Minister insisted at his manifesto launch in Telford that he had not lost any of his ‘tax-cutting zeal’. However, the Conservatives were forced to admit his pledge of massive cuts to National Insurance were merely an ‘ambition’.
Last week Mr Johnson announced his party would raise the NI threshold to £12,500, saving workers hundreds of pounds a year. He said the increase – from the current threshold of £8,632 – would amount to £500 a year for workers.
But while the manifesto includes a pledge to raise the threshold to £9,500 next year, it described the £12,500 promise as ‘our ultimate ambition’.
Mr Johnson had also promised to cut taxes for higher earners during his leadership campaign, by raising the 40p income tax threshold to £80,000. His campaign team also considered scrapping stamp duty for homes worth less than £500,000.
Neither of the pledges were in the Tory manifesto yesterday.
It does, however, commit to scrapping VAT on tampons, something only possible out of the European Union, and a ‘triple tax lock’ – a pledge not to raise the rate of VAT, income tax or National Insurance.
The manifesto states: ‘This is a tax guarantee that will protect the incomes of hard-working families across the next Parliament,’ adding: ‘We will use our freedom from the EU to improve the UK’s tax regime – not least by abolishing the tampon tax.’
Asked about the shortage of tax cuts for the middle classes yesterday, Mr Johnson said: ‘I’ve not lost any of my tax-cutting zeal… at this juncture as a result of the economic disaster left by the last Labour government, it was right to focus our tax cuts on the people who need them most.’
By Jason Groves Political Editor
Boris Johnson vowed yesterday to fast-track Brexit and defeat Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘retro- grade socialism’.
Unveiling the Conservative Party manifesto in Telford, he pledged to put his EU withdrawal agreement to Parliament before Christmas and ruled out any extension of the transition period.
Mr Johnson also promised to keep spending in check while delivering tax cuts for working families and investing £100billion in infrastructure.
Overall day-to-day expenditure would rise by less than £3billion a year over the next four years. Labour is promising an £83billion splurge.
The biggest policy announcement was a plan to boost the nursing workforce by 50,000. Bursaries, which were scrapped in 2017, will be brought back to spur recruitment.
Mr Johnson said: ‘The choice has never been starker – between out and out retrograde socialism and sensible One Nation Conservatism.’ The Prime Minister mocked Mr Corbyn’s decision to take a ‘neutral’ stance in a second referendum, saying: He used to be indecisive, now, he’s not so sure.’
The Labour leader accused the Conservatives of helping the rich, saying: ‘After a decade of the Conservatives cutting our NHS, police and schools, all Boris Johnson is offering is more of the same.’
Senior Tories acknowledged that they had taken a ‘safety first’ approach with the manifesto, following the disastrous unravelling of Theresa May’s 2017 prospectus, which is widely thought to have cost her a Commons majority.
Pledges to bring back grammar schools and allow a Commons vote on repealing the foxhunting ban were dropped.
And the social care crisis was fudged, with only a commitment to inject an extra £1billion a year and hold cross-party talks in the future.
Ministers scarred by the row over Mrs May’s ‘Dementia Tax’ said the PM was right to keep the manifesto vague. One said: ‘If it’s not being talked about by tomorrow evening, that’s a good thing.’
The Tory launch came as a string of polls suggested Labour’s manifesto had fallen flat with voters, leaving the Tories with a double-digit lead. One survey put them on course for a majority of 48.
Boris Johnson vowed yesterday to fast-track Brexit and defeat Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘retro- grade socialism’
Be a bulldog, Boris! Note for PM from stranger on a train
Boris Johnson was urged to ‘channel your inner bulldog’ by a fellow train passenger yesterday.
The Prime Minister was handed a letter, pictured above, on a service from London to Birmingham.
Its author, Nicola, wrote: ‘My husband and I wish you every success in the coming election. I cannot say I am a great supporter of Brexit but I am a committed supporter of Great Britain. We need clarity in our direction. We need strength in our leadership. We need God on our side to make a miracle majority. Channel your inner bulldog to be the leader we want and need.’
Sharing a picture of the note on Twitter – with the woman’s surname redacted – Mr Johnson wrote: ‘Thank you Nicola for the note you passed me on the train today.’
Boris Johnson was urged to ‘channel your inner bulldog’ by a fellow train passenger yesterday
The manifesto confirmed a string of pledges, a handful new, including:
n A commitment to raise the starting rate for paying national insurance to £9,500, giving most workers a tax cut worth almost £100;
n £2billion to fill in potholes and £3billion to improve flood defences;
n A ‘triple lock’ on tax that rules out any increases in the headline rates of income tax, VAT and national insurance;
n A vow to end hospital car park charges, although some will still have to pay up;
n An Australian-style points-based immigration system for after Brexit. Many of the biggest commitments, such as billions of pounds for schools and hospitals are already in spending plans and are not included in a financial ‘scoresheet’ accompanying the manifesto.
Mr Johnson had pledged to raise the threshold for paying 40p tax from £50,000 to £80,000 and hinted at scrapping stamp duty on homes worth less than £500,000.
But neither policy made the cut in yesterday’s manifesto. And the PM said better-off voters would have to wait for more substantial tax cuts. ‘I have not lost any of my tax-cutting zeal,’ he said. ‘The cut in national insurance helps every taxpayer in the country. But at this juncture, as a result of the economic disaster left behind by the last Labour government, it is right to focus our tax cuts on the people who need them most.’
The relatively modest nature of the new pledges means that for every £28 Labour has committed to new day-to-day spending, the Tories will spend just £1.
£300m from a plastic levy
The Tory manifesto’s green measures include a new tax to make manufacturers use more recyclable plastic in packaging. The levy could raise more than £300million a year from its introduction in 2022.
The Conservatives also want to bring in a deposit return scheme – as campaigned for by the Mail – to increase levels of plastic and glass recycling. An independent watchdog would be established to bring in a legal target on air quality, alongside plans for more tree-planting and new national parks.
Animal welfare measures include tougher sentences for animal cruelty and a crackdown on dog smuggling. The Tories would also ban the keeping of primates as pets and introduce cat microchipping.
Mr Johnson had pledged to raise the threshold for paying 40p tax from £50,000 to £80,000 and hinted at scrapping stamp duty on homes worth less than £500,000
Conservative plans for an additional £100billion in capital spending are dwarfed by Labour’s £400billion proposals, which do not cover the cost of nationalising parts of the economy, such as rail, energy, water and broadband.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell also announced a further £58billion to fund pensions for older women.
Paul Johnson, director of the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies, said: ‘If the Labour and Liberal Democrat manifestos were notable for the scale of their ambitions the Conservative one is not.
‘If a single budget had contained all these tax and spending proposals we would have been calling it modest.
‘The lack of significant policy action is remarkable.’
The Labour leader accused the Conservatives of helping the rich, saying: ‘After a decade of the Conservatives cutting our NHS, police and schools, all Boris Johnson is offering is more of the same’
Manifesto at a glance
- 50,000 nurses by 2023/24, and the reintroduction of bursaries for student nurses
- Free hospital parking for millions of patients and their families
- Get Brexit done by the end of January – and no extension to the transition period
- National Insurance threshold up to £9,500 next year – with an ‘ambition’ to increase it to £12,500
- Pledge not to raise the rate of income tax, VAT or National Insurance
- 20,000 more police
- Tougher sentencing including ‘life means life’ for child killers
- Keeping the triple lock on the state pension, ensuring it rises by at least 2.5 per cent a year
- Extra cash for social care and a commitment for cross-party talks to find a long-term solution
- Make Britain carbon neutral by 2050
- A new plastics tax to encourage manufacturers to use recycled plastic
- Bring in an Australian-style points-based system for immigration
- Increase in school spending
- Foreign buyers will have to pay an additional 3 per cent in stamp duty
- An extra £500million a year for four years to fund filling potholes
Press law to be scrapped
A law that local newspapers warned could put them out of business will be scrapped if the Tories win the election.
The legislation, which is on the statute book but has not come into force, makes publishers pay the costs of both sides in privacy and libel cases even if they win.
Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act would have affected any newspapers that refused to sign up to a state-backed regulator.
The Conservatives have promised to ditch the legislation and to not go ahead with the second stage of the Leveson Inquiry, which would have examined ties between newspapers and the police.
Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan said: ‘Section 40 undermines the essential role of local newspapers in speaking truth to power.’
Boris Johnson vows to restore bursaries – and prevent thousands of nurses from quitting
By Daniel Martin Policy Editor
The Conservatives have unveiled a blueprint to boost nursing numbers by 50,000.
Their general election manifesto, published yesterday, commits them to achieving the target within five years.
It says 12,000 will come from abroad, 14,000 from British undergraduates and 5,000 through degree apprenticeships.
The Conservatives have unveiled a blueprint to boost nursing numbers by 50,000. Pictured: Boris Johnson launches the 2019 Conservative party election manifesto today
The remaining 19,000 would come from persuading nurses to return to the NHS after leaving – or not to quit in the first place.
A bursary for student nurses, which was scrapped under David Cameron and worth £5,000 to £8,000 a year, would be brought back. The removal of the maintenance grant led to a significant fall in the numbers signing up for nursing courses.
Labour is promising to recruit 24,000 extra nurses, as well as reinstate the bursary.
Almost 300,000 nurses are employed in England and health experts believe at least 40,000 more are needed to meet staffing shortages in hospitals.
The Tory manifesto also promises to appoint 6,000 extra GPs and the same number of primary care staff such as physiotherapists and pharmacists.
It included other previously-announced policies such as a pledge to cut NHS waiting times for operations and for A&E – both of which are currently at the worst ever level – and improve cancer survival rates.
Their general election manifesto, published yesterday, commits them to achieving the target within five years. It says 12,000 will come from abroad, 14,000 from British undergraduates and 5,000 through degree apprenticeships. Mr Johnson visits Bassetlaw District General Hospital on November 22
The party promised fifty million extra GP appointments a year – a rise of 15 per cent on current levels – and £34billion more in annual real-terms NHS funding.
The Tories reiterated their commitment to 40 new hospitals and to sort out the NHS pensions crisis, which has led to rising waiting lists as senior doctors cut their hours in the face of hefty tax bills.
The manifesto says: ‘The NHS represents the best of this country. It is there for us when our children are born, when our friends and families fall sick, when our loved ones succumb to old age and ill health. It is precious to all of us – especially because it is free at the point of use and there for you on the basis of need, not your ability to pay.’
The manifesto hits out at Labour’s oft-repeated claim that the Health Service could be up for sale in trade talks.
It says: ‘When we are negotiating trade deals, the NHS will not be on the table.’
Almost 300,000 nurses are employed in England and health experts believe at least 40,000 more are needed to meet staffing shortages in hospitals. Pictured: Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets staff and nurses during a visit to King’s Mill Hospital in Sutton-in-Ashfield on November 8
The Tory hospital-building pledge has come in for criticism. While £2.7billion has been allocated to six trusts for building projects for completion by 2025, the other 34 schemes – for delivery by 2030 – have so far been promised only £100million.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said this ‘seed funding’ will allow trusts to carry out design and planning work in preparation for the moment funds become available to start construction.
Yesterday he said the boost to nursing numbers would come through ‘a combination of training and extra university places, also nurse apprenticeships which allow people to train as they work, and there will be some recruitment from overseas with our new NHS visa’.
On bursaries, he declined to say that they should never have been scrapped but admitted there was a need for ‘incentives’. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the Tory spending plans mean NHS England’s day-to-day budget would rise to £140.3billion by 2023/24 – £23.5billion higher in real terms than the 2018/19 total. It said: ‘Spending in 2023/24 would be 2.3 per cent higher under Labour’s plans than under those set out by the Government.’
Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s health spokesman, said: ‘The Conservatives’ claim on nurses is frankly deceitful – the sums simply don’t add up. First we had Johnson’s fake 40 new hospitals, now we have his fake 50,000 extra nurses.
‘Matt Hancock and Tory ministers forced through the abolition of the bursary partly causing the nursing crisis afflicting our NHS today. ’
Donna Kinnair of the Royal College of Nursing said: ‘The emphasis must be firmly on growing the domestic workforce as, while we welcome nursing colleagues from around the world, an over-reliance on international recruitment is neither sustainable nor ethical in the long term.’
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