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Conservative manifesto: Boris Johnson’s key pledges at a glance, from the NHS to Brexit

25 Nov 2019

Conservative manifesto: Boris Johnson’s key pledges at a glance, from the NHS to Brexit

Boris Johnson has launched the Tory manifesto with a warning that "the stakes have seldom been higher and the choice has never been starker" for voters as he urged the country to go "Corbyn neutral" by Christmas.

Speaking in Telford, the prime minister sought to characterise the election as a clash between Labour's "retrograde destructive socialism" and "sensible one nation Conservatism".

The 59-page blueprint, entitled "Get Brexit Done - Unleash Britain's Potential", builds on Mr Johnson promises on spending for schools, police and the NHS but breaks from commitments to cut taxes for the highest earners. 

Brexit

The manifesto says the UK has been "trapped like a lion in a cage" due to the failure to deliver Brexit. The document is dominated by his key message to "Get Brexit Done", which also graces the front cover.

A Tory government will put the prime minister's Brexit deal to parliament "before Christmas" and promises to leave the EU by 31 January.

If elected, the Conservatives pledge to negotiate a trade deal next year, and to ensure the transition period will not be extended beyond December 2020.

Transport

Contactless pay-as-you-go ticketing will be extended to nearly 200 more train stations in south-east England under a Tory government.

The manifesto also re-stated a series of other rail pledges including building Northern Powerhouse Rail between Leeds and Manchester.

Housing

The Tories will bring forward a new social housing white paper which will "set out further measures to empower tenants and support the continued supply of social homes".

The manifesto said they will commit to renewing the Affordable Homes Programme, in order to support the delivery of hundreds of thousands of affordable homes.

Climate and the environment

The party's has stuck to its pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 - despite demands from climate activists for a more ambitious net-zero target.

As part of these efforts, the Tories would spend £9.2 billion to improve the energy efficiency of homes, schools and hospitals - with a further  £6.3 billion to install energy saving measures to cut bills in 2.2 million homes, with a focus on social housing and people in fuel poverty.

Attempts to bring back fox-hunting have been ditched as the manifesto promises no changes will be made to the Hunting Act.

The economy

The manifesto reaffirms Sajid Javid's decision to boost public sector investment up to 3 per cent of GDP but pledges a rethink if debt interest rises to 6 per cent of revenue.

The Tories would keep a "triple lock" on taxes, with no increases in income tax, national insurance and VAT for five years.

"Our ultimate ambition is to ensure that the first £12,500 you earn is completely free of tax - which would put almost £500 per year in people's pockets," the manifesto said.

Absent from the document is Mr Johnson's leadership pledge to cut income tax for higher earners, by raising the 40p threshold from £40,000 to £80,000.

Education and skills

The section on schools nods to £14 billion announced by the prime minister in his first months in office, and pledges to expand programmes to deal with bullying and disruption.

The party is also pledging to invest in arts, music and sport, including offering an "arts premium" to secondary schools. Teachers starting salaries will be boosted to £30,000 a year, as announced in the autumn.

Under a Tory government, business could access a new £600 million a year National Skills Fund as the first step towards a "Right to Retrain".

NHS and social care

The Conservatives have pledged an additional 50,000 NHS nurses in a bid to plug the gap of around 43,000 staff. To boost numbers, the party would also bring back the nursing bursary - which the Tories had scrapped - worth £5,000 to £8,000 per year.

The manifesto also says there will be 6,000 more doctors in GP surgeries and 6,000 more primary care staff such as physiotherapists and pharmacists.​

Hospital parking would become free for people with disabilities, frequent outpatients, parents of sick children staying overnight and NHS staff working night shifts. Parking is already free in Scotland and Wales.​

On social care, the party would put in £1bn a year but kick any long term decisions into the next parliament in a bid to find "cross-party consensus". However the Tories make a commitment that people will not have to sell their homes to pay for care.

Crime

Most of the crime-related proposals are well-known, with moves under way to recruit 20,000 police officers over the next three years to replace those lost due to budget cuts since 2010.

The Conservatives would consult on toughening laws for attacks on emergency service workers and boost the number of tasers and body cameras available for police.

Mr Johnson's party commits to passing the domestic abuse legislation introduced under Theresa May - which was thrown into doubt by the prorogation of parliament and then the announcement of the election. 

Welfare

The Tories will continue to roll out the divisive universal credit reforms - which rolls six working age benefits into a single payment - but vow to ensure it "works for the most vulnerable".

The manifesto also pledges to end the benefit freeze and bring in tough punishments for those who cheat the system.

For parents, £1bn would be spent on extra childcare places for before and after school, and during the holidays.

Immigration

Mr Johnson's enthusiasm for an Australian-style points-based immigration system forms a key part of the manifesto - as well as ending freedom of movement.

The manifesto pledges to bring in an NHS Visa for qualified doctors and nurses to plug gaps in the health service.

Migrants will "contribute to the NHS – and pay in before they can receive benefits", the manifesto also says.

Article & Image: The Independent

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