Analysed: Conservative 2024 election manifesto

The Conservatives have unveiled their election manifesto.

Some of the key pledges include tax cuts, legal limits to controlling immigration and stopping illegal immigration, the return of “Help to Buy”, net zero by 2050 and improving health and social care.

Here are the key takeaways. It is worth remembering that the numbers are based on assumed projections, and therefore open to question – and in the case of media coverage, bias and speculation:

  • Cutting the total tax take by around £17bn by 2030, including cutting National Insurance for the self-employed until it is completely abolished by 2029
  • The party claims it can address the treasury losses by reducing the welfare bill by £12 billion annually and generating an additional £6 billion by combating tax avoidance
  • Reviving the “Help to Buy” scheme, enabling first-time buyers get a government loan worth up to 20% to help buy a new property
  • Introducing a legal cap on migration by limiting the number of work and family visas
  • Removing illegal immigrants with “a regular rhythm of flights” to Rwanda every month, starting July
  • Introducing a compulsory National Service, where every 18-year-old can choose between civic or military service
  • Civic service will be “the equivalent of one weekend a month (25 days) volunteering in the community”
  • Military service will be “a year-long full-time placement in the armed forces or cyber defence”, and will be paid
  • Introduce the “Triple Lock Plus” for pensioners, which will guarantee “both the State Pension and the tax free allowance for pensioners will always rise” with either inflation, earnings or 2.5% – depending on what is highest
  • Expand “Pharmacy First”;  build or modernise 250 GP surgeries; build 50 more Community Diagnostic Centres “including in underserved areas” – resulting in “an additional 2.5 million checks a year”; and deliver 40 new hospitals by 2030

Unveiling the manifesto, Rishi Sunak said, “If Labour wins this time, they’ll change the rules so they’re in power for a very long time”.

This claim is based on Starmer’s announcement that he plans to extend the right to vote to 16-year-olds, and therefore, according to Sunak, making it “harder to remove him from power”.

However, Sunak’s government has made its own changes to the electoral system, including a First Past the Post system at last month’s local elections, raising election spending limits and extending overseas votes and donations – all of which appear to make it easier for the Conservatives to hold onto power.

But back to the manifesto. Let’s see what topics the media decided to cover – and what their reaction has been to the manifesto itself. It goes without saying, the left were critical, and the right hailing the return of the Conservative’s characteristic tax-cuts and highlighting their stance on immigration.

Unless otherwise stated, headlines are front pages on June 12 2024.

Tory ambition to deport 100,000 illegal immigrants

Daily Express

Rishi: Don’t give Labour a blank cheque
-PM warns Keir will change rules to hold power for ‘long time’
-He unveils £17bn of tax cuts in manifesto to reward aspiration
-Pledges to scrap NI for self-employed – and 2p cut for workers

Daily Mail

Sunak promises £17bn in tax cuts

The Telegraph

Tories’ ‘implausible’ £17bn tax giveaway condemned

The Guardian

Sunak’s final gamble: I’ll cut taxes by £17bn and migration by 50%

The Independent

Sunak’s £17bn tax cuts promise fails to satisfy Tory appetite for ‘boldness’

Financial Times

Sunak pledges £17 billion in tax cuts as he launches Tory manifesto

The Times

TSunak promises tax cuts in manifesto, but Labour call it ‘desperate’


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