Shropshire Star

What are the key points of the main parties’ General Election manifestos?

Here’s a look at the key takeaways from each of the parties’ offers to voters.

General Election campaign 2024

The General Election on July 4 is fast approaching, and all the main political parties have now launched their manifestos.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the key takeaways from each of their offers to voters.

– The Conservatives

Among the most eye-catching policies in the Tory manifesto is the plan for a new form of national service, with 18 year olds either serving in the armed forces for a year or working in civil society organisations once a month.

General Election campaign 2024
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak making a speech at an event at Petyt Hall, London, while on the General Election campaign trail (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The party is also promising a series of tax cuts, including reducing national insurance by a further 2p for employees and abolishing it altogether for the self-employed.

A new “triple lock-plus” on the state pension would meanwhile protect pensioners from paying income tax.

On migration, the Tories have pledged to introduce a cap on legal migration, and want to renegotiate international treaties which impact the issue, like the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Tories aim to build 100 new GP surgeries in England, funded by reducing the number of NHS managers, while on housing, Rishi Sunak’s party has pledged to build 1.6 million homes in the next parliament, in part by speeding up planning on brownfield land.

Some 8,000 more police officers would be placed on the streets under the Conservatives’ plans, and the party wants to boost apprenticeship numbers, creating a further 100,000 by 2029, while scrapping what it dubbed “rip off” degrees.

– The Labour Party

Labour’s manifesto is entitled “Change”, and its main aim is to create economic growth in order to improve living standards.

With this in mind, Labour aims to cap corporation tax at 25%, create a national wealth fund to help deliver investment in industries including the steel and automotive sectors, and has ruled out raising income tax, national insurance and VAT.

General Election campaign 2024
Idris Elba and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer meeting families of knife crime victims at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith, London, while on the General Election campaign trail (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Sir Keir Starmer’s party will scrap the VAT exemption for private schools as a means of providing extra funding for state education and will close “loopholes” in the windfall tax for oil and gas companies.

On health, it promises reform, pledges to deliver 40,000 NHS appointments a week, and a plan to recruit more NHS dentists in areas without services; while its housing offer is aimed at reforming planning with a promise of building 1.5 million new homes, including through creating new towns.

Labour has pledged to create a state-owned energy company called Great British Energy, aimed at getting the cost of bills down by investing in UK-based sources, and also wants to slowly renationalise passenger railway companies as private contracts end.

On immigration, it plans to set up a new border security command to crack down on people smugglers, while on workers’ rights, it aims to bolster protections for employees, including by restricting fire and rehire practices.

– The Liberal Democrats

The Lib Dems have vowed to repair the UK’s “broken” relationship with Europe, but Sir Ed Davey’s party has stopped short of promising to rejoin the EU, instead describing this as a long-term goal.

A pledge to help with the cost of living is made up of several policies in the manifesto, including a new national food strategy and a home insulation programme.

General Election campaign 2024
Liberal Democrats leader Sir Ed Davey (Anahita Hossein-Pour/PA)

The party also promises investment in the justice system, education and social housing, much of which is paid for by capital borrowing.

The Lib Dems want everyone to have the right to see a GP in seven days as part of a series of measures aimed at investing in the NHS and would expand financial support for volunteer carers.

– Reform UK

Nigel Farage’s party calls its offer to voters a “contract” rather than a manifesto.

Reform’s headline offer is a four-point plan for immigration including leaving the European Convention on Human Rights, allowing zero illegal immigrants to settle in the UK, establishing a new “Department of Immigration”, and returning migrants who come over in boats to France.

It also wants to simplify the UK tax code and lower a series of taxes, including scrapping inheritance tax for 98% of estates, cutting fuel duty by 20p per litre and abolishing VAT on energy bills.

General Election campaign 2024
Nigel Farage’s Reform UK calls its offer to voters a ‘contract’ rather than a manifesto (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

Reform has vowed to scrap net-zero targets, which it claims could save £30 billion a year for the next 25 years, and proposes a “patriotic curriculum” in schools, which would include pairing the teaching of Britain’s history of slavery or European imperialism, with a non-European occurrence to “ensure balance”.

– The SNP

Independence for Scotland is on “page one, line one” of the SNP manifesto.

John Swinney’s party also demands full devolution of tax powers to Scotland and vows to reform VAT, reducing it in hospitality and tourism and scrapping it altogether for on-street electric vehicle charging.

General Election campaign 2024
Scottish First Minister John Swinney’s party, the SNP, has put independence for Scotland on ‘page one, line one’ of its manifesto (Jane Barlow/PA)

The SNP also commits to rejoining the EU in its manifesto and wants to see the two-child benefit cap scrapped.

The party is also calling for mass investment in the NHS and the green economy, urging the next UK government to invest £10 billion in the health service – meaning £1 billion in consequentials in Scotland; and £28 billion in green projects.

– The Green Party

The Greens would introduce additional tax on multimillionaires and billionaires, with the aim of raising between £30-70 billion to help fund improvements to health, housing, transport and the green economy.

General Election campaign 2024
Co-leader of the Green Party Carla Denyer (Jonathan Hordle/PA)

The party would bring water companies, railways and energy companies into public ownership, and cancel recent oil and gas licences.

The Greens also want to give rights to “nature itself”, introduce a new English Right to Roam Act, end the emergency authorisation of bee-killing pesticides, and provide 150,000 new social homes every year.

– Plaid Cymru

Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru’s manifesto is aimed at providing “fairness” for Wales.

Its pledges include calling for tax and justice powers to be devolved to the Welsh Government, and extra funding for the NHS and the green economy.

General Election campaign 2024
Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth launches his party’s General Election manifesto (Ben Birchall/PA)

– Northern Ireland parties

In its manifesto, Sinn Fein states that partition has “failed Ireland” and says the Irish and British governments “must set a date for a referendum on Irish unity”.

Alliance, a sister party of the Lib Dems, is pledging reform of Stormont’s democratic institutions to prevent Northern Ireland’s government and assembly from collapsing in future.

The DUP’s Speaking Up For Northern Ireland manifesto vows to continue to remove trade barriers between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, and calls for a revaluation of the funding Northern Ireland receives.

Rival Unionist party the TUV also calls for reform of post-Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland, presenting an alternative system of “mutual recognition” whereby the EU and UK agree to check goods entering the other’s jurisdiction.

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