Red lines and promises

Red lines and promises

Issue Conservative Labour Liberal Democrat
Economy
Austerity Eradicate the deficit by 2018 through further substantial cuts in departmental budgets. Close the deficit through tax increases and spending cuts. No additional borrowing for new spending. “Strict new fiscal rules” to ensure the deficit has gone by April 2018 with the wealthy contributing the most.
Infrastructure Increase spending on infrastructure at least in line with growth in national income. Create an independent National Infrastructure Commission to identify Britain’s long-term needs. Following a spending review the party will ensure investment in infrastructure will rise both in absolute terms and as a share of the economy.
Tax
Corporation Tax Tackle tax avoidance while keeping headline rates low. Reverse the 1% reduction planned by George Osborne. Crack down on tax avoidance.
Income Tax Raise tax-free allowance from £10500 to £12500. Start the 40% tax rate at £50000 instead of £41900. Cut income tax for lower and middle earners with a lower starting rate of 10p. Restore 50p top rate for those earning over £150000. Raise tax free allowance from £10500 to £12500. Raise capital gains tax substantially.
Mansion Tax No mansion tax. Tax properties worth more than £2 million. Tax properties worth more than £2 million.
Health
Investment Continue to ringfence NHS funding and keep pace with inflation. £2.5bn a year Time to Care Fund to pay for 20000 more nurses; 8000 more GPs; 5000 more care workers and 3000 more midwives by 2020. A real terms increase in NHS funding of £1 billion in 2016/17 and 2017/18 along with an extra £500m for mental health services.
Services All patients to have access to a GP from 8am to 8pm seven days a week by 2020. 5000 more GPs to be trained. Hospital trusts and other NHS bodies to evolve into NHS integrated care organisations working from home to hospital to coordinate physical mental and social care. Health and well-being boards to be increased in size and given power to hold budgets.
Outsourcing Continue with the Health and Social Care Bill. NHS to be given ‘first chance’ to provide services under Labour’s preferred provider policy. Services would be opened up to competition only if commissioners judge the NHS is unable to meet their requirements. NHS mergers no longer to come under the jurisdiction of the Competition and Markets Authority and commissioners will not have to put all services out to tender.
Europe
Referendum Hold an in/out referendum in 2017 after renegotiating the terms of Britain’s EU membership. No commitment to a referendum but will push for reform of the EU. Will hold a referendum if there is a new EU treaty transferring powers to Brussels.
Immigration Controlling immigration to be “at the heart” of renegotiation with the EU. Migrant access to benefits to be further restricted. Make migrants wait two years to claim out of work benefits. Will hold a referendum if there is a new EU treaty transferring powers to Brussels. Focus on exit checks as a way to stop migrants from over-staying and abusing freedom of movement.
Education
Vocational training Three million apprenticeships to be created funded by benefit cuts. A range of new vocational initiatives to ensure as many young people go on an apprenticeship as go to university. 200000 grants to employers and expand the number of degree equivalent Higher Apprenticeships. Develop National Colleges to deliver the high level vocational skills.
Secondary Education Continue with the free school and academy programme. Require all teachers to be qualified. Parents of primary school children to be guaranteed childcare from 8am to 6pm. Compulsory sex and relationship education in all schools. Reform of tax treatment for private schools. Protect the education budget from cuts. Guarantee qualified teachers and a core curriculum set by independent experts in all state schools academies and free schools.
Environment
Renewable Energy No firm policy as of yet but have opposed the further expansion of on-shore windfarms. Back ‘community owned’ renewable energy and invest in research into energy storage and transmission. Legally-binding decarbonisation target largely to be achieved by a focus on renewable energy.
Housing
House Building 100000 new homes for first-time buyers at a 20% discount. Build at least 200000 houses a year by 2020. Build 300000 houses a year.
Landlords Encourage more tenants onto the market with Right to Buy and the allocation of homes for first-time buyers. Will legislate to provide longer-term lets with predictable rents. Tackle overcrowding by incentivising social landlords to reduce the number of tenants under-occupying their homes freeing up larger properties for larger families.
Benefits No increase in working age benefits for two years affecting those receiving JSA tax credits and child benefits. Cap raises in child benefit at 1% until 2017. Repeal the ‘bedroom tax’. Freeze benefits only as part of a package with tax increases. Implement a yellow card system rather than immediate DWP sanctions.