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15 April 2015Conservatives' Election Manifesto 2015: A brighter more secure future

David Cameron 720

You can read their full manifesto here.

You can read our blog on the Conservatives' manifesto here

Key policies

  • Extension of the right-to-buy scheme to housing association tenants in England
  • Plans to build 200,000 starter homes
  • Ensuring all people who work 30 hours per week on the minimum wage pay no income tax
  • Doubling free childcare allowance for three and four-year-olds to 30 hours
  • Increasing the inheritance tax threshold on family homes to £1m by 2017
  • No above-inflation rises in rail fares until 2020
  • An extra £8bn a year for the NHS by 2020
  • Opening 500 more free schools
  • An EU referendum by 2017

Economy

The party says mortgages, schools, hospitals and pensions are some of things that depend on a "strong economy". The manifesto says the Conservative Party will continue with its "long-term economic plan".

  • Running a surplus by 2018 so that the UK "starts to pay down its debts"
  • No rise in VAT, national insurance contributions or income tax
  • A crackdown on tax evasion and the "aggressive" avoidance of tax
  • Creating a "Northern Powerhouse" through investment
  • Spending £100bn on infrastructure in the next Parliament

Jobs and investment

  • The document says the Conservative Party is committed to helping people enjoy the "satisfaction and rewards of a decent job".
  • Achieving full employment by helping businesses create two million extra jobs over the course of the next Parliament
  • Creating 3 million new apprenticeships
  • Cutting £10bn of red tape over the next Parliament
  • Giving businesses "the most competitive taxes of any major economy"
  • Replacing Jobseeker's Allowance for 18-21 year-olds with a Youth Allowance time-limited to six months. After that, they will have to take an apprenticeship or traineeship or do community work to claim benefits
  • Requiring 40% of those entitled to take part in strike ballots to vote for a strike before industrial action can be held
  • Requiring companies with more than 250 employees to publish their gender pay gap - the difference between average pay for male and female employees
  • Increasing the minimum wage to £6.70 by the autumn and to £8 by the end of the decade
  • Investing £6.9bn in the UK's research infrastructure up to 2021
  • "Near universal superfast broadband" for rural areas

Taxation and welfare

The manifesto launch paid significant attention to plans to reduce tax for low-paid workers and increase benefits for working parents.

  • Taking everyone who earns less than £12,500 out of income tax
  • Passing a new law that would mean all those working 30 hours a week and earning the minimum wage will not pay income tax on earnings
  • Raising the threshold for the 40p rate of tax so that nobody under £50,000 pays the rate
  • A freeze on working age benefits for two years from April 2016 (exemptions for disability and pensioner benefits)
  • Lowering the benefit cap from £26,000 to £23,000 (with exemptions for those receiving Disability Living Allowance or the Personal Independence Payment)
  • Giving working parents of three and four-year-olds 30 hours of free childcare a week

Religious liberty

  • They say they will stand up for the freedom of people of all religions –and non-religious people –to practise their beliefs in peace and safety, for example by supporting persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

Immigration

The party says it still wants to see annual net migration in the tens of thousands. It pledges to reduce the incentive for EU migrants to settle in the UK by:

  • Negotiating new EU rules so people will have to be earning in the UK for four years before they can claim tax credits and child benefits
  • Introducing a four-year residency requirement for social housing for EU migrants
  • Ending the ability of EU jobseekers to claim any job-seeking benefits
  • Requiring EU jobseekers who have not found a job within six months to leave
  • Insist new EU member states' citizens do not have free movement rights "until their economies have converged much more closely with existing member states"
  • Cap the level of skilled migration from outside the EU at 20,700
  • Extend the "deport first, appeal later" principle to cover all immigration appeals and judicial reviews, apart from asylum cases

Education and the NHS

The Tories pledged at the weekend to spend an extra £8bn per year on the NHS. Other manifesto commitments include:

  • Investing £7bn over the course of the next Parliament to provide "good school places"
  • Opening at least 500 new free schools and turning failing schools into academies
  • Protecting the schools budget;increasing the amount spent on schools as the number of pupils increases
  • Scrapping the cap on higher education student numbers
  • Providing same-day GP appointments for over 75s
  • The right to a named GP
  • Integration of health and social care systems

Heritage, sports and government

  • Keep major museums and galleries free to enter
  • Freeze the BBC licence fee
  • Guarantee those who work for a big company and the public sector entitlement to Volunteering Leave for three days per year
  • End taxpayer-funded six-figure pay-offs for the best-paid public sector workers
  • Reduce number of MPs to 600
  • Introduce English votes for English laws
  • Give English MPs a veto over matters only affecting England
  • Implement the recommendations of the Smith Commission, set up to consider new powers for Scotland after the independence referendum
  • Increase some powers for the Welsh Assembly
  • Devolve corporation tax powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly

Justice

  • Toughen sentencing and reform the prison system
  • Create a Victims' Law that will enshrine key rights for victims, including the right to make a personal statement and have it read in court before sentencing and before parole hearings
  • Scrap the Human Rights Act, and introduce a British Bill of Rights
  • Strengthen counter-terrorism powers
  • Create new Extremism Disruption Orders, which the party says would help target those trying to radicalise young people on social media

Pensions and inheritance

  • Increasing the inheritance tax threshold for married couples and civil partners to £1m
  • Continuing to increase the state pension through the triple lock system, meaning it rises by at least 2.5%
  • Capping charges on residential care
  • Introducing a single-tier pension
  • Protecting pensioner benefits like free bus passes and the winter fuel payment

Foreign affairs and defence

  • An in/out referendum on EU membership by the end of 2017.
  • Protect the UK economy from further integration with the eurozone while reclaiming other powers from Europe
  • Uphold commitment to spend 0.7% of gross national income on international development
  • Maintain the size of the regular armed services and not reduce the Army to below 82,000
  • Expand armed forces reserves to 35,000
  • Retain Trident and build a new a new fleet of nuclear submarines

Others

  • Giving Parliament a free vote on repeal of the Hunting Act
  • Ending any new public subsidy for onshore wind farms
  • The party says it will respond to the Airports Commission's final report - but makes no specific reference to Heathrow expansion