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Rishi Sunak promises lower immigration and tax cuts in Tory manifesto

11 Jun 2024 4 minute read
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak launches the Conservative Party General Election manifesto at Silverstone in Towcester, Northamptonshire. Photo James Manning/PA Wire

Rishi Sunak has set out plans for a 2p national insurance cut in a multibillion-pound gamble to get the Tory General Election campaign back on track.

Launching the Conservative manifesto at the Silverstone motor racing circuit, the Prime Minister positioned himself as the heir to Margaret Thatcher with tax-cutting promises as he sought to overturn Labour’s poll lead which has remained stubbornly at around 20 points.

The Prime Minister said the Tories offered “lower immigration, lower taxes and protected pensions” as part of a “secure future”.

Sir Keir Starmer said the money was not there to pay for Mr Sunak’s pledges, warning it was a “recipe for five more years of chaos” under the Conservatives.

The Tories reduced employees’ national insurance from 10% to 8% at the March budget, following a similar cut in autumn 2023, at an annual cost of almost £10 billion by 2028/29.

Eliminate national insurance

The manifesto commits to a third 2p reduction as part of a drive to eliminate national insurance altogether to end the double taxation on workers, who are already liable for income tax.

The Tories also promised to abolish the main rate of self-employed national insurance entirely by the end of the Parliament.

The manifesto commits to cutting employee national insurance to 6% by April 2027 at an estimated cost of £10.3 billion in 2029-30.

Tax reduction

On top of the already implemented cuts, the manifesto said it would amount to a total tax reduction of £1,350 for the average worker on £35,000.

The party also confirmed its pledge not to increase income tax or VAT rates.

In total, the package of employee and self-employed national insurance cuts – combined with the previously announced “triple lock plus” tax break for pensioners, child benefit changes, stamp duty and capital gains tax measures – would amount to a £17.2 billion annual cost to the Exchequer by 2029-30.

On immigration, the manifesto commits to require migrants to undergo a health check in advance of coming to the UK – with the prospect of paying a higher rate of the immigration health surcharge or forcing them to purchase insurance if they are “likely to be a burden on the NHS”.

Legal cap

It confirmed plans for a “binding, legal cap” on work and family visas which would “fall every year of the next Parliament and cannot be breached”.

The document stops short of saying the UK could leave the European Convention on Human Rights, as some on the Tory right including former home secretary Suella Braverman have called for.

The convention, and the Strasbourg court which rules on it, have been seen as a stumbling block in the effort to put asylum seekers on flights to Rwanda, part of the plan to deter small boat crossings of the English Channel.

The manifesto said “We will run a relentless, continual process of permanently removing illegal migrants to Rwanda with a regular rhythm of flights every month, starting this July, until the boats are stopped.

“If we are forced to choose between our security and the jurisdiction of a foreign court, including the ECHR, we will always choose our security.”

Property ladder

The Prime Minister has acknowledged it has become harder for people to own their first home under the Conservatives, but he promised a package of measures to get people on the property ladder.

That includes a commitment to build 1.6 million new homes if elected by speeding up planning on brownfield land in inner cities and “scrapping defective EU laws”.

Mr Sunak has endured a torrid few days following his decision to leave the 80th anniversary of D-Day commemorations before the main international ceremony.

He is also battling to turn around the fortunes of a party which polls have suggested is heading for a very heavy defeat.

The Prime Minister said he is not “blind to the fact that people are frustrated with our party and frustrated with me” and acknowledged “we have not got everything right”.

But he said the Conservatives are the only party “with the big ideas to make our country a better place to live”.


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Frank
Frank
13 days ago

Another pledge they would probably renege on. It’s about time the government, be it Conservative, Labour, Lib Dems, whoever, drastically reduced the tax on cashing in the whole of a private pension in a lump sum which can vary from 40% up to 55%. After the initial tax-free 25% they can take more than half the remainder in tax. Bloody grabbing robbing barstewards!! Another thing, why are they promising free care to the disabled and infirm IN ENGLAND? I am fed up of this “in England” malarky. This election is not about England, it’s about all of Britain. England should… Read more »

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
13 days ago

Rishi Ji that boat has sailed, yours is waiting…on the beach in France…

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
13 days ago

You can be sure that nothing will happen when you read the words ‘Rishi Sunak promises’.

Frank
Frank
13 days ago

All we are hearing from party leaders in the run up to the election are pledges made to England. What about the rest of us? What pledges are they announcing for Cymru, Scotland and Northern Ireland? I’ve heard none yet. If this election is all about England why are we taking part in it?

hdavies15
hdavies15
13 days ago
Reply to  Frank

You are living in a colony, boyo, not in the Motherland. That should clear up any doubts you ever had about our second class, or lower, status in this “great” Britain of ours.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
13 days ago

The immigration rant is as old as the hills, way older than 2019/20 when Johnson spoke of ‘breaking the business model’ of the gangs behind the small boats and on which Sunak speaks now of ‘smashing the criminal gangs’. In all this time, NOTHING has been done which sends the clear message that nothing will ever be done. This isn’t me saying stop the boats, this is me saying stop believing that the Tories will stop the boats. They clearly don’t want to.

Mawkernewek
Mawkernewek
13 days ago

Who has actually written this article? No name and it sounds like a Tory press release cut and pasted.

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
13 days ago

Fishi rishi must think the population of the uk have all been lobotomised and I really can’t believe he had the cheek to say the tories are the only party “with the big ideas to make our country a better place to live.” After being in power in westminster for 14 years rhe tories have ruined everything that could be described as good about the uk and if they remain in power it will only get worse as they only care about themselves and their mates! At the same time it wouldn’t be difficult to make improvements, even an amoeba… Read more »

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
13 days ago

He’s Lying…

Sikejsudjek
Sikejsudjek
13 days ago

They haven’t delivered on the 2019 manifesto let alone this one. 40 new hospitals and a cap on care home fees never happened!

Charles Coombes
Charles Coombes
12 days ago

But fails to mention the resulting cuts in services and skills shortage.

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