Election manifesto reveal clearer picture as May approaches

The UK general election is less than a month away and the parties are now preparing for the final stretch of their campaign trails as crunch time approaches. In fact, parties took what feels like the final and decisive step towards the election as they released their individual party manifesto this week. There’s no turning back now, with the policies inked in their booklets, voters now have a chance to sit down and examine how parties plan to improve life in the UK in the future as well as how they intend to fix the various issues the country may be dealing with.

With polls indicating the Conservatives and Labour as deadlocked at 34% each going into the final few weeks before the election, the manifestos could prove to be the difference for one or the other. While UKIP and the LIbdems are lagging behind, should the deadlock between the two major parties continue, their policies could prove influential in the event of a coalition government.

Conservatives, “the party of working people”

This was how David Cameron described the Conservative party as he unveiled the party’s manifesto. It was an unusual one description given that Labour is historically considered to be the worker’s party. Meanwhile, the three key messages sent by the party were strong leadership, a clear economic plan and a brighter, more secure future.

It certainly sounds like something voters want to hear, but what does it actually mean? The Conservative manifesto focuses on an extension to the right-to-buy scheme, an pledge to double free childcare and a promise to increase tax allowances so as to ensure that as minimum wage increases, those earning it remain tax free.

Furthermore the party is promising to spend at least £8 billion a year on the NHS and to cut the inheritance tax threshold for married couples and civil partners to £1 million. Finally, the Conservatives have also pledged to hold a referendum on EU membership by 2017, something that will certainly by music to the ears of many British people.

However, there is a key element lacking the Tory manifesto: who will be paying for all these promises, which taxes will be raised in order to find the capital? Whether David Cameron and his party can answer that question over the coming weeks will be key to how far the Conservatives go in the election. There is a factor worth considering though, the Conservatives are the party that, as Cameron pointed out, “rescued” the UK economy in 2010.

Labour, “A better plan, a better future”

This is how the banner behind Ed Miliband read as he introduced the Labour party’s manifesto in Manchester. The front page of the manifesto reveals its objective of “Budget Responsibility Commitment” in order to protect the nation’s finances.

Part of the promises put forward by the Labour party include the introduction of a national primary childcare service which would guarantee childcare from 08:00 to 18:00. Furthermore the party intends to protect tax credits for working families to ensure they rise with inflation and the pledge to increase the minimum wage to £8 by October 2019 and freeze rail fares for one year. Included clearly in the manifesto is also the fight on foreigners benefitting from the non-dom rule in the UK: Labour intends to scrap non-dom status. In addition the party will return to the 50p income tax rate for those earning over £150,000.

So the policies are clear, and everything in the manifesto is funded as Miliband himself pointed out in his speech, claiming that the books will be balanced and the national debt will be falling.

However, are the people in the UK ready to hand leadership and more importantly control of the economy, back to the party that was in charge during the greatest financial crash since 1929? Labour’s promises to fight the non-dom status and increase income tax may be appealing on paper, but could lead to exodus of the wealthy that have so boosted the UK economy in recent years. It was announced today that the UK has overtaken France to become the second largest economy in Europe after seeing growth of 2.8% in 2014, will Labour’s policies allow the UK to continue on this path?

Libdems and UKIP to follow today

The Libdems and UKIP are also preparing to present their respective manifestos.

While the details of these is yet to be released, the outlining policies are already clear. The Liberal Democrats are focusing mostly on education with a big push to ensure spending will be protected “from cradle to college”. The party intends to pledge an extra £2.5 billion towards education in the UK.

UKIP meanwhile claim they will unveil a ‘serious’ manifesto later today. Nigel Farage has highlighted that the party will propose to include a further £12 billion for the NHS. Furthermore, UKIP’s fight against foreigners in the country is clear with the party pledging to hold a referendum on EU membership “as soon as possible” in addition to introducing a five-year ban on unskilled immigration.