The General Election: The Manifestos

The announcement of the General Election, that will take place on the 8th June this year, marks yet another political shake-up that has been characteristic of the past few years of British government. The announcement has been described as unpopular, unexpected, and unnecessary, and has dominated British media for the past month.

Nonetheless, the election has incited an important question that is necessary to consider in the wake of the events of the past couple of years: What issues matter to us? What policies and issues will be driving the British voters to the polls, and what pledges will help them decide where they will put their cross? Will it be Brexit? Defence? Immigration? Or domestic issues?

For the purpose of space, this article will summarise the principle pledges of the three major parties: Conservatives, Labour, and Liberal Democrats.

Conservatives

  • No plans for further welfare reform – “will continue the roll-out of Universal Credit, to ensure that it always pays to be in work”
  • Raise tax-free personal allowance to £12,500
  • Retain the Trident continuous-at-sea nuclear deterrent
  • Lift ban on new selective schools
  • Reduce annual net migration to the tens of thousands
  • Reduce number of MPs to 600
  • Free Vote to lift Fox Hunting ban

Labour

  • An increase in the tax rate on people earning over £80k a year to 45%
  • Committed to renewable energy projects, including tidal lagoons
  • Supports the renewal of Trident but will “lead multilateral efforts with international partners and the UN to create a nuclear-free world.”
  • Scrap Conservative’s Brexit White Paper and “replace it with fresh negotiating priorities that have a strong emphasis on retaining the benefits of the Single Market and the Customs Union”
  • Scrap zero hours contract

Liberal Democrats

  • Raise income tax by 1% on everyone (to raise for NHS and social care)
  • The Lib Dems have promised to legalise cannabis cafes and create a “legal, regulated market for cannabis” 
  • Promise to hold a referendum on whether to accept the deal or remain in the EU
  • Generate 60% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030
  • Extend the vote to 16 year old and introduce proportional voting system 

These are only brief summaries of their key pledges, but their full manifestos can be found on their respective websites - including their stance on equality, women, immigration, and general social reforms. This election has come unexpectedly, and there are many concerns as to whether or not it fundamentally undermines democracy. Nonetheless, whatever your views are, it is crucial that you turn out to the polls on the 8th of June and have your say on the direction you think our country should take after one of the most defining years in our political history.