Conservative manifesto 2017: All you need to know about the Tories’ election pledges

Policies to better fund schools and the NHS are contingent on taking away universal free school lunches and charging migrants more for healthcare

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Theresa May launched the Conservative Party manifesto in West Yorkshire today, announcing plans to reduce immigration, make more elderly people pay for social care in their own homes, and replace universal free hot lunches for children with cheaper breakfasts to save money on the schools budget. 

In a speech in Halifax introduced by Brexit Secretary David Davis, the PM insisted “there is no Mayism” only “solid Conservatism” as she delivered her plan to build a “stronger, fairer, more prosperous Britain”.

Her manifesto to tackle the “great challenges of our time” included pledges to increase NHS funding – but to make money by charging migrant workers and international students more for healthcare – to hold a vote on repealing the fox-hunting ban and to “keep tax as low as possible”. 

Here are the party's key policies:

Social care and the elderly

Thousands more people would have to contribute to the cost of their care – although they would not have to pay during their lifetime.

Under the new Conservative blueprint, a planned £72,000 cap on care costs, which had been due to come in in 2020, would be scrapped.

Instead, the Government would offer protection from the cost of social care for people with assets of £100,000 or less, a sharp increase on the current £23,250 threshold.

However, the value of an elderly person's property would be included in the means test for care in their own home, meaning more people would be liable to contribute to the cost of being looked after.

Meanwhile the triple lock on pensions would be scrapped and replaced with a less generous double lock – ensuring they still rise in line with prices or wages, whichever is higher – while the winter fuel allowance would be means tested.

Schools

Funding for schools would increase by £4bn by 2022.

But one of the ways in which the Tories hope to make savings is by ending the policy of free school lunches for all children in their first three years of primary school.

A free school breakfast – which is cheaper to provide – will be offered to children instead.

The current ban on grammar schools will be lifted subject to conditions including allowing pupils to join at other ages as well as 11.

The NHS

NHS funding would be increased per head in every year of the next parliament if the party is re-elected, with a minimum spending increase of £8bn in real terms over the next five years. 

The manifesto pledged to embark on “the most ambitious programme of investment in buildings and technology the NHS has ever seen”.

However, migrant workers and international students would face higher charges to use the NHS.

Tax

VAT would stay the same.

The party would “keep tax as low as possible” and simplify the system.

The Tories would “stick to the plan” for corporation tax to fall to 17 per cent by 2020, and would conduct a “full review of the business rates system to make sure it is up to date for a world in which people increasingly shop online”.

The party has also promised to “legislate for tougher regulation of tax advisory firms” and to take a “more proactive approach to transparency and misuse of trusts”.

Immigration

Annual net immigration would be reduced to tens of thousands if the Conservatives retained power, the party's manifesto said.

The policy document said the current figure of 273,000 people heading to Britain was “still too high” and promised to slash the number to “sustainable levels”.

Companies employing migrant workers would see the Immigration Skills Charge doubled to £2,000-a-year by the end of the parliament, with the revenue generated to be invested in higher level skills training for UK workers.

The party hopes the plan will deter businesses or government from avoiding their “obligations to improve the skills of the British workforce”.

Overseas students would remain in the immigration statistics but the manifesto sets out plans to heighten requirements for students hoping to remain in the country to work after their course has finished.

It also pledged to “increase the earnings threshold for people wishing to sponsor migrants for family visas” for those coming from outside the EU.

Defence

Defence spending would be increased by at least 0.5 per cent more than inflation every year.

The party's manifesto also committed to meeting the Nato target of spending at least 2 per cent of GDP on defence, stating that the country has a “responsibility to sustain our fine armed forces so that they can defend the realm, our overseas territories and our interests around the globe”.

It promised to “maintain the overall size of the armed forces” with an army capable of “fielding a war-fighting division”.

The party also pledged to “protect” armed forces personnel from “persistent legal claims” which “cost the taxpayer millions”.

It said it would invest £178bn in new military equipment over the next 10 years, and promised to complete the Astute class of hunter-killer submarines.

Brexit

The Government may be willing to make a “reasonable” contribution to the European Union after Brexit.

The flagship document also pledges to come to a “fair settlement” for Britain's EU exit bill – but warns Brussels that the days of Britain “making vast annual contributions to the European Union will end”.

The manifesto confirms that a Tory Brexit would take Britain out of the European single market and customs unions.

The Conservatives have pledged to secure the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and British expats in Europe, as well as confirming Britain will remain part of the European Convention of Human Rights for the next parliament.

It also rules out a Scottish independence referendum until after Brexit is complete and aims to maintain “as frictionless a border as possible” between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Fox hunting

A vote would be held on repealing the ban on fox hunting.

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