Tax cuts, help to buy and stamp duty: Key takeaways from the Conservatives’ general election manifesto

Rishi Sunak claimed his party are the only ones ‘with the big ideas to make our country a better place to live”.

Kate Devlin
Tuesday 11 June 2024 14:17
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Rishi Sunak admits it is ‘harder’ to buy house under Tories

Rishi Sunak has unveiled the Conservatives' general election manifesto – here we round up some key of the takeaways.

Sunak is appealing to ‘white van man’

In a manifesto of few surprises one stood out – to abolish national insurance for the self-employed within five years. For employees, the Tories also pledged a further 2p cut to NI, following on successive 2p cuts at the autumn statement and spring budget. Making the self-employed exempt is expected to affect around four million people. The manifesto also promises no increases to income tax, NI or VAT and to scrap capital gains tax for landlords who sell properties to their tenants.

And trying to appeal to would-be homeowners

In an effort to help people get on the property ladder the document promises a "new and improved" Help to Buy scheme. To run for three years, it would be available to those buying new-builds, worth up to 20 per cent of a property’s value and would help buyers purchase with a 5 per cent deposit. The Conservatives have also said they will abolish stamp duty on houses up to the value of £425,000.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and wife Akshata Murty at the launch of the Conservative Party General Election manifesto at Silverstone (James Manning/PA)
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and wife Akshata Murty at the launch of the Conservative Party General Election manifesto at Silverstone (James Manning/PA) (PA Wire)

But there was nothing on inheritance tax

No pledge on inheritance tax will do little to appease the Tory right, who think that another cut to national insurance will do little, especially as the government itself was disappointed that previous cuts to the levy did nothing to help the party’s disastrous poll ratings.

No pledge to leave the ECHR

In another move that will anger the right, the document stops short of saying the UK could leave the European Convention on Human Rights. The convention, and the Strasbourg court which rules on it, have been seen as a key stumbling block to Mr Sunak’s attempts to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda. The manifesto repeats Mr Sunak’s wording that if “forced to choose between our security and the jurisdiction of a foreign court, including the ECHR, we will always choose our security."

Rishi Sunak (James Manning/PA)
Rishi Sunak (James Manning/PA) (PA Wire)

Rishi Sunak knows people are frustrated with him - and his party

The PM admitted that people are "frustrated" with him and that the Tories "have not got everything right". He said: "I'm not blind to the fact that people are frustrated with our party and frustrated with me. Things have not always been easy. And we have not got everything right." But, he insisted, "we are the only party in this election with the big ideas to make our country a better place to live".

National service is his biggest offer to young people

The plan, widely mocked when it was announced a few weeks ago, would see 18-year-olds either spend a year in the armed forces or volunteering once a month in civil society. The policy is in part aimed at creating a more cohesive society.

The big message from the Tory manifesto launch? ‘Don’t vote Labour

But one of the PM’s biggest messages in his speech was simple - “Don’t vote Labour”. In a direct appeal to voters he said that if they did not know what Labour stands for, or were concerned about what “Keir Starmer is not telling you”. But Labour insiders will be pleased at the amount of airtime they have received at their rival’s manifesto event.

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