Tories plan government 'for all'
May: no Scots referendum, door open to tax rises
Theresa May today pledged to create a government for all of Britain, ruled out the prospect of a second independence referendum for Scotland, but left the door open for tax rises.
She also reaffirmed her plan to get tough on corporate excess and said there should be worker representation on boards.
Mrs May said the party will not repeat the 2015 pledge not to raise income tax, VAT or national insurance.
There will be a revised timetable to eliminate the deficit and balance the books over the next ten years.
But her plans to make further changes to pensions came in for criticism from those weary of “tinkering” with the system. She also drew criticism for some of her welfare reforms.
Manifesto measures include:
- Restating the commitment to bring net immigration down to tens of thousands a year
- Balancing the budget by 2025
- Increasing the national living wage to 60% of the median earnings by 2020
- Increasing NHS spending by a minimum of £8bn in real terms over the next five years
- A pledge that a referendum on Scottish independence cannot take place until the Brexit process is completed
- Scrapping winter fuel payments to better-off pensioners – at the moment, all pensioners qualify for one-off payments of between £100 and £300 each winter
- A reduction of the so-called “triple lock” on pensions to a “double lock” with the state pension to rise by the higher of average earnings or inflation – but to no longer go up by 2.5% if they are both lower than that
- Scrapping the ban on setting up new grammar schools
- Universities charging maximum tuition fees will have to sponsor academies or help found free schools
- A free vote in the Commons to be held on repealing the ban on fox hunting
On executive pay, the manifesto says packages should be approved by an annual vote of shareholders, and companies will have to publish details on how it compares to the pay of the workforce in general. There are also plans to ensure worker representation at board level.
Firms can expect to pay more to hire migrant workers, who will also pay more to use the NHS, if the Conservatives are re-elected.
She said there would be extra costs for employers who choose to hire non-EU immigrants in skilled jobs by doubling the charge known as the Skills Charge.
The money raised will be used to train UK workers.
Scottish Labour’s general election campaign manager James Kelly, said: “The Tories’ ideological obsession with a hard Brexit allowed the SNP to kick-start its campaign to divide Scotland again with a second independence referendum.
“This Tory manifesto means every Conservative candidate in Scotland is standing on a platform endorsing the abhorrent rape clause, the bedroom tax and swingeing cuts to social security payments.