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Conservative Party manifesto promises UK tax cuts

By Jonathan Powell in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-06-12 01:50
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Rishi Sunak, UK prime minister, launches the Conservative Party general election manifesto in Silverstone, UK on Tuesday. [Photo/CFP]

United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak promised voters "financial security" and tax cuts when he unveiled the Conservative Party manifesto ahead of the general election on July 4.

Forecasts have predicted for many months that the Conservatives will suffer a heavy defeat to the main opposition Labour Party in the upcoming election, with the party that is also known as the Tories significantly behind in the polls.

Sunak unveiled the Conservatives' agenda for government on Tuesday in a speech at the Silverstone racing track, aiming to turn the tide and persuade voters of his ambitious agenda that centers on economic growth.

"We Conservatives have a plan to give you financial security," he said. "We will enable working people to keep more of the money you earn because you have earned it and have the right to choose what to spend it on."

Sunak emphasized that the Conservatives prioritize fiscal responsibility by advocating for reduced welfare spending to facilitate the tax cuts.

Housing is a key theme in the manifesto, and Sunak announced a stamp duty cut for some first-time buyers, a new Help to Buy initiative, and tax cuts for landlords who sell to tenants.

He also said the Conservatives would introduce a migration cap, admitting numbers of people coming to the country are too high.

"We will halve migration as we have halved inflation and then reduce it every single year," he said.

Sunak again criticized Labour's policies, reiterating an allegation that the party plans to raise taxes by more than 2,000 pounds ($2,545) for working households, an assertion that Labour disputes and economists have cast doubt upon.

He said he hopes to regain momentum after a bruising four-day period when he had to dispel rumors that he contemplated stepping down due to the criticism he faced for leaving the D-Day commemorations in France early last week.

Before the manifesto unveiling, the main opposition Labour Party criticized the document as being "littered with unfunded commitment after unfunded commitment".

Pat McFadden, Labour's national campaign coordinator, said: "The one thing to know about the desperate series of unfunded commitments in the Tory manifesto is that the money's not there. Their manifesto will be the most expensive panic attack in history.

"The Tories' scattergun and unfunded commitments have racked up billions with no idea from them of how to pay for it."

Leading think tank the Institute for Fiscal Studies, or IFS, has regularly warned that it is inevitable the next government will have to cut spending or raise taxes to meet debt and borrowing targets.

The IFS said the next government is likely to face some of "the most difficult economic and fiscal choices the UK has faced outside of pandemics and major crises", and that the state of public finances hangs over the election campaign "like a dark cloud".

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