General Election 2019: A taxing election!

With a week to go until the 2019 General Election, campaigning is now well underway. Whilst Brexit has inevitably been central in the media, there is a lot of attention being paid to the parties’ tax and spending policies, and how those will be funded. With Brexit blurring traditional party lines, voters face a confusing landscape.

To help make sense of all the noise, we have outlined the key economic, social and tax policies of the three main national political parties as set out in their manifestos.

CONSERVATIVE POLICIES

If the Conservative Party win the election, their main priority is to exit the EU in January. They also promise to start to move away from austerity with spending pledged for the NHS.

Key pledges:

  • Brexit: Pass Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement and leave the EU by January 2020.
  • Tax: Raise the national insurance (NI) threshold to £9,500; triple lock on personal taxation with no increases in income tax, National Insurance or VAT; corporation tax to stay at 19%, reversing a previous pledge to cut to 17%.
  • NHS: A cash boost for the NHS of £34bn per year by the end of next parliament, along with £1bn a year for social care.
  • Education: Increase spending to £,5000 per pupil, and raise teachers’ starting salaries; £1bn childcare fund.
  • Housing: More rights for tenants, and a 3% stamp duty surcharge for foreign buyers to help end rough sleeping.
  • Environment: Pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2050; £9.2bn pledge to make homes, schools and hospitals more energy efficient.
  • Policing: Recruit 20,000 police officers and create 10,000 more prison places.

LABOUR POLICIES

The Labour Party have introduced a manifesto promising ambitious spending and investment plans, funded by hikes in corporation tax and higher earners.

Key pledges:

  • Brexit: Negotiate a new withdrawal arrangement, with close alignment with the single market, and put the new agreement back to the people as a confirmatory vote with remain as an option.
  • Tax: An £83bn public spending boost funded by hikes in corporation tax (up to 26% by 2023), capital gains tax and income tax for top earners; replace Inheritance Tax (IHT) with a lifetime gifts tax which shifts the tax from donor to donee-based.
  • NHS: Increase spending by 4.3% a year with an extra £1.6bn for mental health services; reintroduce free dental care check-ups and personal care for the elderly.
  • Education: Bring academies and free schools back into local authorities; scrap university tuition fees; extend 30 free hours to two-year-olds.
  • Housing: £75bn to build 1 million social housing homes in the next 10 years, with a national levy on second homes to ease homelessness.
  • Environment: Launch a ‘Green New Deal’, with 1 million green jobs and an additional £5.6bn for flood defences.
  • Policing: Recruit 22,000 police officers and stop building private prisons.

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS POLICIES

Lib dem

The Liberal Democrats promised to revoke Article 50 as their main manifesto pledge. They also plan to invest £20bn a year for five years to tackle climate change.

Key pledges:

  • Brexit: Revoke article 50 to stop Brexit, or support a people’s vote with an option to remain.
  • Tax: Increase day to day spending by £62.9bn, and infrastructure investment by £130bn; restore corporation tax to 20%; scrap the Marriage Tax Allowance.
  • NHS: Introduce a penny income tax rise for NHS spending and social care, intended to raise £7bn a year; develop a ‘health and care tax’.
  • Education: Reinstate maintenance grants to lower-income students; extend free childcare to start at 9 months (working parents) or 2 years for all; reverse school cuts.
  • Housing: Build at least 300,000 homes a year (including 100,000 for social rent) and introduce rent-to-own options; higher council tax and stamp duty on second homes.
  • Environment: Invest in renewable power to generate at least 80% of UK electricity by 2030.
  • Policing: Invest £1bn in community policing; 2% pay rise for police officers.

Whatever the result, we look forward to seeing the new Budget fairly quickly in the new year.

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