Factbox: Main UK parties' general election promises

AFP , Sunday 16 Jun 2024

Tax, immigration, the state-run National Health Service (NHS): the UK's leading parties are battling over key policy areas in the general election campaign.

Britain s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
File Photo: Britain s Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Rishi Sunak holds a Q A with staff of a West William distribution centre in Ilkeston in the East Midlands as part of a campaign event ahead of a general election on July 4. Rishi Sunak is seeking his own public mandate at next month s general election having been installed as Conservative leader and UK prime minister by his own colleagues in parliament. The 44-year-old former financier was tasked with stabilising the UK economy, and his own notoriously fractious party, when he succeeded Liz Truss in October 2022 after her 49-day premiership imploded. AFP


Here are some of the main pledges made before the July 4 poll.


The ruling Conservatives, trailing the Labour opposition badly in the polls, are promising tax cuts totalling £17 billion ($22 billion) a year by 2030, primarily by slashing national insurance levies on workers.

That will be financed by cutting welfare benefits and curbing tax evasion, they say.

Labour plans targeted annual tax rises of £8.6 billion by 2028-29, also by tackling tax avoidance, closing certain "loopholes" and taxing private school fees.

It will also ramp up a windfall tax on oil and gas companies.

Hard-right Reform UK, which recent polls show is neck-and-neck with the Tories, would slash taxes on people and businesses, including by exempting earnings below £20,000 from income tax.

Smaller centrist party the Liberal Democrats also propose cuts by raising income tax thresholds but aim to raise £27 billion in 2028-29 by increasing capital gains and other levies.


Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's Tories promise a legal cap on migration, including on work and family visas, to be voted on annually by MPs.

They promise numbers will fall every year during the next government's five-year term.

Sunak will also persevere with the contentious plan to deport some asylum-seekers to Rwanda, and has pledged that flights will start in July.

Keir Starmer's Labour also insist net migration must fall, but have not put a figure on it.

Its manifesto pledges to "reform the points-based immigration system" and curb foreign worker numbers in some economic sectors.

Reform wants to "freeze non-essential immigration".

The party would remove the UK from the European Convention on Human Rights and turn around small boats in the Channel carrying migrants from mainland Europe.


As the NHS creaks, the Conservatives promise to increase annual health spending above inflation, while recruiting 92,000 more nurses and 28,000 more doctors.

Labour wants to reduce treatment waiting lists with 40,000 more weekly appointments.

It also pledges to double the number of cancer scanners, launch a "dentistry rescue plan" and hire 8,500 mental health staff.

The Lib Dems have made health policy a priority as they target traditional Tory seats in southern England, promising an £8 billion package.

Its plans include giving everyone the right to see a doctor within seven days, as well as free personal care for older and disabled people at home.

Green transition 

Sunak's Tories want to "cut the cost" of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, guaranteeing no new "green levies" while "accelerating the rollout of renewables".

They promise to treble offshore wind capacity and build two carbon capture and storage "clusters" but maintain annual drilling permit auctions for North Sea oil and gas.

Labour will create GB Energy, a publicly owned entity to spearhead funding for green energy infrastructure alongside the private sector.

The party insists it will not issue any new North Sea permits and restore a 2030 target to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars.

The Green Party, bidding to improve on the single seat it won in 2019, is unsurprisingly campaigning heavily on the issue.

It wants to reach net-zero by 2040 through a massive renewable power rollout, while also phasing out nuclear power, which currently generates around 15 percent of the UK's electricity.


The Conservatives promise to protect schools spending in real terms per pupil, alongside policies including offering a new post-16 qualification.

Labour pledges to recruit 6,500 new teachers and create more than 3,000 new nursery classes across England.

The Lib Dems vow to review how university education is funded, while Reform will scrap interest on student loans but "restrict undergraduate numbers well below current levels".


All the UK's parties are promising to build millions of new homes to tackle a housing crisis.

Sunak would also help first-time buyers through a mortgage support scheme and tax-break on purchases.

Labour similarly pledges help for first-time buyers alongside planning policy reforms to boost construction in the hope of lowering house prices.


The Conservatives plan to increase defence spending to 2.5 percent of GDP by 2030, and reinstate a form of compulsory national service for some 18-year-olds.

Labour will only commit to the 2.5 percent target "as soon as we can", while promising a new "border security command".

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