Five things we learned from the Conservative manifesto

What to expect from a Conservative government


1) There was ‘no detail’ on the really big cuts to come

Speaking to Sky News earlier, Paul Johnson of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said there was “no detail” of the “really big cuts” the Tories would make in the next parliament:

One thing the prime minister didn’t make too much of but did say, was that he was reaffirming a commitment to getting the overall budget into surplus by 2018. That implies something really dramatic – and we’re talking tens and tens of billions of pounds worth of spending cuts or tax increases even before you start to think about some of the promises that we’ve heard on the National Health Service, on increasing the personal tax allowance.

2) The Conservatives are unlikely to meet the 2 per cent Nato spending target

The manifesto contains only vague wording on this point, saying only that it is meeting the 2 per cent target at present. This is sophistry, for independent forecasts suggest that UK defence spending will fall below the 2 per cent target next year. The manifesto does nothing to assuage those fears. Ironic when David Cameron is playing on fears that Ed Miliband would be incapable of standing up to Russia. Tory austerity might be the real gift to Putin.

3) Free childcare plan and an increase in 

From 2017, the Conservatives want to give working parents 30 hours a week free childcare at a cost (according to the Tories) of £350m a year. Labour plans to give parents 25 hours free childcare but has already announced plans to expand Sure Start childcare places by 50,000.

4) People on the minimum wage will be taken out of income tax

In a pitch to coveted ‘hard working people’, the Tories have pledged to introduce a ‘tax-free minimum wage law as well as automatically uprate the basic rate limit with inflation. The Conservatives also plan to increase the higher rate threshold to £50,000 by April 2020. During his speech today, David Cameron said the Tories were “Not just the party of low tax, but the party of no tax.” Which would be fine of course, if the coalition hadn’t already increased VAT in this parliament – a tax which disproportionately hits the poorest.

5) Extending right to buy to housing association tenants

Should they win the election, the Conservatives plan to extend the right-to-buy scheme so that up to 1.3 million housing association tenants in England will be able to buy their homes at a discount. To quote our housing expert Kevin Gulliver (who is well worth reading on this):

Extending the right-to-buy to the country’s 2,000 charitable housing associations, which manage around 2.5m social homes, or around 60 per cent of the total, will confirm the Tories’ aim of furthering the demise of social housing. It will be a part of a wider Tory erosion of the welfare state.

Commenting on the announcement, chief executive of the National Housing Federation David Orr said:

All the efforts of housing associations, local authorities and others are geared towards ending this housing crisis by building new homes and regenerating existing homes where that is the best solution. The right to buy makes that more difficult.

James Bloodworth is the editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter

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15 Responses to “Five things we learned from the Conservative manifesto”

  1. 2catlady

    on the last item re: housing, how can the government force charities to sell houses they own. Is this some kind of compulsory purchase scheme? Also, if they can do this, could they also force private landlords to sell to longer term tenants?

  2. sarntcrip

    they can’t it’s a con!

  3. Leon Wolfeson

    By changing the law. And yes, that’s exactly what it is, a compulsory purchase scheme of charitable property.

    And yes, of course they could. Remember the UK’s uncodified constitution – the law of the land, “Parliamentary Sovereignty” means that Parliament can pass a law saying ANYTHING. So if you say “can they do this”, the answer is always “yes”.

  4. Leon Wolfeson

    Of course they can – Parliamentary Sovereignty!

  5. littleoddsandpieces


    A severe hung parliament, yougov poll April 9

    277 Labour

    264 Tories

    28 Lib Dems

    Means Tories stay in power in a caretaker government for 5 years.

    Even if call a second general election in 6 months, ever lower voter turnout and get a TORY / LABOUR coalition, with no party left over on the opposition save a flying visit from 59 SNP and a couple or so Plaid Cymru.

    VOTE DIFFERENT Thursday 7 May


    Vote SNP in Scotland – 59 MPs

    Vote Plaid Cymru in Wales – 40 MPs

    Vote Mebyon Kernow in Cornwall – 6 MPs (all of Cornwall, reduces Tory and Lib Dems in marginals single figure votes got them into the job)

    Vote TUSC in England – 113 MPs


    National Health Action party – 13 MPs
    (votes out Stafford Tory Lefroy, Health Minister Jeremy Hunt and Prime Minister Cameron)

    Double dole and pension – about 12 MPs

    SOCIALIST GB – about 10 MPs

    THE LEFT UNITY PARTY – about 10 MPs

    These are 6,7,8,9 on the ballot sheet and the msot parties listed in voting lists for MPs.

    TUSC are also running 1000 councillor candidates on 7 May.

    400 MP and above majority government, that includes about 190 Labour MPs, but awash with guaranteed anti austerity MPs, mostly on average wage.

    Only way to lock the Tories and Lib Dems out of power into a minority government in a small opposition, unable to fight reverse welfare cuts and abolition of the state pension.

  6. Gerschwin

    ‘We provide evidence-based analysis on British politics, policy, and current affairs’ – balls.

    One article extolling the virtues of Labour’s new manifesto.
    Another one to say how awful the Tory one is.
    You’re just a cheap propaganda mouth piece.

  7. Gerschwin

    No one’s reading this.

  8. Confused

    Why vote for a range of tiny left-wing parties, many of which are single-issue, when you could vote for an international left-wing party with current representatives at all scales, a proven track record at all scales and a fully-costed manifesto, which is the third largest in the UK – the Greens? Bizarre…

  9. Guest

    So much more expensive than you then.

  10. Guest

    And you’re no-one, see how that works out?

  11. Leon Wolfeson

    A proven track record of trying to hike up power prices for the poor and a track record of rejecting science, etc?


  12. Gerschwin

    Pretty well Leon given you read it too. Oopsy Leon… didn’t think about that one did you!? Love it.

  13. Gerschwin

    Ouchy, ouchy Leon – do you need a cuddle? Are you feeling a little bruised? My poor baby.

  14. Guest

    I’m not the one making a big deal out of it, and keep those hands to yourself lover-boy.

  15. Guest

    Hands off – for that matter, that’s a threat. Go away, cheapass merchant.

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