On the eve of polling day, most will have made up their minds – siding with “strong and stable” Conservatives, Labour, “for the many, not the few”, or other parties who better represent their views. But what are the parties actually promising? With youth voter turnout at record lows, here’s one to help the undecided contingent.
Conservatives: Withdrawal from the single market is at the crux of the Tories Brexit plan. For the third successive campaign, the Conservatives advocate to bring net migration down to the tens of thousands from the current level of 248,000. Brexit Secretary, David Davis is also keen to guarantee the rights of British nationals living within the European Union before guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens living in Britain.
Labour: Labour accept the result of the referendum and also believe that the UK cannot be members of the single market. This was confirmed by Jeremy Corbyn in an interview with Andrew Neil on March 29th. Freedom of movement will also end under Labour. Despite this, Labour would “unilaterally guarantee” the status of EU nationals living in the UK. Keir Starmer, shadow Brexit secretary wants to put the economy before control of immigration so does not want to sever ties with Europe.
UKIP: UKIP set out six ‘Brexit tests’ : An end the supremacy of the European Court of Justice, for Britain to have full control of immigration and border patrol, and in order to do this UKIP propose a ‘one-in, one-out’ immigration policy. They also believe that the UK should have full maritime sovereignty and the UK should retake its seat on the World Trade Organisation (as currently the UK is represented by the EU). UKIP believe Britain should not have to pay a divorce bill and that the Brexit process must be completed by 2019.
Liberal Democrats: Protecting Britain’s place in Europe encapsulates the Liberal Democrat attitude towards Brexit. The Liberal Democrats believe a referendum on the contents of the deal should occur. If the deal was rejected, then Britain would remain a member of the European Union. The Liberal Democrats want to keep the UK in the single market and protect both the rights of EU nationals in the UK and British citizens abroad.
Green Party: The Greens echo the case of a referendum on the contents of the deal. They also adopt the same rhetoric as Labour by guaranteeing the status of EU nationals living in the UK. The Greens oppose the government’s withdrawal from the single market as co-leader Jonathan Bartley describes freedom of movement as a ‘wonderful gift to my generation that is being robbed from the next’.
Education & Tuition Fees
Conservatives: The Conservatives will end the ban on selective school education, increasing the number of Grammar schools. A Conservative government will see the introduction of a single jobs portal within the education sector, something of which is used currently in the NHS. This will allow schools to advertise vacancies, designed to reduce costs and increase the quality of teachers.
Labour: The key education policy is the abolition of tuition fees. Labour’s intention is to implement the policy from September 2017 , costing approximately at £9.5bn. Labour would also intend to reintroduce the Maintenance Grant. In the longer term, Labout plans to create a National Education System centred around lifelong learning. Labour would reintroduce the Educational Maintenance Allowance for low income 16 and 17-year-olds. Labour oppose the Tories’ plan to end the ban on Grammar school education and would not force underperforming schools to become academies.
Liberal Democrats: The Lib Dems will invest nearly £7bn more in schools and colleges over the next Parliament. The Liberal Democrats would protect per pupil funding in real terms, which equates to £3.3bn and would protect further education per pupil funding, which equates to £660m. The party would protect the pupil premium and reverse the Government’s aspiration towards funding for new grammar schools.
UKIP: UKIP would block the opening of new Muslim schools, until, according to the party, more progress has been made integrating Muslims into mainstream society. UKIP intend to open a grammar school in every town and would scrap tuition fees for science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine students. Following Brexit, a UKIP government would stop offering student loans to EU nationals.
Green Party: The Greens justify their education policy by describing the current system as “wasting children’s potential and stifling creativity“. They support the abolishment of tuition fees as well as a comprehensive system of local school offering mixed ability teaching. The Greens would bring academies and free schools into the Local Authority System.
Conservatives: There is a commitment for £8bn to be invested into the NHS over the course of the Parliament. The Conservatives would also prioritise the retention of the 140,000 NHS staff who were recruited within the EU-27. The Conservatives support the Five Year Forward View, a framework which determines how NHS England should be organised. They pledge to retain the 95% A&E target and ensure that cancer services will deliver the diagnoses within a 28 day period by 2020.
Labour: Labour is committed to over £30bn of NHS funding throughout the course of the Parliament. Labour’s attitude towards Brexit is reflected since they advocate to immediately guarantee the rights of EU staff working in health services. Labour will ring-fence mental health budgets in general but will increase the proportion of mental health budgets spent on support for children and young people.
Liberal Democrats: The Liberal Democrats will protect the NHS budget in the next Parliament. The Liberal Democrats are wholly committed to one of the founding principles of the NHS: they will ensure access is based on need on not the ability to pay. The Liberal Democrats will reform the NHS payment system, so there is better integration of hospital and community care services. This will include better access to technology and services, designed to help people on a local scale.
UKIP: UKIP would invest an extra £11bn every year into the NHS, giving an additional £9 billion by 2021/22 to NHS England. UKIP would increase the number of nurse training placements and reinstate bursaries to cover nursing, midwifery and professions affiliated with healthcare. UKIP would also make a commitment to increase spending on mental health by at least £500 million every year.
Green Party: The Green Party want a publicly funded, publicly provided health service free at the point of use. The Greens categorically oppose privatisation of elements within the NHS, with a desire to end privatisation in health as well as repealing the Coalition’s Health and Social Care Act 2012. Under a Green government, there would a be a major investment in social care for the elderly and greater funding for sexual health awareness campaigns.
Conservatives: The party is committed to the 2% contributions towards NATO in order to protect the realm, overseas territories and interests. Defence spending would also increase by at least 0.5% more than the rate of inflation under a Conservative government. The Conservatives also intend to maintain the size of the armed forces.
Labour: Labour pledge a complete review of defence and security. However, the party is committed to renewing Trident – Britain’s nuclear deterrent, despite Corbyn voting against in a Commons debate in the summer of 2016. Labour want to work with international organisations, particularly the UN in order to achieve multilateral disarmament. Similar to the Conservatives, Labour is also committed to the 2% of GDP contribution expected by NATO members towards defence.
Liberal Democrats: The Liberal Democrats are committed to spending 2% of GDP on defence. They would maintain a minimum nuclear deterrent. There would be a greater focus on cybercrime, through investing in counter cyber terrorism. In order to respond to terrorist threats, the party would work with international partners and seek new methods to bring an end to the civil war in Syria. A Liberal Democrat government would suspend UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia as a consequence of breaching International Humanitarian Law in the Middle East.
UKIP: Similar to the three parties above, UKIP echo the rhetoric of spending 2% of GDP on defence but also propose to dedicate £1bn to the defence budget every year. UKIP is also committed to the retention of the Trident nuclear deterrent. UKIP would fund 20,000 more police officers, 7,000 more prison officers and 4,000 more border force staff. UKIP would deport as many as the 13,000 foreign nationals in UK jails back to their home countries to serve their sentences.
Green Party: The Greens manifesto does not directly mention defence spending. However, the Greens would end the support for “aggressive wars of intervention”. Trident would be scrapped; this would generate savings of at least £110bn over the next 30 years.