Conservative manifesto: The new pledges

A glance at the new pledges contained in today's Conservative manifesto, as party praises the "impartial, professional and highly capable civil service"

By matt.foster

14 Apr 2015

Key new Conservative pledges contained in the 2015 manifesto:
  • The manifesto pledges to extend the Right to Buy to Housing Association properties. The policy would offer the same discounts to housing association tenants that are currently reserved for local authority homes. It would be paid for by requiring councils to sell off their most expensive houses, which would then be replaced by building cheaper buildings.
  • The party says it would introduce a new law to ensure that no one working for thirty hours or fewer on the minimum wage is liable to pay income tax. It says it would legislate to ensure that the Personal Allowance rises in line with the National Minimum Wage under a new 'Tax Free Minimum Wage Law' to be included in the first post-election budget. Also trailed on Sunday was a plan to lift the inheritance tax threshold for couples to £1m  by 2017. The party has previously said it will not increase VAT, income tax or national insurance in the next parliament. 
  • The party commits to providing 30 hours of free childcare to working parents of three and four-year-olds, paid for by curbing tax relief on pensions.
  • As announced at the weekend, the Conservatives say they will "spend at least an additional £8bn by 2020 over and above inflation to fund and support" the NHS as outlined in chief executive Simon Stevens' Five Year Forward view. 

Civil service mentions:

  • Like Labour's manifesto, the Conservative document makes two specific references to the civil service. In the first, the party talks up its record under the Efficiency and Reform programme, and reiterates the plans for the programme set out last year. It says: "We have reduced the cost of government, by selling empty buildings, managing big projects better, shrinking the civil service, reforming pensions, moving more services online, and improving contracting. We plan a further £10 billion annual savings by 2017-18 and £15-20 billion in 2019-20."
  • The party says it values "our outstanding public servants". The manifesto adds: "Britain's impartial, professional and highly capable civil service is admired around the world and one of our nation's strengths. But it stresses that it will continue to "push ahead" with civil service reform to make it more "dynamic and streamlined", and promises to "tackle all the bureaucracy of Whitehall that clogs the arteries of government".
  • The party says it will make recruitment to the civil service "more open and actively look for exceptional talent" and will "continue to sell unneeded government property and co-locate services
    wherever possible".

Stay tuned to CSW this week for a full, in-depth analysis of what the Conservatives' plans could mean for the civil service. You can read a detailed look at Labour's plans here, and find out about its plans to improve Fast Stream diversity here.

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