The manifestos of the three major national parties offer the most sharply differing visions of the future of Britain seen in recent elections.
Here are the main proposals in some of the most important policy areas, including some that relate only to England:
Labour says it would hit the top 5% of earners – those on more than £80,000 – with an income tax increase. Corporation tax would also be hiked from its current 19% up to 26% by 2020-21. In all, Labour plans to take an extra £48.6 billion a year in taxes to fund its spending programme. The party also aims to bring Royal Mail and train companies back into state control and establish publicly owned energy firms. Labour has a target of eliminating the government’s deficit on day-to-day spending within five years.
The Liberal Democrats would put 1p on income tax to boost funding for the NHS. Corporation tax would increase to 20%. A programme of capital investment would stimulate growth across the UK. The Lib Dems would eliminate the deficit on day-to-day spending by 2020 to control the national debt, and then borrow only to invest.
Conservatives promise not to raise VAT over the course of the parliament and say it is their “firm intention” to reduce taxes on businesses and working families. They would increase the earnings threshold for income tax to £12,500 and the higher rate to £50,000 by 2020. Corporation tax would be cut to 17%. They also offer long-term reform to business rates. The deficit would be eliminated by 2025 and an industrial strategy would aim to stimulate the economy in all parts of the UK.
Labour would replace the Tories’ Brexit white paper with “fresh negotiating priorities” with a strong emphasis on retaining the benefits of the single market and customs union, rejecting the idea of leaving without a deal. Labour would immediately guarantee existing rights for all EU nationals in Britain. There would be “fair rules and reasonable management of migration” but no “bogus” targets to cut numbers coming to the UK.
The Lib Dems would give the UK a second referendum on any Brexit deal, with the option of voting to stay in the EU. Tim Farron’s party would keep the UK in the single market and customs union. The manifesto commits to supporting the principle of freedom of movement in the EU and the Lib Dems would make the “positive case” for immigration.
Conservatives would take the UK out of the single market and customs union as part of a Brexit deal. They would also seek to forge “a deep and special partnership” with the remaining EU, based on a comprehensive free trade and customs agreement. They would negotiate a “fair” settlement of the UK’s liabilities, but rule out “vast annual contributions” to EU budgets. The Human Rights Act would not be repealed while the Brexit process is under way. Tories would aim to reduce net migration below 100,000 annually.
Under Labour’s plans the NHS would receive more than £30 billion in extra funding over the five years of the next parliament, with one million people be taken off waiting lists by guaranteeing access to treatment within 18 weeks. Parking in hospitals would be free, paid for by increasing tax on private medical insurance premiums.
The Lib Dems’ penny on income tax would fund a £6.3 billion boost in spending on NHS and social care. Waiting time standards for mental health would match physical health and there would be an integration of the NHS and social care systems.
Conservatives would increase NHS spending by a minimum of £8 billion in real terms over the next five years, with higher funding per head for every year of the parliament. The party would make it a priority in Brexit talks to ensure that the NHS’s 140,000 EU national staff are able to continue working. Extra funds for social care would be provided by means-testing pensioners’ winter fuel payments and individuals would have a £100,000 protection against care costs. The health surcharge for migrant workers would be increased to £600 and for students £450, to cover the cost of their use of the NHS.
Labour would create a “national education service” for England. University tuition fees would be scrapped and maintenance grants reintroduced, at a cost of £11.2 billion. Class sizes for five to seven-year-olds would be reduced to less than 30.
The Lib Dems would spend an extra £7 billion on education, increasing school budgets and the pupil premium for disadvantaged children. There would be a fairer national funding formula, opposition to new grammar schools, and control for local councils over admissions and new schools.
The Conservatives would end the ban on selective state schools to open the way for new grammars. They would build at least 100 new free schools a year and require universities to sponsor academies or free schools as a condition of charging maximum tuition fees. Overall schools budget to be increased by £4 billion by 2022. Free school lunches to be means-tested, while free breakfasts would be offered to all primary children.