General election 2019: labor calls conservatives' 50000 nurses pledge 'frankly deceitful' – live news – the guardian, google news

Tax and pay analysis: Plans to raise minimum wage and end benefits freeze not new

Richard Partington

A glaring omission is an increase in the higher-rate income tax threshold, which could anger Tory voters. The prime minister appears to have concluded that this tax cut for the rich would prove an electoral mistake.

The triple tax lock is similar to Laborour promise not to raise income taxes, VAT and national insurance, although Jeremy Corbyn’s party will target the top 5% of earners.

Such constraints could be unwise if the government finds it needs to raise more money to fund public services. Any chancellor could also be hamstrung in an economic downturn.

The big promise to cut national insurance comes with a £ 2.5bn price tag, according to the manifesto costing document. However, Johnson has been warned that an ambition to take the threshold all the way up to £ 12, 500 would come with an even heftier price tag of around £ 6bn more – a figure missing from the five-year plan at present.

Plans to raise the minimum wage are nothing new, nor is a promise to end the benefits freeze. It was always set to lift in 2020 after four years, though has caused significant damage, costing seven million families an average of £ 560 each per year.


Guardianbreak down the detail of the Conservative manifesto. Read our analysis on pledges from £ 34 bn extra for the NHS to the “getBrexitdone ”vow

Transport and energy: Not much of the promised ‘transport revolution’ is new

Hilary Osborne

The manifesto promises a “transport revolution” but not much of it is new and it was pot holes which made the headlines before the launch, with £ 2bn pledged to filling them over the next four years. This is considerably more than the £ 500 m allocated to a “reversing Beeching fund” for railways, but to meet that promise experts say they will need more funds. It also dwarfs the money being pledged for infrastructure to support electric vehicles – £ 600 m over six years – and an investment of £ 350 m in cycling.

The £ 29 bn investment in strategic roads sounds very like moneypledged back in 2018 by the then chancellor, Philip Hammond, rather than new money, and does not appear in the costings document.

The manifesto pledge on broadband confirms that the Conservatives have rowed back on a previous promise made by Boris Johnson toinstall full-fiber broadband to every home and business by 2025.

That’s been replaced by the promise of “full-fiber and gigabit-capable” broadband, which is still ambitious but will be easier to achieve than the original plan and still provide faster speeds for consumers.

NHS: Johnson’s key pledges proven to be problematic

Jamie Grierson

The NHS has undoubtedly been the main domestic issue of the campaign so far, with attempts at spending one-upmanship between the Tories, Labor and the Lib Dems and claims that a post-Brexit US trade deal would allow the NHS to be put “up for sale” dominating coverage outside ofBrexit.

But some of Johnson’s keyNHSpledges have proven to be problematic. The prime minister’s claim that the government will build 40 new hospitals rapidly fell apart in late September, although the PM continues to push the misleading assertion. The government has confirmed that six existing hospitals in England are being given £ 2.7bn by 2025 as part of the program – an upgrade rather than a fresh build. Another 21 hospital trusts are being given £ 100 m in seed funding to prepare a business case for their hospitals – but no money for any actual building work. The work would then start between 2025 and 2030.

And on manifesto launch day, the pledge to recruit 50, 000 nurses was immediately thrown into doubt when it emerged 19, 000 of them would be “retained” staff and 12, 000 would be from overseas.


Foreign police and defense: Manifesto lacks firm pledge to maintain overall size of the armed forces

Jamie Grierson

As he presented the manifesto,Boris Johnsonmoved fast to put to bed reports that troop numbers could be cut under a Conservative government. According to the Sunday Times, defense chiefs are discussing plans to slash the size of the British Army amid fears they will face further cuts. But asked by reporters if troops would be cut, Johnson replied with a firm no.

It is correct, however, that the manifesto does not include a firm pledge to “maintain the overall size of the armed forces”, as it did under Theresa May in 2017. The 2015 Tory manifesto pledged to keep the Army’s strength at minimum of 82 , 000 but that commitment was dropped – with the Army hovering around 73, 000.

The manifesto maintains the commitment to spend 0.7% of GDP on overseas aid but does little to assuage fears that Johnson plans to alter the way in which the aid budget is spent.

Updated (at 1.) PM EST

IFS on Conservative manifesto: Lack of significant policy action ‘remarkable’

TheInstitute for Fiscal Studies(IFS) has accused theConservativesof pushing a “Fundamentally damaging narrative” in promising more money for health, pensions and schools without raising the money in tax, NIC or VAT to pay for them.

Commenting on the Conservative Party manifesto, Paul Johnson, IFS Director, said :

If theLaborand Liberal Democrat manifestos were notable for the scale of their ambitions the Conservative one is not. If a single Budget had contained all these tax and spending proposals we would have been calling it modest. As a blueprint for five years in government the lack of significant policy action is remarkable.

In part that is because the chancellor announced some big spending rises back In September. Other than for health and schools, though, that was a one-off increase. Taken at face value today’s manifesto suggests that for most services, in terms of day-to-day spending, that’s it. Health and school spending will continue to rise. Give or take pennies, other public services, and working age benefits, will see the cuts to their day-to-day budgets of the last decade baked in.

One notable omission is any plan for social care. In his first speech as prime ministerBoris Johnsonpromised to “fix the crisis in social care once and for all”. After two decades of dither by both parties in government it seems we are no further forward.

On the tax side the rise in the National Insurance threshold was well trailed. The ambition for it to get to £ 12, 500 may remain, but only the initial rise to £ 9, 500 has been costed and firmly promised. Most in paid work would benefit, but by less than £ 2 a week. Another £ 6 billion would need to be found to get to £ 12, 500 by the end of the parliament. Given the pressures on the spending side that is not surprising.

Perhaps the biggest, and least welcome, announcement is the “triple tax lock”: no increases in rates of income tax, NICs or VAT. That’s a constraint the chancellor may come to regret. It is also part of a fundamentally damaging narrative – that we can have the public services we want, with more money for health and pensions and schools – without paying for them. We can’t.

Business analysis: Company bosses likely to welcome this manifesto

Richard Partington

Johnson has not always had the smoothest relationship with business, given his infamous remarks about theirBrexitconcerns, though company bosses are likely to broadly welcome this manifesto.

The CBI said firms would be “heartened by a pro-enterprise vision” and praised the £ 3bn national skills fund for training workers. But there are questions about the impact of Brexit for firms that are yet to be answered.

Johnson’s decision to scrap the planned corporation tax cut has gone down badly with some Tory supporters.

Ever since the 1980 s the Tories have argued business tax cuts boost the economy and swell the public purse. The headline rate of corporation tax has been slashed since 2010 from 28% to 19% and receipts have increased, but economists believe economic recovery and crackdowns on tax avoidance are the real reasons.

Britain also now has among the lowest corporate tax rates in the developed world. The prime minister has been told further cuts would have little impact beyond damaging the public finances, including from George Osborne’s former special adviser, Rupert Harrison.Laboralso has a sharply contrasting plan, promising to raise the headline rate to 26%, in a clear election dividing line.

A review of business rates could be a double-edged sword. Companies could save millions of pounds from reforms to a system widely regarded to be broken. Retailers in particular have lobbied hard for cuts, saying the tax is among reasons for shop closures and job losses on the high street. But councils have grown more reliant on business rates revenue amid cuts to central government funding. Further cuts present additional challenges.

Georgina Hayes will now be taking over the live blog

Conservative pledges: Australian-style immigration proposal is light on detail

Jamie Grierson

Along with “the will of the people”, “north London metropolitan elite” and “take back control”, “Australian-style points-based system” has become well established in the lexicon of Brexiter bingo. Nigel Farage has been banging on about the fabled approach for many years. Now the offer has reached the mainstream political offer, with the Tories ’pledging to adopt the framework in the UK.

It is unusual that the party has included this pledge before hearing back from the Migration Advisory Committee (Mac), which has been asked by the home secretary, Priti Patel, to review the feasibility of introducing an Australian- style points-based system in the UK.

Beyond this, the detail remains light. The manifesto states that “most people coming into the country will need a clear job offer”. This already deviates from the Australian system in that one of the key features of that approach is that a job offer is not required. What will points be issued for? The manifesto mentions English language and “good education” – the Australian system is far more complex.

Labor: Tory nurses pledge is deceitful

The shadow health secretary,Jonathan Ashworth, has criticized the Conservative manifesto pledge on 50, 000 extra nurses.

Of the 50, 000, 12, 000 would come from abroad, 14, 000 would be new undergraduate students, 5, 000 would do degree apprenticeships and 19, 000 are nurses who would otherwise have left the profession, but who the Conservatives hope to “retain”.

“The Conservatives’ claim on nurses is frankly deceitful – the sums simply don’t add up. First we had Johnson’s fake 40 new hospitals, now we have his fake 50, 000 extra nurses’, ”said Ashworth.

Matt Hancock and Tory ministers forced through the abolition of the bursary partly causing the nursing crisis afflicting our NHS today. The new damaging Tory nurses’ tax on European nurses will make it impossible to deliver the nurses ourNHSneeds.

Laborwill deliver over 50, 000 new nurses through bringing back the bursary and allowing ethical international recruitment.


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Conservative pledges: Brexit plan not as ‘oven-ready’ as it appears

Richard Partington

The central mantra of “getBrexitdone ”runs through the Tory manifesto like a stick of rock, but there are major questions about how oven-ready Johnson’s plan really is.

The document commits to negotiating a trade deal with the EU next year, and not to extend the implementation period beyond December 2020 – effectively leaving the prospect of a disruptive no-deal Brexit firmly on the table.

Johnson could argue this strengthens his hand with Brussels, but leading trade experts warn that international agreements are fiendishly complex and can take several years to conclude. The prime minister will argue Britain and the EU are in close alignment, so precedents for lengthy trade talks do not apply. But there are risks to his approach.

Talks cannot legally begin until the UK leaves the EU, currently scheduled for (January – leaving only) months to strike a deal to avoid no- deal Brexit. Theresa May had originally envisaged two years of talks. Experts say that on average, it takes 48 months to negotiate any trade deal, while a deal between Canada and the EU took seven years.

The manifesto is further complicated by an aim to negotiate free trade deals with countries accounting for 80% of UK trade within three years. Talks with the USA, Australia and Japan are planned first, “negotiated in parallel with our EU deal”. But experts say priority will need to be made, as a deal with one trade partner could affect what can be negotiated with another.

The recipe for Johnson’s oven-ready Brexit plan extends far beyond this election, to the end of 2020 and beyond.


And this from our media editor,Jim Waterson.

Jim Waterson(@ jimwaterson)

Not much on media in the Conservative manifesto:
* Says BBC is to blame for over – 75 s license fee mess
* Confirms no Leveson 2
* New gambling act to address issues around loot boxes in games
* Pledge to regulate web but protect free speech
* This weird bit on BBC as a tool of the

(November) , 2019


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