The Conservatives Overview
This is the first of a series of weekly blog posts giving an overview of each of the main eight political parties' manifestos ahead of the General Election.
As part of the current Coalition government, I had expected the Conservative Party’s manifesto to be readily available. However their website only contains rather vague policies and it took a fair amount of searching to find information on them, especially from a sustainability / green perspective.
There doesn't appear to have been any environmental policies made public for the upcoming General Election. The Party has recently come into dispute over their decision to carry out fracking around the country – especially since they have recently rejected a proposal for more stringent measures on what areas can be fracked under. The Conservatives support nuclear power as a way of providing energy to the UK. They are also in favour of renewing the Trident fleet so that they continue to be a credible deterrent.
The Conservatives have made some healthcare pledges, including increasing NHS funding, train 5,000 more GPs and ensure patients can access a GP from 8am to 8pm seven days a week by 2020. The NHS was not mentioned when David Cameron did a speech in January about his six priorities for the election, a choice which has been criticised as it is something that a lot of voters feel strongly about.
The younger generation of voters (under 25’s) has a mixture of policies aimed at them, some of which are beneficial and others of which are not. People under 21 will no longer be entitled to housing benefit and won’t receive Jobseekers Allowance for longer than 6 months unless they take part in unpaid community work. The Party are however planning on creating 3 million apprenticeships which are to be paid for by cutting benefits allowances. Housing is another area that the Party feels strongly about and they are planning to build 100,000 new homes for first-time buyers, which will be available at 20% below the market rate. Working-age people will see no increase in benefits they receive for two years, and the maximum amount a household can claim each year will be cut to £23,000. The threshold at which people start paying income tax will be raised to £12,500 by 2020.
The education system is one of the areas that the Conservatives will focus on, by protecting the schools budget for children up to age 16 and converting schools which are rated by Ofsted as 'requiring improvement' into academies, which have a different teaching structure.
Hopefully the Tories will make their manifesto more readily available before the Election, as this will allow voters to be more informed on where the Party stands on key issues.