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'Tis the season: What promises have the UK parties in store this Christmas election?

Let’s take a look in those manifestos.

OVER THE PAST 10 days, the three major parties in the UK have launched their general election manifestos.

We’ve had pledges, slogans and plenty of insults thrown into the public sphere during the campaign so far, but what exactly are the parties proposing?

We’ve concentrated on the three main parties because they have the greatest chance of being part of a government but will mention the others too.

Tomorrow evening we’ll be taking a closer look at how the election is playing out in Northern Ireland

Brexit

The big question of the day features in the Tories’ campaign slogan and is also literally the name of one of the parties.

Labour isn’t happy that Sky News have labelled this as ‘the Brexit election’ either, but all parties have to have a position on it and they do. 

It’s such a big issue for Ireland that we have a separate explainer detailing the Brexit stances of the parties, but in short they are essentially as follows.

The Conservatives

Leave the European Union with Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement by 31 January and complete free trade discussions by the close of 2020.

Johnson even wants his deal approved in parliament by Christmas if he wins.

Labour

Jeremy Corbyn’s party wants a second referendum.

Labour says it will renegotiate exit terms with Brussels by March in a way that includes a customs union and access to the single market.

This will then be put to the people in a referendum within six months that has Remain on the ballot paper.

Liberal Democrats

The party wants to stop Brexit altogether by revoking Article 50 if leader Jo Swinson wins a majority.

Otherwise, the party continue to push for a second referendum and extend the right to vote in referendums to EU citizens who have lived in the UK for five years.

Taxes

There have been some big spending plans outlined by the parties – but how will they pay for them?

The Conservatives

Johnson’s party wants to freeze the three major taxes – income tax, VAT and national insurance – as well as maintaining the corporation tax at 19%.

Labour

general-election-2019 Corbyn announcing his party's manifesto. Source: PA Images

Labour wants rises for big businesses in the form of an increase in corporation tax to 26%. The party also wants to increase in the rate of tax for those earning more than £80,000.

The party also wants to end the marriage tax allowance brought in under David Cameron which allows spouses transfer £1,250 worth of tax credits to their partner.

Liberal Democrats

It wants corporation tax to go up one point to 20%, a reform of the capital gains tax-free allowance and a scrapping of the marriage tax allowance.

Health

The future of the NHS is also a huge issue in the election amid claims that access to the UK’s health services could be a bargaining chip in post-Brexit trade negotiations with the US.

But what else is being promised?

The Conservatives

The party is planning an additional £34 billion (including inflation) for the NHS to spend annually by 2024.

This would lead to a promised 50,000 new nurses and another 50 million more GP appointments.

The nurses claim has already been subject to scrutiny, with 19,000 of those number already seemingly employed in the NHS.

Labour

A commitment to £40 billion extra in cash terms for the NHS by 2024, free annual dental care check-ups, free social care for all elderly people.

The party had already announced a return of nurse training bursaries and the end of hospital parking charges.

Liberal Democrats

Plan to raise £7 billion a year extra by putting a penny on income tax, with the money to be spent on the NHS and social care, treating mental health the same as physical health.

Environment

The Conservatives

Target of a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. A ban on sending recycling overseas and a promised investment of £9.2 billion to improve the energy efficiency of homes, schools and hospitals.

Labour

Plans for a so-called green industrial revolution’ designed to create one million jobs and 800,000 apprentices in renewable energy in the UK.

The party stopped short of signing up to net-zero by 2030 pledge but wants “substantial majority” of emissions reduced by then.

Introduction a publicly-owned energy company into the market.

Liberal Democrats

general-election-2019 Jo Swinson at the cidery in Gloucestershire. Source: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Insulating all of Britain’s homes by 2030, having at least 80% of UK electricity generated from renewables by 2030, banning fracking, planting 60 million trees a year, electrifying Britain’s railways and ensuring all new cars are electric by 2030.

Other parties and other eye-catching policies 

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has insisted there is “every chance” her party will hold the balance of power at Westminster after the election and has made several demands for that support.

Sturgeon says she will insist on the right to hold a second vote on Scottish independence as part of her party’s conditions.

In addition, SNP MPs would push for more powers to be devolved to Holyrood, including over drugs laws and employment rights, as well as the scrapping of “immoral” Trident nuclear weapons, which are currently housed by the Royal Navy in Scotland. 

Tweet by @The SNP Source: The SNP/Twitter

On Brexit, the Green Party are Remain party who are part of a pact with the Lib Dems and the Welsh Plaid Cymru.

The party would look to totally overhaul the use of fossil fuels by switching transport and industry to renewable energy sources, while upgrading household heating systems and planting 700 million trees within a decade.

The party wants to use the measures to create a net-zero carbon economy by 2030. 

Misogyny would be made a hate crime under a Green-led administration and the personal use of drugs, including some Class A substances, would be decriminalised.

The Green Party also wants to introduce a universal basic income, providing every UK citizen with £89 per week in state funding.

Tweet by @Alexandra Phillips MEP 💚🍉🌎 Source: Alexandra Phillips MEP 💚🍉🌎/Twitter

The Conservatives are proposing “an Australian-style points-based system” on immigration and is also promising £2 billion over four years to eradicate potholes on roads.

On education, the party wants to give head teachers more powers to decide on spending and discipline.

As well as its plans for free high-speed broadband for all under a public company, Labour also wants to take railways into public ownership.

The Lib Dems want to legislate for the legal sale of cannabis through licensed outlets with restrictions on potency levels.

- With reporting by Press Association

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Rónán Duffy

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