Sunak Promises National Insurance Cut as Tories Launch Manifesto

The Conservative Party has launched its 76-page manifesto with a promise to lower national insurance further and abolish stamp duty altogether.
Sunak Promises National Insurance Cut as Tories Launch Manifesto
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (C) and his wife Akshata Murty (in yellow) at the launch of the Conservative Party general election manifesto at Silverstone race track in Northamptonshire, England, on June 11, 2024. (James Manning/PA)
Chris Summers
6/11/2024
Updated:
6/11/2024
0:00

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has unveiled the Conservative Party’s general election manifesto, which promises to cut national insurance by a further 2 pence in the pound and aspires to abolish it altogether.

The Tory manifesto says that if they win the July 4 election they will “cut tax for workers by taking another 2p off employee national insurance” and adds, “The next step in our long-term ambition [is] to end the double tax on work when financial conditions allow.”

Launching the manifesto at Silverstone race track in Northamptonshire—which will host the British Grand Prix next month—Mr. Sunak said, “The last few years have been some of the toughest our country has faced in decades.”

“We were hit by COVID-19 and the invasion of Ukraine, but economic stability is now returning. Inflation back to normal. Real wages have been rising for almost a year now, and the economy growing healthily again,” he added.

Mr. Sunak said: “So the question now is who is best to turn that foundation into a secure future for you, your family, and our country? This manifesto is our clear plan for the United Kingdom.”

In the manifesto the Conservatives have pledged:
  • To “halve migration as we have halved inflation and then reduce it every single year.”
  • To “scrap entirely the main rate of self-employed national insurance.”
  • To deliver 1.6 million new homes by speeding up planning on brownfield sites in inner cities and “scrapping defective EU laws.”
In the document the Tories say, “We will cut employee national insurance to 6 percent by April 2027, meaning that we will have halved it from 12 percent at the beginning of this year, a total tax cut of £1,350 for the average worker on £35,000.”

£17 Billion of Tax Cuts Paid For by Curbing Welfare Payments

The total tax cuts announced in the manifesto would cost the country £17.2 billion by 2029–30, and Mr. Sunak said it would be paid for by reducing the rise in welfare, which he said was “unsustainable.”

The prime minister said, “Labour, by contrast, will introduce a retirement tax, meaning that for those who rely entirely on the new state pension, would be caught by income tax for the first time ... your pension simply isn’t safe with the Labour Party.”

The Tories say they will introduce a “triple lock plus” which will raise the personal allowance for pensioners by at least 2.5 percent or in line with the highest of earnings or wages, in order to protect the state pension from becoming taxable.
The manifesto also confirms previous plans to introduce mandatory national service for 18-year-olds, who would be required to choose between taking a 12-month placement in the armed forces or “volunteer” work in their community one weekend a month for a year.

National service was abolished in 1960.

He also confirmed plans to amend the Equality Act to “protect single sex spaces” such as public toilets and introduce legislation to clarify that the protected characteristic of sex in the Equality Act means “biological sex.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak launches the Conservative Party general election manifesto at Silverstone, England, on June 11, 2024. (James Manning/PA)
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak launches the Conservative Party general election manifesto at Silverstone, England, on June 11, 2024. (James Manning/PA)
In his speech the prime minister returned to a common theme of his election campaign, that he is the man to be trusted in a turbulent world, when there is a war in Europe, turmoil in the Middle East, and “China flexing its muscles in the South China Sea.”

Sunak Promises Cap on Migration

Mr. Sunak said Britain had taken control of its borders since Brexit but he said immigration was still too high and he promised to bring in a cap on migration, with a level set by Parliament.

He claimed Labour, which has said it would scrap the government’s Rwanda policy, had no plan of its own to tackle illegal immigration.

Speaking directly to voters, Mr. Sunak said: “Just think about what Labour would mean—higher taxes for every working household. Can you afford £2,000 more in taxes, French-style labour laws that will lead to higher unemployment and more strikes, a ballooning welfare bill, higher immigration, and more net zero costs.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrives with his wife Akshata Murty for the launch the Conservative Party general election manifesto at Silverstone race track in Northamptonshire, England, on June 11, 2024. (James Manning/PA Wire)
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrives with his wife Akshata Murty for the launch the Conservative Party general election manifesto at Silverstone race track in Northamptonshire, England, on June 11, 2024. (James Manning/PA Wire)

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, during a visit to Middlesbrough, said his party’s manifesto had been fully costed and he criticised the Tories, saying they are “building this sort of Jeremy Corbyn-style manifesto where anything you want can go in it.”

Sir Keir—who was part of the shadow cabinet which produced the Labour manifesto when Jeremy Corbyn was leader in 2019—said of the Tory manifesto: “None of it is costed. It’s a recipe for more of the same.”

Farage Says Tory Manifesto Is ‘More Lies’

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage, on his way to campaign in South Yorkshire, described the Tory manifesto launch as “more lies, more lies.”
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer (R) and shadow health secretary Wes Streeting (L) visiting a school in Middlesbrough, England, on June 11, 2024. (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer (R) and shadow health secretary Wes Streeting (L) visiting a school in Middlesbrough, England, on June 11, 2024. (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Mr. Farage said: “In 2010, 2015, 2017, 2019 they told us they would reduce immigration and they’ll be saying the same thing today.”

“They’re also saying today they’re going to reduce tax. Well, hang on. The tax burden has now risen. It’s the highest it’s been since 1948,” he added.

Mr. Farage said of Mr. Sunak, “If it wasn’t a general election, he’d been gone by now.”

The Liberal Democrats launched their manifesto on Monday and Labour is set to produce its on Thursday, with Reform UK waiting until next week.
PA Media contributed to this report.
Chris Summers is a UK-based journalist covering a wide range of national stories, with a particular interest in crime, policing and the law.