Conservative Party launches manifesto
The manifesto focuses on five key areas:
Lower tax and value for money: The party plans to make up to £12 billion of savings annually by reducing beurocracy such as quangos. £8 billion will reduce previous deficit, and £4 billion of tax cuts will be made, especially to what have been called "stealth taxes". The party promised that funding for education, health, transport and international development would not be cut, and spending on police, defence and pensions would be increased.
Flexible childcare and school discipline: The manifesto promised an increase in maternity pay and more choice of childcare. Under a conservative government more independence over expulsions and admissions would be given to school heads and governors. Special schools for disruptive pupils would be created, and more vocational courses would be created for 14-16 year olds.
Better healthcare and cleaner hospitals: A major feature of the coservative campaign has been hospital sourced infections, and in respose the party have promised to introduce ward matrons charged with keeping hospitals clean, with the authority to close wards with MRSA infections. A Conservative government would contribute funding towards operations in private hospitals. Econimic migrants with HIV or TB would not be allowed to live or work in Britain.
Safer communities and more police: A Conservative government would increase police recruitment by 5,000 a year. The manifesto promised to increase prison terms and increase Britain's prison capacity by 20,000 places. The party would reverse the Labour government's decision to relax laws prohibiting Canabis use.
Secure borders and controlled immigration: The manifesto proposes a new border police at Britain's busiest air and sea ports, with 24 hour surveilance. The party would set a quota on economic migrants and reject asylym-seekers who are not vetted by the UNHCR.
Party leader Michael Howard summed up the manifesto: "If you long for cleaner hospitals, more police, school discipline, controlled immigration, lower taxes and accountability - you can vote for it, on 5 May", accusing prime-minister Tony Blair, who is campaigning for his third term, of letting the country down.
The manifesto has been criticised by the Labour Chancellor, Gordon Brown, for being unrealistic in its extimates of savings, and in predictions of economic growth resulting from tax cuts, calculating that there would be approximately £18 billion annual deficits.
Labour's election strategist, Alan Millburn, said that the manifesto shows that the Conservatives still stand for privilege and not opertunity, and described it as the shortest suicide note in political history.
The Deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Menzies Campbell, claimed that claimed that £5.5 to 8 billion of cuts were unrealistic. Charles Kennedy said that voters had already decided the Conservative Party could not run public services.
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- Nicholas Watt. "Conservative vision for a better Britain" — , April 12
- "Tories launch election manifesto" — , April 12
- Rosemary Bennett. "Howard sets out a slimmed down vision of the future" — , April 12