Modest manifesto sees Conservatives scrap tax cut promises – and the country facing a huge choice on the size of the state  

Commenting on the 2019 Conservative Manifesto published today (Sunday), Torsten Bell, Chief Executive of the Resolution Foundation, said:

“Brexit is happening, but big tax cuts aren’t. That is the short version of an already very short Conservative manifesto.

“Boris Johnson has chosen to break unwise leadership election promises of tax cuts totalling over £20 billion. Instead the Conservative manifesto commits to tax cuts of just £3.5 billion, principally to give most workers a national insurance cut worth up to £85 a year. The very lowest earners will not benefit at all, while those on Universal Credit will only gain up to £32 a year as much of the tax cut will be clawed back in lower benefits.

“Surprisingly this is actually a tax raising manifesto as both these tax cuts and proposals for £3 billion of extra day-to-day spending are paid for by scrapping a planned £6 billion cut to Corporation Tax.

“Austerity will end whoever wins this election, given previously announced increases to public service spending and Conservative manifesto plans for up to £20 billion of infrastructure spend. However, the country still faces a very big choice on the size of the state it wants in this election.

“Conservative plans for a £3 billion increase in current spending contrast with Labour’s proposed £83 billion increase – which has increased to £95 billion following today’s WASPI pledge.

“Labour are proposing a German-sized state of around 45 per cent of GDP, while the Conservatives are aiming to go Dutch at around 41 per cent. This would still amount to the biggest increase in the size of the state under a Conservative Prime Minister since Harold Macmillan.”