With the UK general elections fast approaching, Theresa May’s Tory Party released this week its Conservative Manifesto, laying out its platform of proposals for if it remains in power.
Overall, mainstream analysts regarded May’s proposals and the wording used within the 88-page document as a departure from Thatcher’s worldview and the birth of Mayism or a more modern, up-to-date version of “strong conservatism.”
As way of example, the Conservative Manifesto, in one of its more noteworthy departures from traditional Tory politics, says, "We do not believe in untrammelled free markets…we reject the cult of selfish individualism. We abhor social division, injustice, unfairness and inequality. We see rigid dogma and ideology not just as needless but dangerous."
As expressed by George Eaton for the NewStateman, May's goal as presented in the Conservative Manifesto is “to bury dogmatic Thatcherism” and “rehabilitate [an] older strain of Conservative thinking” that believes in the role of government and cares for the country’s citizens.
Andrew Grice for The Independent writes that Theresa May’s overarching objective via this Conservative Manifesto “means colonising the centre ground helpfully vacated by Labour while protecting her right flank by denying any oxygen to Ukip as it gasps for breath.”
The Guardian’s Martin Kettle goes a step further, writing that May’s Conservative Manifesto is “in all but name a repudiation of the Thatcherism that dominated the Tory party for more than a decade and that is still the reflexive ideological stance for very large numbers of Tory MPs.”
Business leaders, on the other hand, were not entirely happy with May’s proposals, many of them believing her administration was not paying them enough attention.
Terry Scuoler, CEO of manufacturers’ organization EEF, told The Financial Times, “The cost of doing business, the deregulation agenda, has slipped off the radar and needs to come back to the fore of government thinking…It is after all companies that generate wealth.”
Taxation in May’s Conservative Manifesto
In terms of taxes, May’s Conservative Manifesto is rather vague, maintaining its general stance that lower taxes are preferred.
As highlighted in the document, Theresa May’s administration believes "The Conservatives will always be the party that keeps tax as low as possible and spends the proceeds responsibly.”
Furthermore, it says, "It is our firm intention to reduce taxes on Britain’s businesses and working families."
The Guardian reports that the May administration “commits to implementing a promise to increase the income tax personal allowance to £12,500 and the higher rate to £50,000 by 2020.”
Furthermore, the Tory party “will also stick to a plan to reduce corporation tax to 17% by 2020 and to reform the business rates system” so that it can better cater to people who do online shopping.
More importantly, May will push aside former Prime Minister David Cameron’s five-year tax lock, which would have runs its course through 2020. This move would allow her administration to ramp up (if necessary) the income tax and the national insurance rate.
She did promise, however, that VAT would remain untouched.
Lastly, as reported by The Independent, the Conservative Manifesto looks to “legislate for tougher regulation of tax advisory firms,” while pushing for a “more proactive approach to transparency and misuse of trusts.”
As explained by the BBC, besides her promises in the realm of taxation, Theresa May plans to implement the following policies:
What are your thoughts on the Tory Manifesto and how does it compare to the Labour Party’s?