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Election News: What Each Major Party Promises for Your Wallet

Annie 2nd Jul 2024 No Comments

Reading Time: 12 minutes

All the major party manifestos have been released ahead of the General Election on 4th July 2024. That means we can now compare the big points that matter: policies that impact your finances. Of course, most activities by any standing government has an economic impact akin to a butterfly effect. We’ll look at the specific financial policies like taxes to help you decide which one suits you best.

We’re strong believers in voting for principles over personality, so hope that this easy to digest article will help you compare each party’s financial promises side-by-side. We will cover the nationally recognised parties: Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Reform UK and Green Party, as regional parties are not accessible to everyone in the UK to vote for (someone in England can’t vote for the SNP, for example).

Income, Taxes, and Jobs

Pensions

Property

Transport

Energy

Children and Families

Benefits

Read Manifestos in Full

Income, Taxes, and Jobs

There are very common claims across all four party manifestos about stimulating the economy by creating new jobs. It’s something that is promised at every election, so while we like to see commitments to increase training and skills for people, it’s tough to say which will actually happen and/or have an impact. So, we’re going to look at the hard facts of what each party says about job rights and taxes, and how that could impact your take-home income.

Conservative Party

The Conservative party haven’t announced anything groundbreaking compared to what they’re already doing for the jobs market, or planned to do. They insist:

  • They’ll continue with the plans for another 2p National Insurance cut, putting someone on an average £35,000 salary around £1500 better off each year (not taking into account fiscal drag – see below)
  • They plan to abolish main National Insurance for self-employed people ‘by the next Government’, which is a slow commitment compared to the PAYE National Insurance changes
  • Income Tax thresholds will continue to be frozen until at least 2028

An example of fiscal drag can be seen here: the next National Insurance cost is supposed to put more money into people’s pockets. However, as wages go up with inflation (or close to it), the frozen tax thresholds mean more people will be pushed into a higher tax bracket. Those who previously didn’t pay any tax (earning under £12,750 a year) may now pay tax if they get a pay rise yet still be a low earner – taking them from 0% tax to 20%. Similarly, those in the higher bracket could easily be pushed over into the additional rate bracket – meaning they not only lose out more to tax but also lose out on the annual personal allowance, tax-free savings allowance and more.

Labour

Labour haven’t committed to much in terms of concrete assurances in their manifesto, but the key points in terms of income taxes are:

  • They promise to end the non-dom loophole for tax evaders who are technically domiciled offshore. This would impact around 70,000 of the highest earners in the UK.
  • Just as the Conservatives, Labour will freeze the income tax threshold to at least 2028
  • A clampdown on Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax avoidance to recoup some money

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrat manifesto has many more concrete and specific claims than the other three. They promise to:

  • Counter tax changes that currently burden individuals to instead create larger taxes on the big banks and a windfall tax on oil and gas profits
  • Instate a 20% higher National Minimum Wage for those on zero hours contracts, to counter the unreliability of such work and encourage employers to create more fixed-hour contracts
  • Provide Statutory Sick Pay at National Minimum wage rates, from the first day of sickness rather than the fourth.

Reform UK

The Reform party is new and entering its first General Election (it was formerly the Brexit UK party). They want to:

  • Increase the Income Tax threshold to £20,000 which would take 7 million people out of paying tax and leave most workers £1500 better off
  • Boost the higher rate tax threshold to £70,000 from £50,271
  • Remove Inheritance Tax for estates worth up to £2million, with estates over that threshold paying at 20% or donating to charity instead

Green Party

The Green Party want to ‘make work fair’. As such, they say they would:

  • Limit a maximum 10:1 pay ratio for public and private sector organisations (the highest earner cannot earn more than ten times the lowest earner)
  • Increase National Minimum Wage to £15 for all ages
  • Offset the increase of NMW costs for small businesses with tax reliefs
  • Introduce a four-day working week
  • Ensure all employment rights are day-one rights and include gig workers and zero hours contract workers
  • Longer term, introduce a Universal Basic Income for everybody

Pensions

Pensions impact not just those in retirement or soon to retire – everyone planning for a comfortable retirement, even if it’s decades away, should be interested in the plans for pensions. Small changes now could impact your retirement fund thirty years away, so it’s important to know what’s what. However, there isn’t much in the manifestos which stands out to be glaringly different or surprising.

Conservatives want to introduce a Triple Lock Plus, which protects the Triple Lock and introduces a new personal allowance that also rises with inflation for pensioners

Labour will protect the Triple Lock

Liberal Democrats will also protect the Triple Lock. They will also tackle the problem of the ‘WASPI women’ born in the 1950s who have been unfairly affected by the increase in the State Pension Age, as well as review rules to help the self-employed in the gig economy access the same support as PAYE workers.

Reform UK make no mention of protecting the Triple Lock, instead claiming they will ‘review pension provision’ looking at models in other countries like Australia. They will end the Mineworkers Pension Scandal, also.

Green Party say they will reform pensions taxes and, while not using the words Triple Lock, would guarantee a similar system of inflation rise guarantee.

Property

Property is a big one in terms of the impact on the economy. That, in turn, affects things like local economies and job markets, as well as industries such as hospitality and education. All major parties have committed to building new houses, though some more than others.

Conservatives

The Conservatives focus on ownership with most of their property policies. They want to:

  • Restart the Help to Buy scheme for first time homeowners
  • Build 1.6million homes over 5 years
  • Ban no-fault evictions (this was a 2019 policy)
  • Introduce a ‘local connection’ and ‘UK connection’ test for social housing applicants
  • Keep the developer-funded cladding remedial projects
  • Improve planning processes to speed up development and build of houses, with a focus on increasing density in London

Labour

The Labour party have promised to:

  • Ban leaseholds and turn all to commonholds
  • Introduce a Freedom to Buy scheme, including an extension of the existing Mortgage Guarantee Scheme
  • Raise an additional Stamp Duty Land Tax fee on all non-UK resident property purchasers
  • Abolish Section 21 ‘No Fault’ evictions
  • Build 1.5million new homes over their tenure
  • Review Right to Buy and focus on building social housing and repurposing existing stock
  • ‘Tackle’ ground rent
  • Improve planning processes to speed up the release of land for developers

Liberal Democrats

The Lib Dems have focused on both private ownership and social housing in their manifesto with quite a lot of detail about their plans. They say they will:

  • Introduce Rent to Own which will give social housing tenants increasing equity in their property to full ownership after 30 years, and abolish Right to Buy
  • Create a Home Energy Upgrade Programme to provide grants for improving energy efficiency in homes
  • Abolish leaseholds and cap ground rents
  • Give new powers to local authorities to allow them to charge up to 500% council tax on second homes
  • Scrap the bedroom tax
  • Introduce a non-UK resident Stamp Duty Land Tax surcharge
  • Pay for cladding repairs so costs don’t fall to property owners caught in the problem
  • Build ten new garden cities
  • Build  380,000 new homes a year (including 150,000 social housing) with all new builds being zero carbon

Reform UK

Reform want to focus on home ownership. They say they would:

  • Introduce a 0% stamp duty on purchases up to £750,000, 2% thereafter to £1.5million, and 4% over £1.5million
  • Scrap 2019 SDLT on landlords
  • Allow landlords to claim finance costs and mortgage interest as expenses
  • Review planning processes and speed planning with ‘pre-approved’ guidelines
  • Abolish the Renters’ Reform Bill, as they say existing and previous legislation provided enough protection for tenants
  • Insist on clarity of leasehold charges and ground rents (but not cap or abolish them)

Green Party

The Green Party say they would:

  • Scrap the bedroom tax
  • Build or repurpose 150,000 social homes each year
  • Remove individual right to buy and introduce community-based right-to-buy
  • Introduce rent controls to limit how much rent can be increased

Transport

While rather thin on the ground for detail in each manifesto, transport can have an impact on broader financial changes. Infrastructure directs where new houses are built, for example, and that in turn leads to where people will find jobs and schools.

Conservatives

The word ‘transport’ only appears five times in the 80-page manifesto. The existing policies, such as the £2 bus fare cap for low income and young people, free bus passes for pensioners, and fuel duty freeze, remain. There is also a promise for local authorities to receive pothole repair funding.

Labour

As well as promising to fix one million potholes, Labour says it will:

  • Tackle increasing car insurance costs
  • Reform the railways into public ownership
  • Improve electric vehicle infrastructure

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats promise to:

  1. Reinstate the zero emission vehicle rule for new cars and vans from 2030
  2. Built electric infrastructure to support more electric vehicles on the road
  3. Cut VAT on public electric vehicle charging to 5%
  4. Freeze rail fares
  5. Simplify rail ticketing
  6. Review HS2 and the cancelled plans to see if an alternative could be created
  7. Introduce a Young Person’s Bus Card for 19-25 year olds for reduced bus fares (like Railcards provide)

Reform UK

While the other three parties are focused on improving rail infrastructure and improving carbon-zero or electric opportunities, Reform support drivers. They say they’ll:

  • Lower fuel duty by 20p a litre
  • Scrap the ULEZ charge
  • End the planned ban on selling petrol and diesel cars
  • Scrap HS2 altogether
  • Bring 50% of each transport network into public ownership

Green Party

As the name might suggest, the Green Party are invested in improving the environmentally friendly options of transport. They would:

  • Introduce free bus travel for all under-18s
  • Renationalise the railways

Energy

We’ve all seen our energy bills rocket while the suppliers report record profits and huge bonuses. Here’s how each party intends on tackling the challenges with energy costs across the UK.

Conservatives

The Tories have overseen the highest rise in domestic energy bills in recent decades. On a larger scale they will invest in nuclear power and more renewables. They say they will also:

  • Continue the windfall tax on oil and gas companies until 2028 unless prices fall back to normal sooner
  • Reduce green levies on domestic energy bills
  • Keep and ‘evolve’ the Energy Price Cap
  • Introduce an energy efficiency voucher scheme for people to improve the energy efficiency of their homes

Labour

Labour want to focus on boosting clean energy and addressing the rising costs. They promise to:

  • Create a publicly-owned energy company to boost energy security (created by a one-off windfall tax on oil and gas profits)
  • Review standing charges with regulators
  • Provide grants and low-interest loans for homeowners to improve energy efficiency and reduce their bills

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats have a strong focus on clean energy, carbon zero, and improved energy infrastructure. They want to:

  • Introduce a ten-year home upgrade programme including grants for energy efficient home improvements
  • Requiring landlords to bring properties up to EPC C or higher
  • Boost incentives for households to have solar panels and profit selling energy back to the grid
  • Introduce a social tariff for energy costs for the poorest households
  • Help with domestic energy bills with a one-off windfall tax on oil and gas profits
  • Abolishing regional energy price differences

Reform UK

Reform UK have very brief energy details in their manifesto but it is clear they are the only party focused on developing more oil and gas infrastructure rather than clean energy. They say they want to:

  • Scrap VAT on energy bills
  • Reduce household bills by £500 a year
  • Scrap energy levies

Green Party

The Green Party want to move towards carbon zero, remove nuclear power, and want wind to produce 70% of the UK’s power by 2030. They would:

  • Invest £42billion for homeowner and landlord energy efficiency incentives and grants

There is no mention of domestic energy bill discounts, levies, or cuts.

Children and Families

From parental leave to free childcare, each party has a stance on improving the income of families with children.

Conservatives

The Tories will continue their existing plan for 15 hours of free childcare a week for children up to 2, rising to 30 hours for children age 3-4. They will also:

  • Raise the free childcare hours to 30 a week for all under-5s in 2025 which they say will save families an average of £6,900 a year
  • Change Child Benefit so that it is household-linked income not individual
  • Raise household income limit for Child Benefit to £120,000 a year

Labour

Labour’s policy is similar to the Conservatives’. They say they’ll:

  • Not change the existing free childcare plan as outlined above
  • For free childcare, parents must not individually earn more than £100,000 a year (and must earn more than £9518)
  • Ensure breakfast clubs in every primary school

Liberal Democrats

The Lib Dems have expanded on existing parental and family rights in their manifesto. They promise to:

  • Introduce paid neonatal care leave
  • Give free access to sign language lessons for parents and guardians of d/Deaf children
  • Double statutory maternity and shared parental pay to £350 a week
  • Introduce an extra use-it-or-lose-it month for fathers at 90% of earnings
  • Ensure parental leave and rights will be a day-one right and include the self employed
  • Deliver free school meals to families in poverty, eventually extend to all children
  • Remove the two-child limit and the benefit cap

Reform UK

Reform are focused on ‘traditional family values’. As such, they want to:

  • Incentivise marriage by allowing 25% tax allowance transfer between spouses
  • Provide tax relief for private schools with no VAT on school fees to reward families who can afford private education

There is no mention in the manifesto of childcare hours, Child Benefit, or parental leave changes.

Green Party

The Greens want to:

  • Ensure free transport for all special educational needs and disabled children to school
  • Remove the two-child benefit cap
  • End tuition fees for higher education
  • Introduce free personal care (similar to Scotland) for the elderly and disabled

Benefits

Benefits are always a hot topic when it comes to elections. Even if you don’t need the social security safety net right now, there is never any guarantee you won’t need it in the future. Supporting those on low incomes and who are unable to work is also important to keep the economy ticking over and improve mental health outcomes.

Conservatives

The Conservatives want to focus on reforming the benefit system around long-term illness. As such, they will:

  • Introduce a six-tier system for Personal Independent Payment
  • Increase the time between claiming Personal Independence Payment and being assessed for it, to reduce the number of ‘short term illness’ claims (Magpie note: PIP is for those in work and out of work, is not means tested and is for people with chronic conditions, it is already not for short-term illness)
  • Consider reducing ongoing cash payments for PIP and replace with one-off grants for items required to support disabled living such as wheelchairs
  • Change the Access to Work process
  • Crack down on people with mental health conditions claiming out of work benefits
  • Change the capability for work assessments to include only the most severely ill, putting 424,000 off benefits and back to work
  • Close unemployment claims for those unable to find work within 12 months

Labour

At time of writing, there is only one mention of Universal Credit in the manifesto, and no reference to specific benefits like Personal Independence Payment. Labour say they are “committed to reviewing Universal Credit so that it makes work pay and tackles poverty.”

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats have declared broader changes than other parties. They say they will:

  • Increase Carers Allowance, including those in education
  • Reduce the hours required to qualify for Carers Allowance
  • Will not pursue punitive Carers Allowance overpayment tribunals
  • Reduce the wait for Universal Credit first payments from five weeks to five days
  • Restore full Universal Credit entitlement for parents of any age (removing the reduced rate for parents under the age of 25)
  • Reform Personal Independence Payment assessments and bring them in-house (instead of private sector)
  • Bring Work Capability Assessments in-house
  • Ensure that military compensation for injury or illness is not counted as income for means-tested benefits

Reform UK

Reform UK have only a small section related to benefits in their manifesto, with their main slogan being: “In Britain, if you can work, you must work”. They say:

  • Job seekers must find employment within 4 months or accept a job after two offers otherwise benefits will be withdrawn
  • Work Capability Assessments and Personal Independence Payment assessments by independent (private sector) medical assessors

Green Party

The Green Party focus on reforming the current benefits system. So they would:

  • Reform the intrusive PIP and WCA tests
  • Introduce an immediate 5% uplift on disability benefits
  • Increase Universal Credit and legacy benefits by £40 a week

Read Manifestos in Full

Of course, we have only summarised the key financial points that would impact your everyday lives in each core manifesto for comparison. Before you make your decision on who you want to vote for (or rather, which policies you want to vote for), take your time to research the manifestos in full.

Conservative Manifesto

Labour Manifesto

Liberal Democrat Manifesto

Reform UK Manifesto

Green Party Manifesto

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Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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