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Promises UK political parties are making ahead of the 2019 general election

On 12 December a snap general election could define the economic future of the country for the coming years. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party is currently ahead of Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party in the polls, with Jo Swinson's Liberal Democrats also looking likely to make gains. North of the border, Nicola Sturgeon's Scottish National Party government is also expected to perform well with both Labour and the Conservatives at risk of losing seats.

The four parties have different policies on a host of issues, from brexit and healthcare to policing and the economy.

In this blog we will look at some of the key economic differences between the different policies of the major parties. 

Conservatives

  • Promise to rule out rises to income tax, VAT, or National Insurance in the next five years.
  • Raise the level at which people start paying National Insurance  from £8,628 to £9,500
  • Ensure fibre and gigabit-capable broadband to every home and business by 2025.
  • £100 billion fund for additional infrastructure, including on roads and public transport.

Boris Johnson has promised to increase public spending, targeting the funds on new infrastructure including broadband connectivity as well as imorivements to roads, public transport, and town centres.

Mr Johnson has ruled out raising income tax or National Insurance rates, but has promised to raise the level at which people start paying National Insurance contributions from £8,628 to £9,500, with the ambition of raising it above £12,000 within a decade.

This tax cut is estimated to cost about £3 billion.

The independent Institute for Fiscal Studies' Paul Johnson said that If a single budget had contained all these tax and spending proposals, it would have been called modest.

Labour

  • Promise to nationalise key public utilities including rail, mail, gas, and electric.
  • Free broadband for every UK household.
  • A "Green New Deal" funded by a windfall tax on oil and gas companies.
  • Scrap Universal Credit and bring in a "real living wage" of £10 an hour.
  • Maintain freedom-of-movement rights to and from the EU.

Jeremy Corbyn has promised that his party would dramatically increase government spending, and among the main priorities would be a programme of nationalisation of public utilities including the railway network, Royal Mail, and gas and water. There's also the pledge to nationalise the broadband network, which would mean free to use high-speed broadband available to every household in the country. 

The "Green New Deal," would work toward reducing net UK carbon emissions to zero by 2030. The party says this would be achieved through various measures, including a windfall tax on major oil companies, which aims to raise £11 billion.

To fund its economic ambitions, the party said it would raise taxes on corporations and the UK's highest earners. Labour says in total it would raise £83 billion in extra tax revenue by 2023-2024. 

The pollster Chris Curtis from YouGov told Business Insider that Labour's policies had generally gone down well with voters.

Chris Curtis of YouGov claimed that many of Labour's more contraversial policies, like the nationalisation or increased public spending on key services are actually widely supported by the public. However polls showed that although the public were impressed, they didn't believe the goals are achievable. 

Liberal Democrats

  • Scrap Brexit and reinvest the "Remain bonus" in public services.
  • Run a surplus in the UK finances.
  • Thirty-five hours of free childcare for children from nine months.
  • Ensure 80% of Britain's electricity use comes from renewable sources.

The Liberal Democrats have promised to scrap Brexit and use any subsequent boost to the UK economy to reinvest in public services. They claim that stopping Brexit would allow them to spend an additional £50 billion by the year 2024-2025.

They call this a "Remain bonus." The party claims that would oversee a surplus, meaning day-to-day government spending would be lower than money raised by taxes.

Their spending priorities include a pledge to give 35 hours of free childcare to children when they reach the age of 9 months. This will allow working parents to return to their jobs earlier and boost national productivity, the party says.

The party is also promising to ensure that 80% of Britain's electricity comes from renewable sources by 2030.

SNP

  • Fight to stop Brexit and remain in the EU single market and customs union.
  • Oppose austerity and demand an end to the government's universal credit system.
  • Campaign for a second Scottish independence referendum

Nicola Sturgeon says her party will continue to fight for Scotland's membership of the EU's single market and customs union, even if Brexit goes ahead. This would ensure that Scottish businesses maintain frictionless access to the European market. 

Sturgeon's party also remains committed to a new referendum on Scottish independence, which would give the Scottish government full control over Scotland's economy.

The party says the MPs it has elected to Westminster will also take a stand against government austerity and protect what it describes as Scotland's "fair and progressive" tax system.

On the benefit system, SNP MPs will demand that the UK government immediately halt the rollout of the Universal Credit benefits payment system.

On the environment, the party is also pushing for Scotland to be carbon neutral by 2040 and has vowed to oppose all proposed fracking projects in Scotland.

Other parties key policies

The Green Party:

A "Green New Deal" to make the UK economy environmentally sustainable.

Brexit Party: 

Secure a "Brexit dividend" by leaving the EU that they claim would boost the economy by £200 billion.