Connect’s manifesto round-up

There is little more than a week to go until the General Election and we’ve now had all of the manifestos from the major parties. There were few big surprises.

Connect has trawled through all of the manifestos to pull out the key election pledges that could shape the next government and put them together in one handy place – whether it’s to see which policies might affect your business, or just to help you decide which party to vote for next Thursday, our handy guide is an essential pre-election read.

So what do the manifestos show? Scrambling to scrape up extra votes, both Labour and the Conservatives seem to be targeting their non-traditional voters and attempting to transform long-held assumptions about their policies and leadership. The Conservative commitment to extend Right to Buy to housing association tenants in England harks back to the original landmark policy from Margaret Thatcher, and reaches out to so-called “C2” workers – the skilled working classes. Meanwhile, Labour’s manifesto launch focused on rebuilding the party’s traditionally weak reputation when it comes to economic competence. Opening the manifesto with details of a ‘Budget Responsibility Lock’, they promised that every policy contained in the document would be paid for, without incurring any additional borrowing, and claimed that they will “cut the deficit every year” if they are elected.

The Liberal Democrats have taken a rather more non-traditional route, openly campaigning to be the ‘other’ party in government, adding “a heart to a Conservative government and a brain to a Labour one” as Nick Clegg put it. Meanwhile, amid all the speculation of a deal with Labour (which Labour are vigorously denying), the SNP manifesto has come in for more scrutiny than ever before. Promising that the party will be a “constructive force” in Westminster, Nicola Sturgeon made a rather telling announcement and confirmed for the first time that her party would back key Labour policies such as the mansion tax, the banker’s bonus tax and the abolition of zero-hours contracts.

Although, come polling day, the election will not be won or lost on the strength of a party’s manifesto, the attention which has been lavished on the SNPs manifesto highlights their changing role in the era of hung parliaments. So while many of these policies could become law, it’ll be important to keep an eye out on which policies will be quickly dropped for a seat at the Cabinet table.

Download our guide to the parties’ manifestos here.

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