News & Insights // General Election: Brexit, Housing, Insurance and Tax


Political news has been a hot topic over the last couple of weeks following Theresa May’s call for a general election on 8th June 2017. This snap decision came as a surprise to many as it’s a whole three years earlier than originally scheduled but according to May the reasoning behind the June election is to strengthen her hand in Brexit negotiations.

Ahead of the 8th June, the three main parties – Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats released their parties Manifesto’s. Labour lead the way on Tuesday 16th May, launching their Manifesto in Bradford, the Liberal Democrats followed on Wednesday, launching their Manifesto in London and finally the Conservatives followed with a launch in Halifax. The locations of the Manifesto launches provide some context on the party’s ambitions and target audience. Theresa May’s decision to launch the Manifesto in a northern Labour heartland, that voted for Brexit, shows she firmly ‘parked her tanks’ on Jeremy Corbyn’s lawn and is confident of making progress into Labour’s support base. Meanwhile, Tim Farron is very clearly targeting remain supporting Labour voters in London in a hope re-galvanising the Party’s support.

When it came to the parties detailing the main pledges, the UK housing crisis, Brexit, Tax and Insurance were amongst the Manifesto’s, take a look at the overview below…  

Housing

•  Conservatives: Their plan is to fix the “dysfunctional” housing market by building enough homes to meet demand; this includes maintaining the 2015 commitment to deliver a million homes by the end of 2020 and 500,000 additional homes by 2022. They also commit to building 160,000 houses on Government land. They will deliver the reforms of the Housing White Paper, including freeing up more land for high-quality new homes, encouraging modern methods of construction and giving councils powers to intervene where developers do not act on their planning permissions. In addition, making Compulsory Purchase Orders easier for Councils to execute.

•  Labour: They’ve pledged to build over 1 million new homes, including 100,000 council or housing association homes each year. They would establish a Department of Housing to lead on these issues. In addition, they would legislate to control ground rents for leasehold properties, build new towns to stop urban sprawl and consult on minimum size requirements for housing.

•  Lib Dems: Their pledge is to build 300,000 homes a year from 2022, through Government Commissioning. Create a Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank which would offer long term loans for new settlements. In addition, they pledged to lift the local government borrowing cap to allow local authorities to build social housing.

Insurance

•  The Conservatives only mention of insurance was in reference to their promise to cut fraudulent whiplash claims and see car insurance premiums fall.

•  Within the Labour Manifesto, the only mention of Insurance was to introduce a tax on private medical insurance.

•  The Liberal Democrats had no mention of insurance in their manifesto.

Brexit

•  The Conservatives pledged to leave the Single Market and the Customs Union, going as far to say that would be prepared to leave the EU with no deal, rather than a bad deal. They also stated that they would seek new trade deals around the world and seek to maintain current free trade deals.

•  The Labour Party vowed not to leave the EU without a deal and give Parliament a ‘meaningful’ vote on the deal struck by the Government. They also pledged to maintain membership of Euratom, the European Arrest Warrant, Eurojust, Europol and the Ersamus scheme.

•  The Liberal Democrats have promised to maintain membership of the single market and customs union and hold another referendum on the deal the UK strikes with the EU. In addition, they want to protect freedom of movement and membership of Europol, Eurojust, Erasmus and the European Arrest Warrant.

Tax

•  If the Conservatives win the general election, they have promised to conduct a full review of the business rates system in light of the increase in online retailers, revaluate business rates much more frequently, and “explore” the introduction of self-assessments in the business rates valuation process. They will clamp down on tax evasion to lower the tax gap by legislating for tougher regulation of tax advisory firms, improving the transparency of trusts, and strengthening HMRC’s capabilities to stamp down on smuggling.

•  The Labour Party would create a 45p tax rate for those earning over £80,000 and 50p tax rate for those earning over £123,000. They would increase Corporation tax to 26% by 2021 and add a finical transaction tax of 0.2% on all financial transactions.

•  The Lib Dems would add 1p to every tax rate to fund the NHS and social care. They would also reverse Conservative cuts to Corporation Tax, Capital Gains Tax and the Marriage Allowance.

It looks like Labour continue to narrow the gap on the Conservatives with one new poll putting Theresa May's lead down to six points. With just over 8 days to go, the latest polling averages taken on the 29th May show Conservatives with 44.2% and Labour following closely behind with 35.5% leaving it open to change right up to the day of the general election.

Keep up to date with the latest news on the general election as it comes in by heading to http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/election-2017-39979839.