Tories pledge further 2p cut to National Insurance ahead of manifesto launch

Tories pledge further 2p cut to National Insurance ahead of manifesto launch

6 minutes agoBy Sam Francis, Political Reporter • Francesca Gillett, BBC NewsPARishi Sunak will be in the East Midlands later

The Conservatives are launching their election manifesto later, with a promise to cut a further 2p from National Insurance if re-elected.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak claimed the Tories were the party of “sound money”, and that another Tory government would help working people “keep more of the money you earn”.

He said Labour would instead do “what socialists always do – take more of your money”.

Labour have described the Tories’ ideas as “the most expensive panic attack in history”.

The Conservatives are the second major party to launch their manifesto – which outlines what a party plans to do if it wins power – after the Liberal Democrats on Monday.

Later this week will also see manifesto launches from the Green Party and Labour.

The Tories have not given the full contents of the manifesto – but Mr Sunak told the BBC yesterday it will include tax cuts, and his policies will be “fully funded and costed”.

“We’re going to keep cutting people’s taxes,” Mr Sunak told the BBC’s Nick Robinson.

NI is an earnings tax paid by both employee and the company they work for, and the profits of self-employed workers.

It is understood another 2p cut in the rate for employees will be in the manifesto – as well as the bigger aim to scrap the tax entirely when it is “financially responsible” to do so.

The government already cut NI for employees twice in 2024, taking it first from 12% to 10%, and then 10% to 8%. This would be the third rate cut overseen by Mr Sunak, reducing the employee rate to 6p.

Watch: Sunak says Conservatives will cut tax if they win

As well as the NI cut, the manifesto will also include pledges for homebuyers, after Mr Sunak admitted to the BBC yesterday it “has got harder” for people to have their own home under Conservative governments.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Sunak said the Conservatives would “launch a brand new and improved Help to Buy scheme to help a new generation on to the property ladder”.

Some potential manifesto pledges have already been floated by the Tories, including a pledge at the weekend to scrap stamp duty for first-time buyers of properties costing up to £425,000.

Having own home has become harder under the Conservative government, Rishi Sunak agrees

Mr Sunak will launch the manifesto after a bruising few days on the campaign trial where he was forced to address questions over whether he would resign after leaving D-Day commemorations early.

With Labour leading in the polls and Reform UK targeting Tory voters, Mr Sunak is hoping the manifesto will provide a boost to his party’s prospects.

Ahead of the launch – happening in the East Midlands – Mr Sunak said the Conservatives have a plan to ensure “financial security.”

He acknowledged the party had to take “difficult decisions” because of the pandemic, but was “now cutting taxes for earners, parents and pensioners”.

Mr Sunak argued that in contrast to Labour the Tories are the party of “sound money”, invoking the legacy of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher and her chancellor Nigel Lawson.

“In this party, we believe that it is morally right that those who can work do work, and that hard work is rewarded with people being able to keep more of their own money. We will ensure that we have lower welfare so we can lower taxes.”

Mr Sunak has frequently invoked Baroness Thatcher and their similar middle-class, small-business parentage, telling the 2023 Conservative conference they were the “the party of the grocer’s daughter and the pharmacist’s son”.

The Conservatives have separately promised not to raise income tax, national insurance or VAT – but alongside Labour will keep income tax thresholds frozen until 2028 if they win, meaning taxes will go up for many as their wages rise.

The party has also promised to increase the income tax personal allowance for pensioners, giving them a tax cut worth around to £275 by 2030.

Other policies suggested by the Conservatives in the run up to their manifesto launch include:

Giving 30 towns £20m, and plans to boost community care by expanding Pharmacy First and building 100 new GP surgeries and modernising 150 moreA plan to require 18-year-olds take part in a form of national service, choosing between either community volunteering or military trainingInvesting £730m to enable 500,000 more people to access mental health talking therapiesRecruiting 8,000 additional police officers over the next three years, paid for by increasing visa fees and removing the student discount to the Immigration Health surcharge

Pat McFadden, Labour’s national campaign co-ordinator, described the plans as a “desperate series of unfunded commitments”.

“Their manifesto will be the most expensive panic attack in history. The Tories’ scattergun and unfunded commitments have racked up billions with no idea from them of how to pay for it.

“They used to care about economic credibility. Now, in their desperation, they spend every day torching whatever remnants of it they had left.”

Wendy Chamberlain, Liberal Democrat work and pensions spokesperson, said the Tory manifesto “isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on” and said all the party could guarantee was “unmitigated failure”.

“The wheels have already fallen off their campaign, and the promises they make are just a desperate attempt to rescue Rishi Sunak.”


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