Rishi Sunak to claim Tories can lower taxes as he launches election manifesto

Rishi Sunak is expected to draw upon the spirit of Margaret Thatcher as he launches the Conservatives’ General Election manifesto.

The Prime Minister will stress the Tories believe in “sound money” given they are the “party of Margaret Thatcher and Nigel Lawson”, the latter renowned as cutting taxes during his time as chancellor in the Thatcher government.

He will also claim that the Tories will ensure “we have lower welfare so we can lower taxes”.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak playing Splat the Rat at a village fete in Great Ayton, Yorkshire, while on the General Election campaign trail
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak playing Splat the Rat at a village fete in Great Ayton, Yorkshire, while on the General Election campaign trail (Peter Byrne/PA)

Mr Sunak will launch the manifesto after a bruising few days in the campaign in which he has dismissed resignation rumours amid the ongoing fallout over his early departure from D-Day commemorations.

Policy pledges from the Tories include no increases to income tax, national insurance or VAT, an expansion of levelling up funding with a pledge to give 30 towns £20 million, and plans to boost community care by expanding Pharmacy First and building 100 new GP surgeries and modernising 150 more.

The party has also promised to increase the income tax personal allowance for pensioners, giving them a tax cut worth around £95 in 2025-26, rising to £275 in 2029-30.

Mandatory national service for 18-year-olds was among the first pledges by Mr Sunak and would require teenagers to choose between taking a 12-month placement in the armed forces or “volunteer” work in their community one weekend a month for a year.

The Conservatives also have an ambition to scrap national insurance when financially responsible to do so, with Labour suggesting such a policy could cost £46 billion by 2029/30.

With Labour enjoying a strong lead over the Tories in the opinion polls, and with Nigel Farage’s Reform UK hoping to appeal to Tory voters, Mr Sunak will be hoping to improve his party’s outlook at the manifesto launch.

He is expected to say on Tuesday: “We Conservatives have a plan to give you financial security.

“We will enable working people to keep more of the money you earn because you have earned it and have the right to choose what to spend it on.

“Keir Starmer takes a very different view.

“He says he’s a socialist, and we know what socialists always do: take more of your money.

“And we know that the plans Labour have already announced will require them to increase taxes on working households by £2,094.

“We Conservatives have had to take difficult decisions because of Covid.

“But we are now cutting taxes for earners, parents and pensioners.

“We are the party of Margaret Thatcher and Nigel Lawson, a party, unlike Labour, that believes in sound money.

“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 last week denied accusations from Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer that he “lied” by saying Labour would hike taxes by £2,000 in claims criticised by the UK statistics watchdog.

Pat McFadden, Labour’s national campaign co-ordinator, said: “The one thing to know about the desperate series of unfunded commitments in the Tory manifesto is that the money’s not there.

“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: “Rishi Sunak’s manifesto isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

“The only guarantee they’re good for is unmitigated failure.

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