Socialist Worker

Tory wreckers manifesto is only for the rich

Theresa May tried to pitch her manifesto as progressive with false promises on the NHS and schools. Nick Clark unpicks the attacks that they’re planning

Issue No. 2555

The Tories manifesto is designed to appeal to the richest

The Tories' manifesto is designed to appeal to the richest while attacking workers and public services


The Tory manifesto is a bosses and racists’ charter full of pernicious attacks on workers and migrants’ rights.

Launching it last Thursday, Theresa May set out a series of fake promises such as building “affordable homes” and investing in the NHS.

But most of the manifesto is guff and rhetoric—and most of the promises in it are predictably nasty.

The Tories want to force anyone who needs social care in their own home to pay for it if they have assets worth more than £100,000.

Social care is already means tested. Currently only people with assets, including their home, of less than £23,250 can get full state funding for a care home.

If people only need care in their own home, the value of their house is excluded from the value of their “assets”.

Care

Now the Tories want to include it. While the threshold will be higher, this will force more people to pay for social care.

May said her scheme was the “first proper plan to pay for social care”. But the Tories have slashed billions from social care budgets.

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The proposals were so unpopular that within days May had issued a “clarification” which dumped elements of the plan.

Plans to give people the “right” to a year of unpaid leave if they need to care for relatives are far from generous. How many of us could afford to take a year off without pay?

The Tories want the responsibility for care to rest on ordinary people—not the state.

Elderly

The Tories also want to start means testing Winter Fuel Allowance, which would see some ten million elderly people losing the benefit.

All pensioners can currently get up to £300 during the winter.

May now wants to restrict it to those pensioners in fuel poverty, who spend more than 10 percent of their income on energy bills.

On immigration the Tories are even nastier. May blamed migrants for “depression of wages and displacement of jobs” and reiterated the Tory promise to reduce immigration to the tens of thousands.

She said she would raise the Immigration Skills charge to £2,000, a levy that’s paid by bosses who employ migrant workers from outside the EU.

Controls

May’s manifesto pledges new controls to reduce the number of migrants from the European Union (EU).

While not specified in the manifesto, this could mean extending racist measures that already affect migrants from outside the EU to all migrant workers. May already wants to make migrants pay more for health care.

The Tory manifesto says they will increase the Immigration Health Surcharge to £600 for migrant workers and £450 for international students.

They want to increase the income threshold for migrant workers who want to bring their partners to Britain.

They will “toughen visa requirements” for international students and introduce “new, higher requirements” on students who want to stay after their studies.


Services left in bad health by drastic funding cuts

The Tory manifesto promises to increase NHS funding by £8 billion “in real terms” over the next five years.

But that’s nothing compared to the £22 billion worth of cuts they want to push through by 2020-21.

protesters at forest hill

Protesters against the cuts to school funding at Forest Hill school (Pic: Socialist Worker)


The Tory manifesto also suggests that “no schools will have their budget cut” due to a new funding formula.

 

 

It even says the Tories will increase school funding by £4 billion by 2022.

Funding

But as the NUT teachers’ union points out, that’s just £1 billion a year when schools face a £3 billion real terms cut in their funding.

NUT general secretary Kevin Courtney said, “Schools already need £2.2 billion more just to cover the impact of inflation and cost increases imposed by the government.”

The Tories want to pay for their “increase” by taking away universal free school meals from children aged four to seven.

They want to build 100 more hated “free schools,” which are publicly funded but privately run.


A labour of lies for workers rights

In her manifesto launch speech, Theresa May promised “a higher National Living Wage and proper rights and protections at work”.

But behind the fanfare, there’s nothing to get excited about.

The Tories say the minimum will increase to 60 percent of median earnings by 2020.

This is currently forecast to be £8.75 an hour.

But the “generous” new promise frees them up from previous Tory chancellor George Osborne’s promise of £9 an hour by 2020.

Pledged

The Tories pledged themselves to help so-called self-employed workers in the “gig economy”.

They said they’d be “properly protected”. But the manifesto doesn’t say what this actually means.

The gimmick of appointing a boss to advocate for workers on company boards is a bad joke.

Meanwhile, May promises to keep employment rights guaranteed by European Union law. She wants to let us keep what little workplace rights we already have and be glad about it.

But a promise to cut “red tape” for bosses doesn’t bode well.

Neither does a vow to “continue the difficult but necessary work of restoring our public finances”.

That means more wage freezes for public sector workers, and attacks on terms and conditions.


The effect the pledges could have on you

  • Your state pension will almost certainly be worth less under the Tories.

    Theresa May has pledged to scrap the “triple lock”.

    It guarantees that the state pension will rise annually by whichever is highest—price rises, the rise in average earnings or by 2.5 percent.

    Protesters against fracking

    Protesters against fracking (Pic: Stop Fracking)


    They would scrap the 2.5 percent guarantee.

  • The Tories want to make it easier for fracking bosses to drill near you.

    Plans to relax regulations will make drilling easier. They want to snatch back local authorities’ power to block fracking operations.

    But May’s manifesto says they can only develop fracking “if we maintain public confidence” in it. Unluckily for her fracking is widely hated.

  • May’s manifesto paved the way for higher taxes on the poor.

    It drops the cap on national insurance, VAT and income tax—leaving them open for rises in the future.


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