To make a success of Brexit and deliver the change people voted for we need to make the right choices on our economy.
We know businesses are at the heart of a successful economy. That’s why we will continue to back businesses with lower taxes, better infrastructure and strike new post-Brexit free trade deals around the world to make people better off here at home.
And we’ll help people with the cost of living by making sure people keep more of the money they earn through keeping their taxes low.
By doing this we’ll keep our economy strong, create more higher paying jobs, fund spending on our shared priorities like our NHS, schools and police and get Britain back on the road to a brighter future.
Since 2010, the Conservatives have helped more than 1,000 people on average into work every day.
We have focused, over the past decade, on making sure that work always pays – particularly for those most in need of support. We have raised the minimum wage significantly and introduced and consistently raised the National Living Wage. We have doubled the personal allowance to £12,500, so that everyone gets to earn a decent amount before they are taxed. And we have made sure the state pension keeps pace with earnings.
In our first months, we announced an increase in the National Living Wage to two thirds of average earnings, currently forecast at £10.50 an hour, and widened its reach to everyone over 21. That means an average pay rise of £4,000 per year for four million people by 2024.
To help young people get a foot on the employment ladder, we abolished employers’ National Insurance Contributions for under-21s and apprentices under 25.
We promise not to raise the rates of income tax, National Insurance or VAT. This is a tax guarantee that will protect the incomes of hard-working families across the next Parliament.
We not only want to freeze taxes, but to cut them too. We will raise the National Insurance threshold to £9,500 next year – representing a tax cut for 31 million workers. Our ultimate ambition is to ensure that the first £12,500 you earn is completely free of tax – which would put almost £500 per year in people’s pockets.
We will use our freedom from the EU to improve the UK’s tax regime – not least by abolishing the tampon tax.
We want to give parents the freedom, support and choice to look after their children in the way that works best for them. We will establish a new £1 billion fund to help create more high quality, affordable childcare, including before and after school and during the school holidays.
For many families, energy costs are a major source of financial pressure. We will keep our existing energy cap and introduce new measures to lower bills. We will also give the Competition and Markets Authority enhanced powers to tackle consumer rip-offs and bad business practices.
We recognise that water bills can be a major source of financial pressure, so will extend the water rebate for those in the South West.
On entering Government in 2010, the Conservatives acted decisively to protect the UK’s pensioners. The ‘triple lock’ we introduced has meant that those who have worked hard and put in for decades can be confident that the state will be there to support them when they need it. We will keep the triple lock, the winter fuel payment, the older person’s bus pass and other pensioner benefits, ensuring that older people have the security and dignity they deserve. We recognise the value of free TV licences for over-75s and believe they should be funded by the BBC.
A number of workers, disproportionately women, who earn between £10,000 and £12,500 have been missing out on pension benefits because of a loophole affecting people with net pay pension schemes. We will conduct a comprehensive review to look at how to fix this issue.
Once we get Brexit done, we can use our new freedoms to ensure that Britain’s businesses can unleash their enormous potential – that they can invest, hire, export and grow.
Our plan to upgrade infrastructure will make it easier for businesses to operate – to move goods about the country and to connect to customers around the world via gigabit broadband.
And our new £3 billion National Skills Fund, alongside other major investment in skills and training and our reforms to high-skilled immigration, will ensure that businesses can find and hire the workers they need.
Good regulation is essential to successful businesses: we will strive to achieve the right regulatory balance between supporting excellent business practice and protecting workers, consumers and the environment. Through our Red Tape Challenge, we will ensure that regulation is sensible and proportionate, and that we always consider the needs of small businesses when devising new rules, using our new freedom after Brexit to ensure that British rules work for British companies.
As well as encouraging investment in physical building and equipment, we will help employers invest in skills and look at how we can improve the working of the Apprenticeship Levy.
Every day, people risk their savings and their future by becoming entrepreneurs. They invent the new goods and services that improve our lives. We want to be a nation of start-ups, and of successful scale-ups. We have more ‘unicorns’ – new billion-dollar tech companies – than any other nation in Europe.
We are proud of the work we have done to support entrepreneurship and want to see more entrepreneurs, including women and those from BAME backgrounds. Some of our work has been spectacularly successful – such as the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme and Enterprise Investment Scheme, which we will continue in the next Parliament. And by cutting corporation tax from 28 per cent to 19 per cent, we have encouraged more businesses to invest and grow in the UK.
Some measures have worked, but need to go further – as with R&D tax credits. We will increase the tax credit rate to 13 per cent and review the definition of R&D so that important investments in cloud computing and data, which boost productivity and innovation, are also incentivised.
Conservatives believe in a corporate tax system which rewards entrepreneurship and punishes evasion. We will always be whole-heartedly on the side of business, while making sure everyone pays their fair share of tax. Already, the top 1 per cent of income taxpayers pay over 29 per cent of income tax – higher than at any time under the last Labour Government.
We will cut the burden of tax on business by reducing business rates. This will be done via a fundamental review of the system. As a first step, we will further reduce business rates for retail businesses, as well as extending the discount to grassroots music venues, small cinemas and pubs. That means protecting your high street and community from excessive tax hikes and keeping town centres vibrant.
We will increase the Employment Allowance for small businesses – a tax cut for half a million small firms.
We will set out a new anti-tax avoidance and evasion law which will double the maximum prison term to 14 years for individuals convicted of the most egregious examples of tax fraud.
Since 2010, the Government has invested significantly in technical qualifications and apprenticeships, with 3.8 million more apprenticeships.
We expect to train up hundreds of thousands more highly skilled apprentices. But we will go further and require significant numbers of new UK apprentices for all big new infrastructure projects - new hospitals, new schools, major transport projects and so on, being built with pride by a new generation of British workers.
Our reforms and investment in education and skills mean more children are leaving school better equipped for working life and there are more high quality apprenticeships. But there is much more to do to level up the skills of the entire nation. Not just to improve Britain’s productivity, but to enable people to fulfil their potential.
As the centrepiece of our plan, we will create a new National Skills Fund worth £3 billion over the next Parliament. This fund will provide matching funding for individuals and SMEs for high-quality education and training. A proportion will be reserved for further strategic investment in skills, and we will consult widely on the overall design.
Labour would bring economic disaster for Britain due to their extreme policies and we will all pay the price. They don’t know how to manage the economy and would make the wrong choices with your money. By hitting businesses with higher taxes and more red tape they would damage our economy.
Under Labour we would pay through higher taxes on everyone and less money for public services. And instead of spending taxpayers' money on people’s priorities they would instead focus on their own ideological obsessions.
Things like unlimited welfare, meeting the costs of uncontrolled immigration and spending billions on the government takeover of utilities.