Tuesday 14-04-2015 - 17:50
The Conservative Party today released their General Election 2015 manifesto.
Launching the manifesto today in Swindon Conservative Party leader David Cameron said they are the Party of ‘the working people - offering security at every stage of your life.’ Key pledges include an extra £8bn for the NHS by 2020, extending the Right to Buy to housing association tenants, and 30 hours of free childcare for working parents of three to four year-olds.
The manifesto contains some higher education reforms, including a new proposed framework to recognise universities offering the highest teaching quality and to encourage universities to offer more two-year courses. They also encourage the development of online education as a tool for students. The manifesto also contained their commitment to a national post-graduate loans system for taught masters and PhD courses.
On further education, they commit to providing ‘specialist higher-level vocational training in sectors critical to economic growth’ and say that they will ‘continue to replace lower-level, classroom-based FE courses with high-quality apprenticeships.’ They also commit to publishing more earnings and destinations data for FE courses, and will require more accreditation of courses by employers.
The manifesto also proposes plans for reforms to the student visa system– with new measures designed to ‘tackle abuse’ and reduce the numbers of students overstaying their visas. This will include a review of ‘satellite campuses’ and the highly trusted sponsor system. They are also proposing to introduce targeted sanctions for those colleges or businesses that fail to ensure that migrants comply with the terms of their visa.
The manifesto also outlines the Party’s plans on industrial action which will make it significantly harder for unions to call a strike. They are proposing turnout requirements in any strike ballot of at least half the workforce, and for public services in health, education, fire, and transport industrial action will require the support of 40 per cent of those entitled to take part in strike ballots as well as a majority of those who turn out to vote. This policy has been condemned by unions, including the TUC who say it is a ‘fundamental attack on this basic human right.’
The manifesto also contains the Conservative plans to introduce tougher ‘Day One Work Requirements’ for young people claiming out of work benefits, to replace jobseeker’s allowance for 18-21s with a youth allowance which will be time limited to six months, after which they will have to take an apprenticeship, traineeship or do daily community work in order to receive their benefits.
Tomorrow sees the publication on the Liberal Democrats manifesto – and we’ll be producing a summary of this tomorrow afternoon.