The Pulse manifestos, c PNW

The Conservative Party, Liberal Democrats, and Green Party all released manifestos this week. Credit: PNW

The Pulse | Manifesto mayhem, property pledges, bad weather

The Pulse square ()This week has been punctuated by manifesto launches – ones that should be laced with ambitious and vote-grabbing policies, designed to catch the eye – but ultimately that’s for the voters to decide.

Welcome to The Pulse, your weekly selection of the most important stories from the election campaign.

No Silverstone slip-up

The Conservatives took to Silverstone to jump-start their campaign as Sunak tried to catch a break that isn’t on the plane back from D-Day. The pressure on a reportedly ‘despondent’ Sunak was well hidden during his speech, where his plans may have been addressed pleadingly to his cabinet rather than the British electorate. The Tory manifesto, to no one’s surprise, rested heavily on a 2p tax cut to National Insurance, bringing it down to 6% by 2027. An otherwise quiet and gaffe-less launch may have just given the Prime Minister the respite he surely needed.

Property pledges pretty please

We fully expect a Labour manifesto to be launched today. The flagship promises – 1.5m new homes and a Freedom to Buy Scheme to help secure mortgages – have been received well by some, including Landsec chief executive Mark Allan who said: “We believe the targeted measures put forward by the Labour Party to reform the planning system will help unblock many of the issues facing our sector.” Foreign buyers of property can expect higher taxes in a bid to prevent the pricing-out of young people, should Labour’s promises become reality.

The Tories instead promised 1.6m homes “in the right places” and the abolition of Stamp Duty for first-time buyers on homes up to £425,000. The party called for fast-track planning for brownfield land regeneration to contribute to increasing the density of urban areas. Furthermore, their manifesto commits to an investment of £4.7bn for smaller cities, towns, and rural areas in the North and Midlands, while also confirming plans for carbon capture and storage clusters in the North West and Teeside and the Humber.

Institute for Government wades in

Think tank the Institute for Government criticised the Conservatives’ “ambitious housebuilding targets” suggesting there’s no plan to deliver them. IFG poked holes in the disproportionate demand-side focus of the Tory housing plan, claiming that the cited 1.6m new homes would depend on building 320,000 homes a year consistently – more than double the projected rate for the 2024/2025 year. IFG said success for the Tory plans was “hard to see.”

Blame the British weather

Flat GDP growth in April was blamed on persistent rain – but an economy that’s able to withstand the sogginess of the Great British Climate must tackle an “urgent skills gap” according to the National Centre for Universities and Businesses. New data revealed the unemployment rate has risen to 4.4%, leaving 3.2m out of work and wanting a job – in the North East, North West, and Yorkshire there are roughly 420,000 unemployment benefit claimants. The NCUB is calling for a future government to craft a cohesive plan to equip the nation’s workers with the new skills required in today’s economy.

Davey’s dream

Sir Ed Davey took a break from his ‘working holiday’ to announce his party’s manifesto, promising to begin “tackling problems head on” with 380,000 new homes across the UK and just under 40% of those as social homes. Additionally, 10 ambiguous “garden cities” are expected to sprout up if the Liberal Democrats were to win power. After establishing a tacit non-aggression pact with Labour, Liberal Democrat candidates will pitch themselves as the alternative ‘non-Conservative’ constituency MP.

How do I free up data space?

The UK must be ready to ride the coming wave of AI, and Labour’s Shadow Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology, Peter Kyle, is keen on using Green Belt land for expansion of the sector. He’s been toying with the possibility of classifying data centres as “nationally significant infrastructure projects,” as an attempt to keep NIMBYs at arm’s length. Green Belt will have to be loosened if Labour gets its way – a stark contrast to Tory “cast iron” commitments to maintaining Green Belt as a containment of urban sprawl.

Greens show their true colours

The Green Party pledged 150,000 new “genuinely” affordable social homes each year, and to put rent control in the hands of local authorities. Additionally, the party wants an end to ‘no fault evictions’ and a concerted effort to insulate homes, in what it touted as a local authority-led, street-by-street retrofit programme aiming to bring all homes up to an EPC B standard. True to the name, the party confirmed it wants to cancel recently issued fossil fuel licences such as at the Rosebank oil field off Shetland.

Your Comments

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Which party is going to make Manchester the 2nd capital?

By Verticality

@Verticality Gotta admire your lack of ambition. ‘Second capital’. Ha.

By Anonymous

Birmingham, is much better and will be connected by Hs2.

By Accept it.

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