Boris Johnson vows to scrap hospital parking charges, fill potholes and end the tide of plastic waste clogging our seas as Tories outline key manifesto pledges
- Tory leader is preparing to unveil party’s manifesto in the West Midlands today
- Parking charges to be scrapped for groups including staff working night shifts
- Is also a promise of a ban on the export of plastic waste outside OECD nations
- Commitment to maintain the pensions ‘triple lock’ in an appeal to older voters
- Is also a promise to embark on the country’s ‘biggest ever’ pothole programme
Boris Johnson is promising to scrap hospital parking charges, end plastic waste and embark on the country’s ‘biggest ever’ pothole-filling programme – as the Tories outline their key manifesto pledges today.
Mr Johnson will unveil the party’s election manifesto in the West Midlands later with pledge to open a ‘new chapter’ in Britain’s history – ensuring the country is out of the EU by the end of January.
Brexit is expected to feature heavily in the document, while the party has already vowed to increase the NHS budget by £33.9 billion by 2023-24, increase state-school spending and raise the threshold at which workers start paying National Insurance contributions.
But away from this, the Tory leader will reveal proposals including free car parking at hospitals – including for the two million ‘blue badge’ disabled drivers and passengers, as well as frequent outpatients and staff on night shifts.
He will hail it as a commitment to end ‘unfair’ NHS car parking charges for protected groups – including disabled and terminally ill patients and their families.
The manifesto pledges that no NHS trust will be left with less money because of this change.
The Tory leader (pictured at Bassetlaw District General Hospital on Friday) is set to reveal proposals including free car parking at hospitals – including for the two million ‘blue badge’ disabled drivers
With older people traditionally more likely to go out and vote, the manifesto commits to maintain the pensions ‘triple lock’, winter fuel payments and the older persons free bus pass (pictured, Boris Johnson in Uxbridge yesterday)
Jeremy Corbyn had earlier vowed to abolish hospital car parking fees altogether, but a Conservative source told The Sunday Telegraph that lifting the charges for everyone would leave ‘fewer spaces’ for people visiting sick relatives because car parks would fill up with additional vehicles.
As he prepared to unveil the proposals, Johnson tweeted this morning: ‘It’s time to turn the page from the dither, delay and division of recent years, and start a new chapter in the incredible history of this country, the greatest place on earth.’
Other proposals include, in a clear appeal to motorists, a promise to embark on the country’s ‘biggest ever’ pothole-filling programme, with an injection of £2 billion as part of the Government national infrastructure strategy.
Elsewhere, Mr Johnson will promise a ban on the export of plastic waste outside the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) group of developed nations in an attempt to ensure less plastic is dumped in the oceans.
On climate change, the manifesto simply sticks to the existing commitment to make the UK carbon neutral by 2050 – a target seen as too weak by many environmental groups.
Jeremy Corbyn is pictured campaigning outside an Amazon depot in Sheffield. The Labour manifesto set out plans to raise income tax for people earning £80,000 or more, introduce a new ‘super-rich rate’ for people earning over £125,000
With older people traditionally more likely to go out and vote, the manifesto commits to maintain the pensions ‘triple lock’, winter fuel payments and the older persons free bus pass.
The Tories are also promising a £1 billion boost for after-school and holiday childcare with the aim of providing on-site childcare for 250,000 more primary school children over the summer.
The manifesto will commit £6.3 billion for energy efficiency measures to cut fuel bills for 2.2 million homes targeting social housing and ‘fuel poor’ families, while maintaining the current energy price cap.
There will be a £3 billion national skills fund as the first step towards creating a new ‘right to retrain’.
Mr Johnson described his decision to re-introduce the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) – ratifying his Brexit deal with Brussels – in December as an ‘early Christmas present’ for voters fed up with the wrangling over Britain’s departure from the EU.
‘As families sit down to carve up their turkeys this Christmas, I want them to enjoy their festive-season free from the seemingly unending Brexit box-set drama,’ he said in a statement ahead of the launch event in the West Midlands.
‘The Conservative manifesto, which I’m proud to launch today, will get Brexit done and allow us to move on and unleash the potential of the whole country.’
The Prime Minister is pictured out campaigning with his father Stanley. The Conservatives have already promised to inject an extra £33.9 billion a year into the NHS by 2023-24 and to end unfair hospital car parking charges for NHS staff on night shifts, and disabled and terminally ill patients and their families
Although the bill cannot complete its passage through Parliament before Christmas, the move will be seen as a clear sign of Mr Johnson’s determination to get it through in time for Britain to leave the EU by the January 31 deadline.
Following the election, the new House of Commons is due to sit for the first time on Tuesday December 17.
The first two days are likely to be taken up with the swearing in of the new MPs, potentially with the State Opening and the Queen’s Speech on the Thursday.
That could mean MPs sitting the following Monday – the start of Christmas week – to allow the WAB to be formally introduced, although it is not clear whether there could be any further progress before the holiday.
MPs in the last parliament voted to back the bill at second reading, but the Prime Minister withdrew it after they refused to support a timetable motion to fast-track it through the Commons in just three days.
Mr Johnson said: ‘It’s time to turn the page from the dither, delay and division of recent years, and start a new chapter in the incredible history of this country, the greatest place on Earth.
‘We have achieved amazing things together in the past, and I know we will achieve even more in the future – if only we choose the right path at this critical election.’
Nigel Farage will remain in the North East today, after visiting Hartlepool on Saturday (pictured in the County Durham town)
The announcement of the tax lock comes after Mr Johnson let slip last week that the manifesto would include a commitment to raise the threshold for national insurance contributions.
Initially it will go up to £9,500 saving 31 million taxpayers around £100-a-year. However Mr Johnson’s suggestion it could rise to £12,500 – saving £500-a-year – is described as an ‘ambition’ and it is unclear whether it will be met in the next parliament.
The Labour Party has already launched its manifesto, and leader Jeremy Corbyn will be looking for a positive reaction to his plans as he goes out and about today.
Mr Corbyn is expected to be campaigning in the South East.
It comes after he was criticised by other parties for his decision to remain ‘neutral’ in a proposed public vote on a new Brexit deal which the party intends to negotiate with Brussels.
Nigel Farage will remain in the North East today, after visiting Hartlepool on Saturday.
The Brexit Party leader spoke to market stallholders and joined canvassers knocking on doors as he revealed he believed patriotic voters in places like Hartlepool would vote for his party because of their view of Mr Corbyn.
Meanwhile, the SNP’s Derek Mackay will be in Glasgow as he joins candidate for East Dunbartonshire Amy Callaghan on the campaign trail.
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