Compare the parties
HOW THE BIG THREE'S MANIFESTOS COMPAREThe three main parties have issued their General Election manifestos. This is what they say on some of the key issues.
HOW THE BIG THREE'S MANIFESTOS COMPARE
The three main parties have issued their General Election manifestos. This is what they say on some of the key issues.
TAX AND THE ECONOMY
LABOUR: No increase in the basic or higher rates of income tax. No extension of VAT on a range of items. Targeted tax cuts for families and to support work. £21 billion of savings through reducing waste and cutting 80,000 civil service jobs.
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CONSERVATIVES: Savings of £12 billion more than Labour through cutting waste and bureaucracy. Reduce Government borrowing by £8 billion, leaving £4 billion for tax cuts - still to be specified.
LIBERAL DEMOCRATS: Abolish the council tax and replace it with a local income tax and introduce a new 50p top rate of tax on incomes over £100,000. Money raised to be used for spending on priority areas. Child trust funds to be scrapped.
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LABOUR: NHS patients' right to choose any hospital offering operation at NHS prices. Waiting times to be cut to maximum of 18 weeks. Expansion of private sector provision within the NHS. Consultation on new hospital hygiene laws.
CONSERVATIVES: Patients' right to choose hospital or have 50% of the cost of the operation paid by the taxpayer if they go private. Matrons' power to close dirty wards in crackdown on MRSA "superbug".
LIBERAL DEMOCRATS: Free long-term personal care for the elderly. Free eye and dental checks. Fewer NHS prescription charges. Reduce "hidden' waiting lists for diagnostic tests.
LABOUR: More city academies. All secondary schools to become independent specialist schools. Failing schools to be taken over by successful ones. Maintenance allowances for poorer students to stay in education after 16.
CONSERVATIVES: Heads and governors to be given power to expel unruly pupils. 600,000 extra school places to enable more parents to get first choice school. University fees to be scrapped but interest charged on student loans.
LIBERAL DEMOCRATS: University tuition and top-up fees to be abolished with maintenance grants for poorer students. 21,000 more primary school teachers to be recruited to cut class sizes.
LABOUR: Neighbourhood policing teams for all communities. 24,000 extra community support officers and 12,000 police officers freed up for frontline duties. All prisoners to be supervised on release. Legislation to introduce ID cards.
CONSERVATIVES: 5,000 more police officers each year and paperwork to be slashed. Early prison release schemes to be scrapped and 20,000 new prison places to be created. A tenfold increase in drug rehabilitation places.
LIBERAL DEMOCRATS: 10,000 more police on the streets and an extra 20,000 community support officers. Non-violent criminals to do tough community work as an alternative to jail. Plans for ID cards to be scrapped.
ASYLUM AND IMMIGRATION
LABOUR: A points system for immigrants. Only skilled workers allowed to settle long-term. Entrants to UK requiring visas to be fingerprinted. ID cards for visitors staying more than three months. More failed asylum seekers to be removed.
CONSERVATIVES: Withdrawal from the Geneva Convention on refugees with an annual quota for asylum seekers. A points system for immigrants with Parliament setting annual cap on numbers. A new border police force to be created.
LIBERAL DEMOCRATS: Asylum seekers to be allowed to work to end dependence on benefits. Responsibility for assessing asylum claims to be transferred to a dedicated agency.