Party’s manifesto light on infrastructure commitments and numbers
The Conservative manifesto has confirmed a tough approach to immigration, as Theresa May laid out a blueprint to tackle what she called the UK’s “giant challenges”.
The party has stuck to its pledge to reduce net immigration below 100,000 and ignored calls to exclude overseas students from statistics.
If elected the party will “bear down on immigration from outside the EU” across all visa routes, the manifesto says.
Unlike the 2015 Conservative manifesto, the document is light on infrastructure commitments - it commits to HS2, Northern Powerhouse rail and the expansion of Heathrow airport, but a pledge to push forward with Crossrail 2 has been dropped, while new nuclear power stations also fail to get a mention.
As trailed at the weekend, the manifesto contains a commitment to helping councils and housing associations build more social housing, but with no funding commitments attached.
Business groups generally welcomed the Conservatives’ plans, but the CBI branded the party’s “blunt approach to immigration” its “Achilles heel”.
Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI director general, added: “The next government can both control migration and support prosperity - it does not need to be an either-or choice.”
The launch comes as Building today began urging readers to write to election candidates in their consituencies to highlight the role construction will play in a post-Brexit economy, as part of this publication’s Better Brexit campaign.
Other pledges in the Conservative manifesto
- Deliver road, rail, airports and broadband that businesses need
- Increase the amount levied on firms employing migrant workers
- Ensure foreign ownership of companies controlling important infrastructure does not undermine British security or essential services
- At least 100 new free schools a year
- Introduce T-Level technical qualifications for 16-18 year-olds
- Support development of new Edinburgh Concert Hall as part of 70th Anniversary Year of the Edinburgh Festival
- £1bn to modernise the prison estate
- Establish an industrial energy efficiency scheme to help large companies install measures to cut their energy use and their bills
- Against more large-scale onshore wind power for England, but maintain position as a global leader in offshore wind and development of wind projects in the remote islands of Scotland