Sam Naylor tells you everything you need to know about the political parties in preparation for May’s election.

Labour

Slated for having a ‘weak leader’, Labour haven’t received much positive support from the mass media. (Though they do boast a Wallace look-a-like.) Much of their campaign thus far has hinged on the reversal of “the damage the Tories have done”, but what does this actually mean for their policies?

Ensure fairness in our tax system. They will reverse David Cameron’s tax cut for millionaires and cut taxes for the millions instead; a noble pledge for sure, though closing loop-holes for tax avoidance for some of the highest earners is easier said than done.

Tackle NHS waiting times and put patients first. They will guarantee that you will be able to see a GP within 48 hours; now will this mean all appointments or just emergency appointments? And at what point will this come to fruition if they get into office? Where are all these new GPs coming from? So many questions.

Make sure everyone who works can afford to live. They will raise the minimum wage and give tax breaks to companies that sign up to pay a living wage.

Although Labour’s plan to cut tuition fees to £6,000 a year has been stated in interviews, it isn’t shown as clearly on their website. You have to dig through their blog using the search bar to find that students who are currently in their first year at university will benefit from Labour’s plan, through a cap on tuition fees coming into place as of September 2016. Too little, too late for students currently in their second and third year of studies though.

Labour may have missed a trick by not incorporating Katie Hopkins tweet, that she will leave the country if they win, into an official pledge. Now that is something Britons could get behind.

 

Green

Champions of the hashtag – aside from environmental issues, what do the Greens intend to do with more MPs in Westminster? An end to #BigGovernment; power diverted to the local level for a more open and transparent democracy. A step towards this future would be to tackle #BigBusinesses; their aim – bring power back to local trade and economies. But what does the official party website have to say on the issues?

Cue hashtag frenzy; #PUBLICNHS – an end to the “creeping privatisation” of services, whilst mental health is given higher priority and resources to match.
#FAIRECONOMY: an end to austerity, “Robin Hood Tax” on banks and the introduction of a living wage (£10 an hour) by 2020. Phew and breath. But wait the Greens have even more ambitions for 2020.

#SAFECLIMATE: would see a Green majority act as guardians of the planet, working alongside other countries to ensure global temperatures do not rise above two degrees, (now there is some Avengers-style-superhero-planet-saving.)

There’s also the usual: better homes, free education and better transport (all with hashtags) – everything a leftwing fringe party can offer. A socialist utopia and green pipe dream.

 

Liberal Democrats

The student party – unsurprisingly the Liberal Democrats aren’t geared towards the student vote this time round. Their party website doesn’t discuss any changes to the current level of tuition fees and it’s probably a good job too. Some of their main pledges do look promising, though whether they can uphold these in another coalition is a different matter.

Increase tax-free allowance to £12,500

Invest £8bn in the NHS. Equal care for mental & physical health

Balance the budget fairly through a mixture of cuts and taxes on higher earners.

 

Conservatives

More of the same – and we’re not just talking more food banks, a rise in zero-hours contracts and further privatisation of the NHS here! No, what we mean is… wait for it… “our long-term economic plan”!

We hear this a lot from the Conservative party, like every interview with Cameron or Osborne, but what exactly does this overused slogan mean? Well according to the party’s website (saturated with different hues of blue) their long-term economic plan can be split into five digestible points:

Numero uno: reduce the deficit. Expect more cuts as the Tories make more of those “difficult decisions” that affect the working majority.

In at two: cut income tax and freeze fuel duty.

And at three: create more jobs. 1.9 million have been created over the past five years, bolstered by self-employment and zero or low hours contracts.

Number four: cap welfare and work to control immigration. The Tories want the economy to benefit those that “work hard and play by the rules”, like international businesses that bend the rules to avoid tax and pocket more profit.

Finally at five: deliver the best schools and skills for young people. Boasting 2.2 million new apprenticeships with an average annual salary of £11,446 and no plans to reduce tuition fees from £9,000.

 

Ukip

Out of Europe – we’ve all heard the broken record that is Ukip skipping over the major issues with their magic bullet solution, leave the EU, take back our boarders and close the gates. But what else do Ukip have to offer? Delving into Ukip’s “Policies for people” page on their website, here’s what I found.

Repairing the UK economy. Inheritance tax will be abolished; because nothing shouts hard-working citizen more than one that receives tax free money from a dead wealthy relative.
Reducing the debts we leave to our grandchildren. Ukip will abolish the Department of Energy and Climate Change and scrap green subsidies; because a strong economy can withstand all manner of natural disasters.

Employment and small businesses. Businesses should be able to discriminate in favour of young British workers; because discrimination is the cornerstone to allow any healthy democracy to thrive.

Culture. Ukip opposes ‘plain paper packaging’ for tobacco products and minimum pricing of alcohol; because nothing screams being British more than drunken behaviour and chain smoking. Think you have what it takes to be the next poster-person for Ukip? Apply today at Famousasfarage.org.uk