UK's May promises voters immigration curbs, fairer society


Britain's ruling Conservatives promised to clamp down on immigration from outside and within the European Union as the party launched its general election manifesto on Thursday.

This amount doubles the "Skills Charge" of 1,000 pounds already in force.

The pledge to "legislate for tougher regulation of tax advisory firms" is made in the Conservatives" manifesto, launched today, which also includes a promise to "take a more proactive approach to transparency and misuse of trusts'.

"This is the right ambition for a country with a global outlook, so we will maintain the commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of our gross national income on assistance to developing nations and worldwide emergencies". Brexit will define us: "our place in the world, our economic security and our future prosperity", said Mrs May.

The changes, viewed as the party's attempt to woo back voters who had swung towards the anti-immigrant UK Independence Party (UKIP) in the 2015 general election, are likely to hit Indians the hardest as they comprise of the largest number of skilled workers granted visas to live and work in the UK.

It comes after the manifesto, unveiled in Halifax yesterday, promised to use Brexit to cut net migration into the United Kingdom to the tens of thousands, partly by forcing employers to pay more to hire non-UK workers. Overseas students will remain in the immigration statistics, despite pleas by university authorities to exclude them from immigration figures.

Under existing plans, the deficit is projected to fall to 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product by 2021/22, from 2.6 per cent of GDP in the last financial year.

Her collection of pledges gives a glimpse of what May plans for Britain's €2.3 trillion economy as she plots tortuous two-year Brexit divorce negotiations with the 27 other members of the European Union.

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Speaking at the launch, Ms May said "every vote for me and my team is a vote that will strengthen my hand in those Brexit negotiations".

Additionally, May announced that she will scrap her predecessor's plan to cap social care costs at £72,000.

The Tories hope to make savings by ending the policy of free school lunches for all children in their first three years of primary school.

On the personal tax front, the party has retained its pledge to raise the personal allowance to £12,500 by 2020, while the higher rate tax band will increase to £50,000. A payment that pensioners now receive for winter fuel bills will in future go only to the poorest.

The money saved by means-testing the winter fuel payment will go directly to fund health and social care.

Instead, Mrs May offered a guarantee that no-one will be forced out of their home or left with assets of less than £100,000 as a result of care costs. The levy now requires medium and big businesses to pay £1,000 each year for every skilled non-EU worker they employ, while small firms and charitable organisations would need to pay £364.

But the prime minister, an initial opponent of Brexit who won the top job in the political turmoil that followed last summer's referendum vote, has so far given few details on what she aims to do if she wins the June 8 vote. This all limits the chances of a cross-party, anti-Brexit coalition forming, in which some pro-EU Conservatives join Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party lawmakers to oppose the prime minister. The former chancellor and current editor of the Evening Standard has published an editorial referring to the policy as "politically rash and economically illiterate".