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Manifesto Week: The Biggest Policy Promises

18 May 2017

​The manifestos are officially out for the 2017 General Election, and public affairs professionals, journalists and the public alike are all poring over the parties' pledges in a bid to discover what they could mean for the next Parliament.

As each major manifesto is released, DeHavilland's expert team of Monitoring Consultants has been hard at work to bring you carefully-distilled collections of the key policy promises.

Here, they highlight the very biggest headlines to come out of the Conservative and Labour Manifestos.


Health has already turned into a major battleground between Theresa May's Conservatives and Jeremy Corbyn's Labour. While Labour's manifesto offers a comprehensive suite of promises to deliver extra funding based on rises in Income Tax and levies on private medical insurance, the Conservatives have sought to emphasise their prospectively strong Brexit negotiating priorities by signalling the importance of NHS staff in the future talks.

But perhaps the biggest headline Tory pledge has been a new basis for funding long-term social care, reflecting a change to the party's previous pledge for a cap on lifetime costs. Instead, the manifesto is launching a planned "single capital floor" below which assets will be protected from care costs - which shows Ms May's willingness to take a more controversial approach with her grassroots as it implicitly communicates an expectation that asset-rich seniors' homes should bankroll their care.


The ideological lines between Labour and the Conservatives could not be more starkly drawn according to their 2017 election manifestos, with the Conservative Party re-emphasising its headline pledge to expand selective education - a controversial policy that has divided the party from within as much as without, but which will face less powerful backbench opposition should the party find itself elected convincingly upon it. The party has also committed to further expanding its programme of Free Schools.

Labour, on the other hand, has promised to foreground the role of central government in education through the creation of a new National Education Service. Jeremy Corbyn's party has also offered an eye-catching promise to abolish Tuition Fees.

Energy and Environment

One of the biggest Conservative policy announcements to emerge prior to the official manifesto launch was the prospective energy price cap ministers are aiming to impose. After much controversy greeted this proposal, critics and fans alike were offered some more details as part of the party's manifesto, to be dubbed the "Safeguard Tariff Cap".

Meanwhile, Labour promised its own cost-control measure in the form of a price cap keeping dual fuel bills below £1,000 per annum on average, but also set a starkly differing tone to the Government on the issue of fracking. While the Conservatives promised a boost to the party's existing Shale Wealth Fund, Jeremy Corbyn's party offered to ban the controversial unconventionals extraction process altogether.

Financial Services and Pensions

The Conservative Party has used its comfortable position in the polls to tackle one of the biggest sacred cows in contemporary thinking about public finances, signalling an end to the state pension "Triple Lock". Under the party's plans, the policy will be maintained until 2020, before being replaced with a substitute "Double Lock".

This is an audacious move from a leadership determined to address some of the more apparently-unsustainable promises bequeathed by its forebears, and stands in stark contrast with Labour's straight promise to guarantee the "Triple Lock".

Elsewhere, the Conservatives have sought to offer succour to businesses feeling potentially blighted by Brexit, by offering to use monies previously dedicated to the European Investment Fund to provide extra funding for the British Business Bank.

Tech and Telecoms

The Leveson Inquiry continues to occupy the minds of policymakers from both parties at the 2017 General Election, with the two major contenders offering very different policy stances. While Labour has committed in its manifesto to initiate Phase Two of the probe, the Conservative Party has explicitly promised not to take this step, and has further proposed the repeal of relevant but unenacted statutory provisions on the impact of press regulation schemes on legal action taken against journalists.

Elsewhere, continuing Prime Minister Theresa May's theme of standing up for British consumers, her party also commits to considering a ban on cold calling over spurious personal injury claims.

Transport and Infrastructure

To provide for the nation's future Transport needs, each political party is touting its own proposed major fund for infrastructure improvements, but with vastly different spending levels - the Conservatives are promoting the extant National Productivity Investment Fund, worth some £23bn, and Labour its own £250bn brainchild, the National Transformation Fund.
Elsewhere, while Labour has offered a commitment to building Crossrail 2, eagle-eyed industry observers have been swift to note that the Conservative Manifesto does not make a comparable pledge.

General Election 2017 - Definitively covered

These are just some of the policy promises unveiled in the 2017 General Election manifestos. For a fuller view, DeHavilland clients can enjoy our Manifesto Comparison microsite, a dedicated breakdown of each party's pledges, sector by sector, designed for ease of access and contrast.

To get access to DeHaviland's Manifesto Comparison microsite, or to discover more about how our comprehensive coverage can take your engagement strategy further, get in touch today.

DeHavilland's Policy Team

DeHavilland's Policy Executives enable our clients to cut through the noise and assess changes to the political landscape.