May launches Conservative manifesto in Halifax - key points

Theresa May was today launching the Conservative manifesto in Halifax with a promise to build a stronger Britain.

Mrs May chose Dean Clough Mill to launch the document as she warned the next five years would be the "most challenging" the country has faced in her lifetime.

In the manifesto Mrs May outlines five changes facing Britain: The economy, Brexit, healing social divisions, the ageing society and changing technology.

Addressing supporters and journalists, she said her government would have “the vision, the plan and the will” to secure a good deal from the EU and create a society “that works for everyone”.

Halifax is a target seat for the Conservatives with Labour's Holly Lynch defending a majority of just 428.

Speaking before the event, Ms Lynch said: "Where were the big names in the Conservative Party when we were trying to save our A&E or secure investment in our rail services? They washed their hands of the issues and argued they couldn’t step in to help.”

Theresa May was due to launch the Conservative manifesto in Halifax this morning.

Theresa May was due to launch the Conservative manifesto in Halifax this morning.

A protest by Unite and Labour supporters threatened to disrupt the launch, as they gathered outside the mill waving banners calling for an end to zero hour contracts.

Activists could be heard shouting “Tories not welcome” and “no return to Victorian Britain under the Tories”.

Speaking this morning, Mrs May claimed a future Tory government “will build a Britain in which work pays, with a higher National Living Wage and proper rights and protections at work”.

“The Government I lead will keep taxes low and cap rip-off energy tariffs to help families who are working all the hours they can to pay the bills,” she said.

“The Government I lead will be relentless in tackling burning injustices like discrimination on the basis of race, gender, mental health or disability.

“The Government I lead will provide strong and stable leadership to see us through Brexit and beyond: tackling the long-term challenges we face, and ensuring everyone in our country has the chance to get on in life.”

Policies included in the manifesto include plans to spend an extra £4bn on schools, close the North-South educational attainment divide, and create a new Prosperity Fund to replace European investment.

There is also a renewed commitment to Northern Powerhouse Rail, a free vote on fox hunting, and a “consolidation” of the regional devolution agenda.

Potentially controversial proposals include scrapping the pensions “triple lock”, means-testing winter fuel allowance and increasing the number of pensioners who pay for at-home care.

The party will also scrap universal access to free school lunches and work to “develop” Britain’s fracking industry.

The policies so far:

- Spend an additional £4bn on school, including introducing a new base line to help schools set to lose out under the proposed new funding formula.

- Increase the amount of assets a person can have before having to pay for their own care from £23,000 to £100,000.

- Promise that no-one will have to sell their home in their lifetime to fund their own care.

- Commit to get net migration down to the tens of thousands.

- Repeal the Fixed Term Parliaments Act.

- Build 500,000 more new homes by 2022, in addition to the million promised by 2020.

- Offer MPs a free vote on repealing the fox hunting ban.

- A new Prosperity Fund to replace the European investment that will dry up once Britain leaves the EU.

- No increase in VAT (but no promise to freeze National Insurance or income tax).

- Increase so-called national living wage to 60% of median earnings by 2020.

- Continue “strategic national investments” including High Speed 2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and the expansion of Heathrow

Airport.

- Establish new institutes of technology, specialising in technical disciplines like maths and science, to meet local demand for skills.

How will it be paid for:

- Ending universal entitlement to free school meals for infant pupils.

- Scrapping the pensions “triple lock” in 2020 in favour of a double lock. This means pensions will increase in line with inflation or average wages, depending which is higher.

- Increasing the number of people who have to pay for their own care by including the value of a person’s home when means-testing to determine whether they hqualify for free at-home care.

- Introducing means-testing for winter fuel allowance to target those most in need.