All Rishi Sunak’s planned policies if the Conservative Party wins the general election

The general election campaign is in full swing with party leaders travelling up and down the country announcing planned policies if they win.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak and Labour Leader Sir Kier Starmer have already announced a number of manifesto pledges after a snap summer election was announced for 4 July.

Mr Sunak faces the task of preventing the Tories from suffering an electoral wipeout, with Labour consistently 20 points ahead in the opinion polls.

Britain’s leading election expert Professor Sir John Curtice said the Conservatives face a “major challenge” to hold on to power and that the election is “for Labour to win”.

The Independent has been tracking every policy announcement from the prime minister in his 2024 campaign, including ones he has already pledged.

National Service

In his first major policy announcement on 25 May, the prime minister unveiled plans for mandatory national service for young adults.

Plans are currently being drawn up for 18-year-olds to either join the military full-time or volunteer one weekend every month carrying out community service.

Aimed for the first teenagers to take part in September 2025, Rishi Sunak is said to believe compulsory service would help foster the “national spirit” that emerged during the pandemic.

Around 30,000 full-time military placements will be on offer, with the vast majority of 18-year-olds expected to do the compulsory community roles instead, working with organisations such as charities, the NHS, police or fire services.

The programme will cost an estimated £2.5 billion a year by the end of the decade and plans to fund £1 billion through plans to “crack down on tax avoidance and evasion”.

The remaining £1.5 billion will be paid for with money previously used for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), which is a package to support charities and community groups, the Tories said.

Labour have attacked the policy with Kier Starmer calling it a “teenage Dad’s Army”.

Tax break for pensioners

On 28 May, Mr Sunak pledged to increase the income tax personal allowance for pensioners.

The £2.4 billion plan would give pensioners  a tax cut worth around £95 in 2025-26, rising to £275 in 2029-30.

Mr Sunak’s new tax policy would see the age-related allowance rise in line with the increase to the state pension under a “triple lock plus” guarantee.

That would mean that both the state pension and the allowance – the amount that can be earned before being liable to income tax – rising by inflation, average wages or 2.5%, whichever is highest.

The announcement will guarantee in legislation that the pensioners’ personal allowance will always be higher than the level of the new state pension.

The policy will cost £2.4 billion a year by 2029/30 and will be funded through the clamping down on tax dodgers – the same pot of money which will help pay for Mr Sunak’s plan for new mandatory national service for 18-year-olds.

Labour said it was a “desperate move” from a party, and said it would not match the “triple lock plus”.

‘Biological sex’ to become protected characteristic

On 3 June, the Conservatives pledged to change the Equality Act to define the protected characteristic of sex as “biological sex”.

They claim the change will make it simpler for service providers for women and girls, such as those running sessions for domestic abuse victims, to prevent biological males from taking part.

The party says the proposed change to the law will not remove the existing and continuing protections against discrimination on the basis of gender reassignment provided by the Equality Act.

Women and equalities minister Kemi Badenoch said ‘changing your clothes doesn’t change who you are’ (PA Wire)
Women and equalities minister Kemi Badenoch said ‘changing your clothes doesn’t change who you are’ (PA Wire)

Mr Sunak said: “The safety of women and girls is too important to allow the current confusion around definitions of sex and gender to persist.

“The Conservatives believe that making this change in law will enhance protections in a way that respects the privacy and dignity of everyone in society.”

Crackdown on anti-social tenants and fly-tippers

On 30 May, the Tories pledged that fly-tippers will get points on their driving licences and anti-social tenants will get three strikes before being kicked out of social housing.

The worst fly-tipping offenders could lose their licences and face prison time.

The party said it would pass a law to kick tenants out of social housing after three proven instances of anti-social behaviour. Local authorities and housing associations will be responsible for evicting the tenants.

“This kind of behaviour can wreak havoc on your life and is linked to other crimes, like domestic violence and drug dealing. It will stop,” the party said.

The moves are part of the party’s plan to “stamp out anti-social behaviour across the board to restore pride in place, improve people’s quality of life and boost community cohesion”.

Defence spending

Mr Sunak set out a plan in April to spend 2.5% of GDP on defence by 2030.

The announcement included an additional £500m in military support for Ukraine on top of the £2.5bn allocated for this financial year.

In a speech earlier this month, the prime minister warned giving Sir Keir Starmer the keys to No 10 would leave the country less safe and embolden Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

The funding for this policy would largely come from slashing the size of the Civil Service, the government said.

Labour has said it wants to raise defence spending to 2.5% of GDP, but has not set a date for achieving that target and would carry out a defence review if it wins the election.

‘Advanced British Standard’ 

In October last year, the prime minister announced his plan to scrap A-levels and replace it with a new qualification called the Advanced British Standard (ABS).

At the annual Conservative Party Conference, Mr Sunak said he would merge A levels and technical T-levels into the brand new ABS to create “parity of esteem” between academic and technical subjects.

Teachers in “key subjects” will receive special bonuses of up to £30,000, tax free, over the first five years of their careers to “attract and retain” more people.

Sixth formers will now be required to study five subjects rather than three under the new ABS qualification, said the PM – explaining that he wanted students to spend at least 195 hours more with a teacher.

No 10 emphasised that it was a long-term reform project, and could take at least 10 years to bring in. It means pupils starting primary school in September 2023 could be the first to take the new ABS.