Who should I vote for? The main parties’ policies at a glance

Who should I vote for in general election?
Who should I vote for in general election?

The general election on July 4 gives the main national parties the opportunity to reshape the political map and future of the country.

Voters will have the choice of backing the Conservatives under Rishi Sunak or giving their support to Labour, led by Sir Keir Starmer, Sir Ed Davey’s Liberal Democrats or Reform UK under the leadership of Nigel Farage.

With the party manifestos revealed, The Telegraph have put together a summary of the commitments laid out by the leading parties on major policy areas.

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NHS and social care

Conservative: Slashing waiting lists is one of the five key pledges of Mr Sunak’s premiership, as well as ruling out any public funding cuts for the NHS. The Prime Minister promised to deliver 92,000 more nurses and 28,000 more doctors compared with 2023 levels, and free up NHS space by moving care closer to people’s communities. The Tory manifesto also states the party is committed to a “sustainable social care system” that builds upon existing investment.

Labour: The party have vowed to get the NHS “back on its feet”, with an extra two million operations, scans and appointments in the first year. “Neighbourhood health centres” would be trialled to cater for the patients clogging up overloaded A&E units, while dentistry and “ending the 8am scramble” for GP appointments form key pillars of the Labour programme. The party also promise a “prevention first” approach with bans on energy drinks and smoking and to double the number of medical school placements.

Lib Dems: The Liberal Democrats’ key pledges centre on GPs, committing to boosting their numbers by 8,000 and giving the patients a right to an appointment within seven days. The manifesto separates social care from health and pledges introducing free personal care for the elderly or disabled and a new minimum wage for carers £2 above the national average. An expansion of carers allowance and guarantee of respite breaks have also been announced, along with a “dad month” of paid leave for new fathers.

Reform: The party has pledged to cut NHS waiting lists to zero in the space of two years and retain healthcare staff by removing the basic tax rate for front-line workers for three years. It will also introduce a tax relief of 20 per cent on all private healthcare and insurance to reduce pressure on the NHS and review NHS contracts in a drive to “cut waste”. Reform plans to introduce a scheme providing patients a voucher for fully-funded private treatment if they could not see a GP within three days. The party would also hold a public inquiry into both excess deaths and Covid vaccine harms.

Tax and spending

Conservative: The Tories have put lower taxes at the centre of their plan, with a surprise pledge to abolish National Insurance payments for almost all self-employed people. Employee national insurance would also be cut by a further 2p, taking the tax to 6 per cent by April 2027. The manifesto also includes a pledge to abolish Stamp Duty on homes worth up to £425,000 for first time buyers and to reintroduce the Help to Buy scheme.

Labour: Sir Keir’s first pledge included keeping taxes “as low as possible”. Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, has ruled out any new tax rises beyond those already promised on energy company profits, private school fees and private equity bonuses. The party has faced pressure from the Conservatives to address claims they are planning a £2,000 tax raid on British households, a figure Sir Keir has described as “false”.

Lib Dems: The party plan to more than double capital gains tax for top earners to fund their NHS package and increase the digital services tax on tech giants. Sir Ed also wants to implement a “one-off windfall tax on the super-profits of oil and gas producers”.

Reform: The tax burden is one of Reform’s key lines of attack. They have promised to raise the minimum income tax threshold from £12,571 to £20,000, with the higher 40 per cent threshold set to £70,000. Stamp duty would be scrapped for properties valued less than £750,000 and inheritance tax would be “abolished” for all estates worth under £2 million. VAT on energy bills would also be scrapped and corporation tax would ultimately be set at 15 per cent after five years.


Conservative: Mr Sunak has said the only way to assure public peace of mind is to “get borrowing and debt down”, pledging to continue decreasing public sector net debt and to keep borrowing below 3 per cent of GDP in the fifth year of the forecast. The party continues to brand itself of the “party of business” with a vow not to raise corporation tax.

Labour: As mentioned, Sir Keir has set an aim to secure the highest sustained growth in the G7 with an approach coined “securonomics”. This would involve “tough” fiscal rules with a new enhanced role for the Office of Budget Responsibility and Office for Value for Money introduced.

Lib Dems: The Liberal Democrats have a vision of “bringing down trade barriers” with close allies such as repairing relations with the European Union in a four-stage roadmap. Sir Ed also vows to give everyone a right to flexible working and business incentives to invest in technologies that would create jobs and tackle climate change.

Reform: Mr Farage is set to reduce the main corporation tax rate from 25 per cent to 20 per cent and raise the threshold for paying the tax from £50,000 to £100,000. His party would also abolish the IR35 rule and raise the VAT threshold to £120,000 to “free small entrepreneurs from red tape”.


Conservative: To combat the sewage crisis, the Conservatives are prepared to reinvest water company proceeds into river restoration and want to maintain “record flooding funding”. Mr Sunak plans not to introduce any new restrictions on fox hunting and take a “more pragmatic” approach to net zero by putting future net zero targets and measures to vote in Parliament.

Labour: While Labour had initially to borrow pledged £28 billion a year for its green prosperity plan, this was watered down to roughly £5 billion. Under the scaled-down blueprint, Labour aim to make the UK a “clean energy superpower” with a zero-carbon electricity system by 2030. To achieve this, they would create Great British Energy, a publicly-owned clean power company.

Lib Dems: A focus on water companies, with plans to turn them into US-style public benefit corporations and form a stricter regulatory body, forms a large part of the Lib Dem’s environment policy. The party also plan to “double nature” by 2050, pass a clean air act and cut green house gases to net zero five years ahead of the UK’s current target. Sir Ed also wants a “home energy upgrade programme” and VAT cuts on electric vehicle charging.

Reform: Vocal opponents of net zero policy, Reform would abandon all existing carbon emissions targets and accelerate oil licences in the North Sea. It also plans to scrap £10 billion of annual green energy subsidies and transition to producing clean nuclear energy through small modular nuclear reactors instead.

Education and childcare

Conservative: In a slew of policies targeting young people, the Tories would ban mobile phones during the school day and aim to “transform” education for over 16-year-olds by introducing a new Advanced British Standard to replace A Levels. It also wants to create 100,000 more apprenticeships by scrapping “Mickey Mouse degrees”. One of the Prime Minister’s flagship policies would be the return of a mandatory national service scheme.

Labour: A plan to put VAT on private school fees is designed to fund the recruitment of 6,500 new teachers for the state sector. One-word reviews would be out in a ‘more effective’ Ofsted system, along with a review of school curriculum and assessment.

Lib Dems: To address the damage done by the Covid pandemic, the party has promised to put a mental health professional in every school. Spending per pupil would rise above the rate of inflation each year, with free school meals extended to all children in primary education. The UK would also return to the Erasmus Plus programme as part of plans for closer ties with the EU.  All adults would be eligible for £10,000 to spend on education and training throughout their lives.

Reform: A ban on “transgender ideology” and critical race theory would be imposed in primary and secondary schools, while independent schools would be given a tax relief of 20 per cent. Schools will have to teach lessons on home economics and social media risk. Student loans would no longer accrue interest, and two-year courses must be offered in a bid to ease student debt. Universities which are deemed to undermine free speech would see funding cuts.


Conservative: The return of national service would see military placements open to 30,000 school leavers and the party has also vowed to hike the UK’s military budget to 2.5 per cent of GDP by the end of the decade. Mr Sunak has committed £3 billion in aid to Ukraine every year until 2030

Labour: Has given no time frame on its pledge to match the 2.5 per cent of GDP for defence spending. But it has also said it would make an “unshakeable commitment” to Nato and Britain’s nuclear deterrent, in a clear departure from the Corbyn years. The party also said it may boost the size of the Army following its defence review, which would be held in the party’s first year in government. Labour has further committed to recognising a Palestinian state in its manifesto.

Lib Dems:  They would reverse cuts to troop numbers, maintain the UK’s support for Nato and “a posture of continuous at-sea nuclear deterrence”, while at the same time seeking multilateral global disarmament.

Reform: Pledges include an increase of defence spending to 2.5 per cent on GDP in three years, and then 3pc within six. Basic pay would be increased while incentives and tax breaks for Britain’s defence industry and a new department for veterans would be introduced. The party also plans to recruit 30,000 new full-time soldiers.

Pensions and welfare

Conservative: With the Tory “quadruple lock” plan already laid out, keeping other pensioner perks such as winter fuel payments could also be on the menu. A ‘Get Britain Working’ campaign is likely to mean a crackdown on benefits.

Labour: Has said it would bring back the lifetime cap on pension savings abolished by Jeremy Hunt. It would not commit to matching the Tories’ state pension tax plan, preferring instead to retain the triple lock of state pension rises in line with wage growth, inflation or 2.5 per cent – whichever is highest.

Lib Dems: Committed to the triple lock. Pensions would also be made “green”, with the party requiring that funds comply with Paris Agreement climate goals. They have also pledged compensation for the Waspi women born in the 1950s who were worst affected by state pension age reform.

Reform: The pension system would be reviewed and a wide-ranging suppression of welfare would be used to get up to two million people into the workplace. All job seekers must find work in four months, accept a job after two offers or see their benefits withdrawn.

Policing and crime

Conservative: The focus may be on knife crime and the growing problem under Sadiq Khan’s mayoralty in London while pledging to sort out the policing of lower-level offences like burglary and antisocial behaviour, where Labour has painted a picture of a lawless Britain. Mr Sunak also announced plans to hand murderers stricter sentences under the biggest overhaul of homicide law in nearly 70 years and put 8,000 more police officers dedicated to neighbourhood crime on the streets.

Labour: The party said it would halve serious violent crime in 10 years, putting an extra 13,000 officers on the beat reintroduce strengthened Asbos, and scrap the £200 rule on shoplifting.

Lib Dems: Promising to restore community policing, down by 4,500 officers under the Conservatives since 2015. The country’s 40 police and crime commissioner posts would be scrapped, with savings invested in front-line law enforcement.

Reform: Hire enough police so there are 300 officers per 100,000 people in England in Wales - a total of 40,000 new recruits - over five years. Veterans would be strongly preferred. Dealing and trafficking drugs would result in mandatory life imprisonment, while a new “substantial possession” offence would incur a heavy fine. Stop and search would be increased “substantially”, while all diversity, equality and inclusion roles would be scrapped. Repeat violent offenders will get mandatory life sentences, while prison capacity will be increased by 10,000 places.


Conservative: Despite the Rwanda Bill and a vow to ‘stop the boats’, the Tories will not be committing to a cap on net migration, although Mr Sunak has promised to tighten the rules further on dependants. He has pledged an annual cap on immigration visas to reduce the number of foreign workers and dependants entering the UK.

Labour: A new Border Security Command forms the heart of plans for migrant Channel crossings, with counter-terror forces to “smash the criminal boat gangs”. Labour would scrap the Tories’ Rwanda Bill and has signalled a possible returns deal with the EU. It would recruit more than 1,000 caseworkers to cut the asylum backlog.

Lib Dems: The Lib Dems described the Rwanda Bill as a “moral vacuum where our asylum system should be”, and would instead “provide safe and legal routes to sanctuary for refugees”. A “dedicated unit outside the Home Office” would speed up the asylum process.

Reform: Freezing “non-essential” immigration, leaving the European Convention on Human Rights, introducing offshore processing to stop the boats and setting up a new immigration department make up some of the party’s key pledges. Mr Farage also wants to introduce an immigration tax, forcing employers to pay a higher National Insurance (NI) rate on foreign workers.


Conservative: Likely to focus on planning reform of EU-era rules, a hobby horse of outgoing Housing Secretary Michael Gove which has been blamed for blocking 100,000 new homes.

Labour: Pledging to build 1.5 million new homes within five years, with “poor quality” green belt targeted, and to create “the next generation of new towns”. A target of home ownership of 70 per cent has been set, facilitated by a new mortgage guarantee scheme.

Lib Dems: Committed to building at least 150,000 new council and social homes each year. Local authorities would be given the power to end the “right to buy” and be allowed to buy land for housing based on the value of its current use, rather than the value after a planning application.

Reform: A review of the planning system would see development accelerated on brownfield sites and Britons will be prioritised for social housing over foreign nationals.