By Ben Thompson
With just under three weeks until the election, Britain’s competing political parties have been launching their manifestos. The Labour Party’s manifesto declared itself ‘the most radical, hopeful, people-focused, fully-costed plan in modern times’, whilst the Liberal Democrats placed ‘Stop Brexit’ front and centre as their top priority.
However, Nigel Farage, the Brexit Party leader, has taken a slightly different approach, branding his party’s policies as a ‘contract’ with the voters. He wrote in an article for The Telegraph that ‘one of the least trusted words in the English language is “Manifesto” – in a word association test, many people equate it with “lie”‘.
The Brexit Party, which had experienced success in May’s European Elections, is running in 275 seats around the country. It recently decided to hold back from the 315 seats the Conservatives had won in 2017, out of fear that this would leave to a split of the ‘Leave vote’.
Farage claims the Brexit Party is seeking a ‘political revolution’. The party had previously hinted at what policies would be pursued if they were in government, but are now confirmed aims:
- The Brexit Party wants a ‘clean break’ Brexit, meaning the United Kingdom will withdraw from all EU institutions. There would also be no extension to the transition period, which is due to end at the end of 2020.
- The party would scrap VAT on fuel bills and stop companies earning less than £10,000 a year paying corporation tax.
- The NHS would remain a ‘publicly-owned, comprehensive service, free at the point of use and with privatisation ruled out’.
- Abolition of the House of Lords.
- Reduce immigration levels to numbers that were last seen in the 1990s (A upper limit of 50,000 settling in Britain per year). This would be done whilst ‘introducing a fair points system that is “blind to ethnic origin”, and will always provide a “humane welcome for genuine refugees”’.
- Give small businesses a £10,000 tax-free allowance to ‘boost entrepreneurism’.
- Provide “base level domestic broadband” in deprived regions, and offer free wi-fi on public transport.
- Scrap the BBC’s licence fee.
- Scrap HS2, the proposed high-speed rail link between London and Birmingham. The Brexit Party pledges to use the money saved to invest in regional regeneration and key sectors of the economy, whilst investing £50 billion in regional roads and rail projects in deprived areas.
- Abolish interest rates on student tuition loans. For this year’s students that means 5.4%, far above the cost of government borrowing.
- Introducing a ban on exporting waste to other countries for it to be burned.
- Increase police numbers, ensure more visible policing, and focus on ‘combating violent crime, robbery and burglary rather than enforcing restrictions on free speech.’
- Tackle the issues of drug dealing, knife crime and gangs and to “abolish distortive targets” and introduce sentence “ranges” for young offenders, to encourage rehabilitation.
- The party promises to “revisit” the Universal Credit system and to undertake a 12-month review of it before bringing in reforms within two years.
This wide range of policies is intended to show Britain that the Brexit Party is not a one-issue party. Farage summarised this in his Telegraph article with the concluding line, “As a political force, we are here to stay.”