LONDON (TIP): Prime Minister of UK Theresa May, on Thursday, May18, unveiled her Conservative Party’s election manifesto that makes cutting immigration from countries like India, a central poll pledge if her party wins the June 8 general election.
The British PM set out plans to further tighten rules for skilled workers from outside the European Union, which involves anyone employing a non-EU worker to be expected to pay 2,000 pounds for each worker every year. This amount doubles the “Skills Charge” of 1,000 pounds already in force. Non-EU migrants will also be made to pay more for using the state-run National Health Service (NHS).
According to the most recent UK Home Office figures, Indian nationals accounted for 53,575 or 57 per cent of skilled work visas granted in 2016, with US nationals the next largest group at 9,348.
Prime Minister Theresa May has promised a “mainstream government that would deliver for mainstream Britain”. Launching the Conservative manifesto in Halifax, Mrs. May said a strong economy and delivering Brexit were top priorities.
She said: “We must take this opportunity to build a great meritocracy in Britain. It means making Britain a country that works, not for the privileged few, but for everyone.”
She said there were five priorities: a strong economy, facing up to the consequences of Brexit and a changing world, tackling “enduring” social divisions, responding to the. challenges of an ageing society and harnessing the power of fast-changing technology.
Manifesto measures include:
● Balancing the budget by 2025
● Increasing the national living wage to 60% of the median earnings by 2020
● Restating the commitment to bring net immigration down to tens of thousands a year
● Increasing NHS spending each year to £8bn a year extra by 2022
● Increasing the amount levied on firms employing migrant workers
● A pledge that a referendum on Scottish independence cannot take place until the Brexit process is completed
● Scrapping winter fuel payments to better-off pensioners – at the moment, all pensioners qualify for one-off payments of between £100 and £300 each winter
● A reduction of the so-called “triple lock” on pensions to a “double lock” with the state pension to rise by the higher of average earnings or inflation – but to no longer go up by 2.5% if they are both lower than that
● An extra £4bn on schools in England by 2022 – partly funded by an end to the current provision of free school lunches for all infant pupils in England
● Scrapping the ban on setting up new grammar schools
● Universities charging maximum tuition fees will have to sponsor academies or help found free schools
● A free vote in the Commons to be held on repealing the ban on fox hunting
On executive pay, the manifesto says packages should be approved by an annual vote of shareholders, and companies will have to publish details on how it compares to the pay of the workforce in general. There are also plans to ensure worker representation at board level.
Mrs. May was asked whether her plans spelled a move away from Conservative policies of recent years, and in particular those of Margaret Thatcher. She said: “Margaret Thatcher was a Conservative, I am a Conservative, this is a Conservative manifesto.” She later added: “There is no May-ism. There is good solid Conservatism, which puts the interests of the country and the interests of ordinary working people at the heart of everything we do in government.” (Sources: BBC / PTI)