General election 2017: May says ‘there’s no Mayism’, only ‘solid Conservatism’ at manifesto launch – politics live

18 May

The headlines will focus on the Conservatives abandoning triple lock protection for pensions and an end to David Cameron’s “tax lock” promise of no increase in income tax, national insurance or VAT.

But what else has changed in the small print between today’s Tory manifesto and David Cameron’s two years ago?

On child poverty

Tory manifesto 2015: We will work to eliminate child poverty

Tory manifesto 2017: We want to reduce child poverty

What it means: Four million of our children are living below the official poverty line and the IFS projects the number will pass 5 million by 2020. That demands a muscular response. But the Conservatives have abolished the child poverty unit which has been subsumed into the DWP. This looks like no muscular response on the rising numbers will be forthcoming.

On balancing the budget

Tory manifesto 2015: Deliver a balanced structural current budget in 2017-18

Tory manifesto 2017: “A balanced budget by the middle of the next decade”

What it means: A far less specific commitment, and ten years later than George Osborne promised.

On the Human Rights Act

Tory manifesto 2015: Scrap the Human Rights Act and curtail the role of the European Court of Human Rights, so that foreign criminals can be more easily deported from Britain

Tory manifesto 2017: We will not repeal or replace the Human Rights Act while the process of Brexit is underway but we will consider our human rights legal framework when the process of leaving the EU concludes. We will remain signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights for the duration of the next parliament.

What it means: Another ditching of a flagship Cameron pledge, and a promise May made during her leadership campaign to remain signatories to the ECHR. A U-turn maybe, but one that will be welcomed by many progressives.

On defence

Tory manifesto 2015: We will maintain the size of the regular armed services and not reduce the army to below 82,000.

Tory manifesto 2017: We will maintain the overall size of the armed forces, including an army that is capable of fielding a war-fighting division.

What it means: No numbers here, because the Conservatives have failed to meet this pledge, the numbers are currently 78,500. Defence secretary Michael Fallon has been regularly castigated in TV interviews about the figure.

On prosperity

Tory manifesto 2015: We will pursue our ambition to become the most prosperous major economy in the world by the 2030s

Tory manifesto 2017: It doesn’t appear

What it means: This was a key pledge by George Osborne as a case for deficit reduction. The UK is the fifth largest economy in the world though it slipped to sixth below France in the direct aftermath of Brexit. With such economic uncertainty surrounding the Brexit negotiations, it seems unsurprising this has been quietly dropped.

On rail travel

Tory manifesto 2015: We will keep commuter rail fares frozen in real terms for the whole of the next Parliament

Tory manifesto 2017: It doesn’t appear

What it means: It means rail fares could rise above inflation under the Tories. Labour has pledged to renationalise the rail network, prompted in part by rising fares.

On Heathrow

Tory manifesto 2015: We will deliver on our National Infrastructure Plan and respond to the Airports Commission’s final report.

Tory manifesto 2017: We will continue our programme of strategic national investments, including High Speed 2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and the expansion of Heathrow Airport

What it means: Heathrow’s third runway is going ahead and Conservative candidates in seats where they at risk against anti-Heathrow Lib Dems will have to explain that on the south west London doorsteps. Among them will be Zac Goldsmith, standing again for the Tories in Richmond Park after quitting and sparking a by-election to protest the decision, which he subsequently lost to Lib Dem Sarah Olney.

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