Theresa May has grasped her opportunity to impose her “mainstream” brand of Conservatism on the 2017 Tory manifesto with both hands. Her approach is symbolised by the scrapping of key commitments made by David Cameron, among them the “tax lock” ruling out future increases, and the triple lock protecting the value of state pensions.
The manifesto confirms the expected key pledges to get immigration below 100,000, the Ed Miliband-style cap on energy prices and the commitment that “Brexit means Brexit”.
But among the untrailed items are an £8bn “real terms” boost over five years to the NHS and £4bn extra for schools – although free primary school lunches will be replaced by free breakfasts.
May identifies the “five great challenges” facing post-Brexit Britain as: maintaining economic growth; ensuring a smooth and orderly Brexit and staying a united nation; building a new “great meritocracy”; coping with an ageing society while being fair to the young; and harnessing the power of fast-changing technology while maintaining security and privacy.