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Conservative leader Theresa May and Chancellor Philip Hammond

19 May 2017

"It is clear the Conservatives are offering more of the same, tax giveaways for their billionaire friends and nothing for ordinary people".

The Tory leader described the next five years as the "most challenging" in a lifetime as she spoke at the Conservative launch in Halifax.

"We do not believe in untrammelled free markets", she wrote in her party's election manifesto, entitled "Forward Together".

The Prime Minister's policy platform, which saw her vow to govern for "mainstream Britain" and deliver a strong economy after Brexit, included a radical shake-up of pensioner benefits and the system for funding social care.

Net migration to Britain was 273,000 in the year to September.

But as well as seeking to capitalise on Brexit to curb the numbers coming to the United Kingdom, the manifesto promises "to bear down on immigration from outside the Europe Union" across all visa routes. She described it as a vision for Britain.

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May committed her government to erasing Britain's budget deficit by the middle of the next decade, sticking to the softer fiscal programme she adopted after taking power past year.

"Let us be in no doubt it will not be easy, there will be obstacles in the way, and many willing us to fail", said May. If we get Brexit right we can use this moment of change.

Repeating her pledge to help those who are "just about managing", Mrs May said: "For too many people in Britain today, life is simply much harder than many seem to think or realise".

May made the remarks during a speech presenting her Conservative Party's policy pledges to voters ahead of a June 8 parliamentary election the party is widely expected to win.

Earlier this week, May said she would expand the rights of workers, including the ability to request up to a year of leave to look after sick relatives.

In media questions later, May responded by expanding on her vision for Britain, again giving little detail.

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The "double lock" will mean the State Pension will rise by the higher of average earnings or inflation but will no longer be guaranteed to rise by at least 2.5%. Overseas students will remain in the immigration statistics, despite pleas by university authorities to exclude them from immigration figures.

The Conservative platform says Britain will enter European Union divorce negotiations "in a spirit of honest cooperation" - and will pay "a fair settlement" to meet its obligations as a departing member.

It will also stick to its plan to lower Corporation Tax to 17% by 2020. The higher rate of income tax will also be increased to £50,000.

On transport, the manifesto backs the expansion of London's Heathrow airport where there are controversial proposals for a third runway.

"P$3 eople will be left helpless knowing that what will happen is if they're unlucky enough to suffer the need for care costs, they'll be entirely on their own until they're down to the last £100,000, all of their wealth including their house".

Free school lunches for infants in England will be scrapped, but there will be free breakfasts across the primary aged pupils.

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