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UK general election: Theresa May launches manifesto

19 May 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May says her government will reduce net immigration to below 100,000 if it wins Britain's June 8 election, reaffirming a promise the Conservatives have made and broken since 2010.

This amount doubles the "Skills Charge" of 1,000 pounds already in force.

Stand up to Racism co-convener Sabby Dhalu said: "The Tories look set to make employers pay more to hire migrant workers, while making migrants pay more to use the NHS. There is good solid Conservatism that puts the interests of the country and the interests of ordinary working people at the heart of everything we do in government", she said.

"It is the responsibility of leaders to be straight with people about the challenges ahead and the hard work required to overcome them".

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 USA nationals the next largest group at 9,348.

"We will increase the earnings thresholds for people wishing to sponsor migrants for family visas".

It also rejected the demand of higher education stakeholders to remove students from overall migration statistics: "Overseas students will remain in the immigration statistics - in line with global definitions - and within scope of the government's policy to reduce annual net migration".

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This will be the third consecutive Conservative manifesto that sets a target to lower net migration to less than 100,000 per year. But many economists say the "tens of thousands" target is arbitrary and could lead to a shortage of skilled workers.

"We will leave the European Union and take control of our money, take control of our borders and take control of our laws".

She promised to govern for "mainstream Britain" and urged supporters of all parties to rally behind her drive to get the best possible deal from Brussels.

"Because every vote for me and my team in this election will strengthen my hand in the negotiations to come".

Funding for schools will increase by £4 billion by 2022, the Conservatives have pledged as the party bids to ease backbench concerns.

The Conservatives will scrap universal free school lunches for infants and replace them with free school breakfasts for all primary children.

The prime minister has ditched the 2015 pledge not to raise income tax or national insurance in the Conservative's election manifesto. "If we succeed, the opportunities ahead of us are great", May said, as dozens of anti-austerity campaigners and trade unionists rallied outside.

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These included means testing of winter fuel benefits for pensions, and a scrapping of the so called Dilnot Cap on the cost of social care, which would have capped the maximum paid for care at £72,000.

"All we know if the Tories are returned next month is that if you're a pensioner you face the penalty of losing your winter fuel payments, control of your home, and the value of your pension".

Under the plans, costs could be taken from estates after people have died.

Now migrant workers must pay £200 per year and students £150 in order to use the NHS.

The Confederation of British Industry, EEF and Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, express concerns that the Tories' election manifesto will damage British business and the NHS. Of course I recognise it, particularly in the NHS, where we have brilliant work done by workers from the European Union and other overseas countries.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

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UK general election: Theresa May launches manifesto