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UK's Conservatives to support shale energy, cap household energy tariffs

19 May 2017

Both Labour and the Green party announced plans to ban fracking in their respective manifestos, but the Conservatives have committed to develop its use in Britain "if we maintain public confidence in the process, if we uphold our rigorous environmental protections, and if we ensure the proceeds of the wealth generated by shale energy are shared with the communities affected".

The prime minister is confident of being re-elected with an increased majority in the House of Commons, as her Conservatives are well ahead of the main opposition Labour party in the polls.

It pledges to double to £2,000 ($2,600, 2,340 euros) a charge on companies hiring foreign workers, and cut immigration from outside the EU.

Prime Minister Theresa May revealed her core election promises and political vision Thursday, saying she will slash immigration and take Britain definitively out of the European Union, then build a "great meritocracy" by giving the poor a helping hand and lifting barriers to social mobility.

The blueprint also says spending on defense will be increased by at least 0.5 percent more than inflation every year, with a commitment to meet the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation target of spending at least 2 percent of GDP on defense.

The manifesto pledges to reduce annual net migration to the tens of thousands, with students be expected to leave the country at the end of their course unless they meet new "higher" requirements allowing them to stay.

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The manifesto also claimed the Tories would "bear down on immigration from outside the EU" across all visa routes.

United Kingdom voters are set to go to the polls on June 8 to elect a new government that will lead exit negotiations with the EU.

If she wins, May will have one of the toughest jobs of any recent British prime minister: holding the United Kingdom and its economy together while conducting Brexit talks with European Union leaders on finance, trade, security and immigration. The value of the pound has tumbled since Britons voted to leave the bloc, pushing costs up and driving inflation past wage growth.

While the Liberal Democrat manifesto featured a raft of policy proposals revolving around waste, resources and the move towards a circular economy (including a Zero-Waste Act, food waste and recycling targets and more waste disposal taxes), the Conservative plan explicitly mentions the environment only a few times.

May goes into next month's snap national election she called with opinion poll ratings that indicate she may win a landslide comparable with her Conservative predecessor Margaret Thatcher's 1983 majority of 144 seats in the 650-seat parliament.

The Conservatives promise not to raise sales tax, but abandon a previous pledge not to increase income tax, while stressing they remain "the party that keeps tax as low as possible".

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The manifesto also says the amount of money people can earn before paying any income tax will raise to 12,500 pounds (16,300 US dollars) and corporation tax paid by businesses will fall to 17 percent by 2020.

To do that, May said she will remove some financial protections for pensioners - generally a group politicians are loath to alienate due to their high voter-turnout rates.

To tackle funding crisis in the care sector, wealthy pensioners will lose up to 300 pounds in winter fuel payments and more elderly people could be forced to pay to be looked after in their own homes.

But she later denied that his manifesto was a recasting of conservatism in the image of her political philosophy as she insisted "there is no Mayism". While Thatcher mistrusted the state, May's election manifesto says that "government can and should be a force for good", and outlines a more interventionist role in business and industrial strategy.

May rejected suggestions there is a distinctive vision that could be labeled "Mayism". "There is good solid Conservatism".

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