Rishi Sunak tax-cutting manifesto one of last chances for Tory election lift-off after D-Day blunder

Rishi Sunak tax-cutting manifesto one of last chances for Tory election lift-off after D-Day blunder

Rishi Sunak faces a crunch day on Tuesday as he launches the Conservative Party manifesto pledging help for first-time buyers and tax cuts.

The Prime Minister will be pinning his hopes on the launch finally igniting his election campaign after his D-Day blunder.

His offer will include a 100% relief on capital gains tax liability for landlords who sell to their existing tenants, claiming the move will be "transformational".

Mr Sunak will also pledge to abolish stamp duty up to the value of £425,000 for first-time buyers and launch a "new and improved" Help to Buy scheme.

The Conservative leader has also said tax cuts will be included in the manifesto, with reports suggesting another 2p cut to national insurance.

The Prime Minister will have calmed some Tory jitters with a combative interview with BBC presenter Nick Robinson on tax, immigration and the NHS on Monday night.

He again apologised for failing to attend the international leaders’ ceremony in Normandy, France, last week and asked for “forgiveness”.

But the interview is unlikely to have been a game-changer in the election, with the Tories trailing Labour by around 20 points in many polls and Reform UK on the rise.

Conservative candidates and activists will be desperately hoping that the manifesto launch on Tuesday gives their campaign lift-off.

Mr Sunak is expected to say on Tuesday: “We Conservatives have a plan to give you financial security.

“We will enable working people to keep more of the money you earn because you have earned it and have the right to choose what to spend it on.

“Keir Starmer takes a very different view.

“He says he’s a socialist, and we know what socialists always do: take more of your money.

“And we know that the plans Labour have already announced will require them to increase taxes on working households by £2,094.

“We Conservatives have had to take difficult decisions because of Covid.

“But we are now cutting taxes for earners, parents and pensioners.

“We are the party of Margaret Thatcher and Nigel Lawson, a party, unlike Labour, that believes in sound money.”

Speaking to the BBC as part of its Panorama interviews with Nick Robinson, the Prime Minister vowed to “keep cutting people’s taxes” and claimed his policies are “fully funded and costed”.

The UK's current level of tax burden is the highest on record, according to the OECD.

But Mr Sunak claimed, despite the overall burden, the “average tax rate faced by a typical person in work is the lowest it has been in over half a century”.

"We will have a manifesto tomorrow that builds on all the things that you've just gone through, that we've already announced in this campaign, that, yes, does continue to cut people's taxes, because I believe in a country where people's hard work is rewarded,” he told the programme.

"And there's a clear choice in contrast at this election, our party, the Conservatives, are promising, and will deliver tax cuts, building on the tax cuts that we have already started to deliver, and have ruled out tax rises, that's not what the Labour Party are doing.

"They are being open that some taxes are going to go up, but what they're not telling everyone is that there is a £2,000 tax bill waiting for working families across our country if they are elected."

Mr Sunak claimed the Tories would raise £7billion a year through a tax evasion crackdown, and the remainder of savings to pay for its policies would come from reforms to the welfare system.

“And if we recover just the pre-Covid levels of productivity, so nothing heroic, just as productive as we were before the pandemic hit, you mentioned a figure, that productivity gain is worth £20billion,” he said.

“I’m not going to apologise for finding more efficiencies in the public sector, which, by the way, they were performing at just a few years ago, so that we don’t have to raise people’s taxes and we can continue to cut them.

“That figure is also something that the independent controllers have pointed to as an opportunity for efficiency savings.”

Mr Sunak faced repeated questions about his record in office - and about the ongoing furore about his decision to miss a world leaders’ event to commemorate D-Day.

He repeated his apology, saying he hoped “people can find it in their hearts to forgive me”.

Mr Sunak defended his record on NHS waiting lists and immigration, saying the numbers of people migrating to Britain was “too high”.

He vowed his flagship Rwanda policy to stop small boats crossings would go ahead if re-elected.

 (BBC via Getty Images)
(BBC via Getty Images)

However, Mr Sunak also conceded on Monday evening that affording to buy a home had “got harder” under the Conservatives.

He promised to “make sure it’s easier” by “supporting young people into great jobs so they can save for that deposit”, while insisting that saving for a house deposit was the main barrier for young people.

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said the PM’s admission was “damning indictment of 14 years of housing failure”.

In a statement, she says home ownership is a “pipedream for young people in Britain today”.

In the spring Budget, the Government announced a 2p tax cut to National Insurance for 27 million workers - matching another reduction set out in last year's Autumn Statement.