Page last updated at 12:43 GMT, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 13:43 UK

At-a-glance: Conservative manifesto

The Conservatives have launched the manifesto their supporters hope will return them to power after 13 years in opposition. Here are its key points:

IN A NUTSHELL

Sticking to the theme of "Big Society", rather than big government, the Conservatives call on the UK electorate to play a part in changing the country.

FULL TORY MANIFESTO COVERAGE
David Cameron at the Conservative manifesto launch

The manifesto encourages parents and charities to set up new academy schools, pledges to give people the power to veto council tax rises through local referendums, and promises communities the right to buy their local pub or post office.

Following the theme of encouraging local responsibility, it promises directly-elected police commissioners to hold forces to account.

Economic measures include the big early issue in the election campaign - the plan to reverse the government's proposed National Insurance rise - and promises to raise the inheritance tax threshold to £1m, freeze council tax for two years and to increase NHS spending in real terms every year.

We have annotated policies where they apply only for England, or for England and Wales

ON THE ECONOMY
  • Reverse Labour's planned National Insurance rise for anyone earning under £35,000 and raise payment thresholds
  • Conduct emergency budget within 50 days of taking office to eliminate bulk of deficit over five years and freeze public sector pay for a year in 2011, excluding one million lowest paid workers
  • Freeze council tax for two years by reducing spending on government advertising and consultants and scrap plans for band evaluation [England only]
  • Incorporate an allowance recognising marriage and civil partnerships
  • Consider bringing forward the date at which the state pension age starts to rise to 66 to as early as 2016 for men and 2020 for women
  • Cut Whitehall policy, funding and regulation costs by a third, saving £2bn a year by 2015, and save a further £1bn by cutting quangos
  • Save £12bn with measures such as freezing major new IT spending, renegotiating contracts and limiting public sector recruitment
  • Make small business relief automatic. Small and medium-sized firms to get £2,000 bonus for hiring apprentices and government contracts broken up to make bids from small business easier
  • Restore Bank of England's supervisory role, seek international agreement to prevent retail banks pursuing risky practices and give people a chance to buy shares in banks part-owned by the state
  • Cut headline rate of corporation tax to 25p and lower small companies' rate to 20p

Big difference from Labour:

That pledge to reverse Labour's planned rise in National Insurance that dominated the first week's campaigning.

ON SCHOOLS AND FAMILIES

The manifesto does not specify whether these policies apply across the UK or will be devolved.

  • Raise entry requirement for taxpayer-funded primary school teacher training, with new graduates having at least a 2:2 degree [England and Wales only]
  • Give state schools freedom to offer international exams used by private schools and all pupils to have chance to study single sciences [England only]
  • Create 20,000 additional young apprenticeships and allow schools to offer workplace training
  • Parents to get power to save schools threatened by closure, allowing communities the chance to take over and run good small schools [England only]
  • Failing schools to be inspected more often - with the best schools visited less frequently [England only]
  • Provide 10,000 extra university places this year, paid for by giving graduates incentives to pay back their student loans [England and Wales only]
  • Extend right to request flexible working but in the longer term, after consultation with business [Except Northern Ireland]
  • Flexible parental leave which lets parents share maternity leave between them [Except Northern Ireland]
  • Increased use of mediation when couples break up and review access rights for non-resident parents and grandparents
  • Clamp down on marketing aimed at children
  • Provide 4,200 more Sure Start health visitors, with Sure Start providers pay partly based on results, with Early Years Support Team to look after early intervention and parenting support [England only]

Big difference from Labour:

No extensions to free nursery care, tax credits for families with toddlers or paid paternity leave, with the Tories instead focusing on improving school standards through parent power and better teaching.

ON HEALTH

As with education, the manifesto does not specify whether these policies apply across the UK or will be devolved.

  • Power for patients to choose any healthcare provider that meets NHS standards, within NHS prices [England only]
  • Decentralise power, getting rid of target-led culture and publishing healthcare providers' results. Introducing payment by results system for GPs and other health services [England only]
  • Patients put in charge of decisions about their care, including control of their health records [England only]
  • Doctors and nurses to get more decision-making powers. Independent NHS board to allocate resources and provide commissioning guidelines. Power for GPs to commission local health services [England only]
  • More single rooms in hospitals, an end to mixed-sex wards and an end to "forced closure" of accident and emergency wards [England only]
  • Cancer drug fund to give more access to medication for rare cancers and more clinical trials encouraged [England only]
  • No compulsory levy to pay for social care. More support for older people to live independently at home and voluntary insurance to protect home from being sold to pay for residential care [England only]
  • Public health funding directed to poorest areas with the worst health outcomes [England only]

Big difference from Labour:

Fundamental disagreement over social care for the elderly. The Conservatives prefer voluntary insurance schemes to Labour's National Care Service, funded by a compulsory levy

ON CRIME, JUSTICE AND IMMIGRATION
  • Councils and police to get powers to shut shops or bars persistently selling alcohol to children and to charge more for late-night licences to cover policing costs [England only]
  • Double the maximum fine for under-age alcohol sales to £20,000 and ban off licences and supermarkets from selling alcohol below cost price
  • Social enterprises, charities and voluntary groups to deliver more public services aimed at tackling deep-rooted social problems
  • Education, mentoring and drug rehabilitation programmes to help young offenders "go straight"
  • Annual limit on the number of non-EU economic migrants to UK, with access only for those who bring "most value to British economy"
  • Foreign students to pay bond on entering the country, to be repaid when they leave

Big difference from Labour:

Disagreement over immigration, with the Conservatives supporting a points system but with an annual limit, while Labour prefer the points-based system with no cap.

ON POLITICAL REFORM
  • Reduce the number of MPs by 10% and cut ministers' pay by 5%, followed by a five-year freeze
  • All items of spending over £25,000 published online, along with salaries of senior civil servants in central government
  • Clear financial performance targets for senior civil servants
  • Ban ex-ministers from lobbying government for two years after leaving office
  • Stop central government bodies using public money to hire people to lobby other government bodies
  • Any former minister found to have broken rules on appointments forced to give up some or all of their ministerial pension
  • More power for backbench MPs, more free votes and use of government Royal Prerogative subject to greater democratic control so that Parliament is properly involved in all big national decisions

Big difference from Labour:

Action from both on lobbying but Labour aspire to an elected upper house and alternative voting methods, while the Tories want to cut the number of MPs and focus on their pay.

ON PERSONAL FINANCE
  • Stop tax credits for families with incomes over £50,000, cut government contributions to Child Trust Funds for all but the poorest third of families and families with disabled children
  • More support for employers to encourage auto-enrolment into pensions, while addressing "growing disparity" between private and public sector pensions. Cap public sector pensions above £50,000
  • Raise inheritance tax threshold to £1m
  • Launch a free national financial advice service, funded by a new "social responsibility levy" on financial services
  • No-one to be forced to sell their home to pay unsecured debts of less than £25,000
  • Re-link the basic state pension to earnings and protect the winter fuel payment, free bus passes, free TV licences, disability living and attendance allowances and pension credit.

Big difference from Labour:

The Conservatives' pledge to raise the inheritance tax threshold, which Labour have frozen.

IN OTHER AREAS
  • Reduce welfare dependency by creating single Work Programme for unemployed - including those on Incapacity Benefit, who will be reassessed
  • Service Academies to offer pre-employment training for the unemployed. The first, for hospitality and leisure, to provide up to 50,000 training places
  • Immediate start to high-speed rail line linking London, Heathrow Airport, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds
  • Block plans for third Heathrow runway and second runways at Gatwick and Stansted
  • More flexibility for councils on business rates to encourage growth [England only]
  • Powers for employee-led co-operatives to bid to take over the services they run [England only]
  • Reform the Climate Change Levy to encourage investment in low-carbon energy production, with proportion of tax revenues generated by environmental taxes increased
  • Big Society Bank, funded from unclaimed bank assets, to provide new finance for neighbourhood groups, charities and social enterprises
  • Voluntary National Citizen Service to give 16-year-olds skills to be "responsible citizen"

Big difference from Labour:

On transport, both support high-speed rail - albeit in different formats - but the Conservatives have set themselves against airport expansion.

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