UK's May promises voters immigration curbs, fairer society


Theresa May has revealed the Conservative party manifesto in Halifax, West Yorkshire, ahead of the General Election on June 8.

The British prime minister set out plans to further tighten rules for skilled workers from outside the European Union (EU), which involves anyone employing a non-EU worker to be expected to pay 2,000 pounds for each worker every year.

Many Britons who voted a year ago to leave the European Union were motivated by a desire to control immigration, which has soared as the EU has expanded.

"We will work with schools to make sure that those with intakes from one predominant racial, cultural or religious background teach their students about pluralistic, British values and help them to get to know people with different ways of life", the manifesto adds.

After Britain leaves the European Union - by 2019 at the soonest - the country will have more power to limit those moving to the country.

The Conservative party's tough stance on immigration reaffirms a previous pledge to cut net migration to the tens of thousands.

It was last below 100,000 in 1997 and there had been some speculation if the party would choose to drop the "tens of thousands" target it has consistently failed to meet.

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Using the manifesto forward to "reject the cult of selfish individualism", Mrs May said her version of "true conservatism means a commitment to country and community; a belief not just in society but the good government can do".

May a year ago praised free markets and free trade in a speech to party activists, but also said that she would be prepared to intervene where markets were deemed dysfunctional or where companies were exploiting the failures of the market. "We will forge a new deep and special partnership with Europe, but reach out beyond Europe to strike new trade deals for our goods and services with old allies and new friends around the world too", May said in her speech, which reiterated her central message of offering a "strong and stable leadership".

The manifesto launch is seen as May's attempt to highlight issues beyond Brexit and incorporates major changes to the country's social care system as well as efforts to pump in an extra 4 billion pounds into the schools system by 2022.

The manifesto promises more money for schools, paid for by replacing free lunches for all children during their first three years at primary school, with free breakfasts.

"The negotiations will undoubtedly be tough, and there will be give and take on both sides, but we continue to believe that no deal is better than a bad deal for the United Kingdom", the manifesto reads. There are promises to strengthen regulators and cap energy prices to ensure consumers aren't ripped off by utility firms.

She also confirmed an end to the pension triple lock which guarantees a minimum annual rise in state pensions, to take on "inter-generational unfairness".

She also took aim at better-off pensioners as she pledged to means test the winter fuel allowance and ask pensioners with more than £100,000 in assets to pay for their social care - be that residential or at home.

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May said she agrees with European Union leaders that Britain could not be "half in and half out".

Increased spending will be funded by withdrawing the £300 winter fuel payment from wealthier pensioners.

Workers will also be given the right to request up to a year's unpaid leave to care for a relative.

But May's decision to call a snap election for June 8 has left them with little time to raise funds.

The pro-EU Liberal Democrats have pledged to push for a second referendum on the terms of the final Brexit deal, while some Labour candidates say they will put pressure on the government to re-think its plan to pull out of the EU's single market and customs union.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

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