To mark 100 days to the General Election Ukip have unveiled a list of 100 promises to the electorate. Top of the list is, of course, their pledge to get Britain out of the European Union, which has been the main focus of the party since its inception. But others further down the list offer a radical break from the cardboard cut-out policies of the other mainstream parties.
Other than that, the list appears in no particular order, as “rebalancing Britain’s economy” takes the #100 slot. Rather they appear to be roughly grouped in terms of policy area: pledges to scrap wind farm subsidies, repeal the costly Climate Change Act, promote safe shale gas extraction and to “scrap the Large Combustion Plants directive”, allowing Britain to invest in new power plants, are all grouped together.
Some are already well known, such as the plan to introduce an Australian-style points based immigration system and cutting £9bn from the foreign aid budget. Others will be less familiar, such as the promise to abolish inheritance tax or promote building on brownfield sites to protect Britain’s green spaces.
And buried deep within the list are some truly radical proposals, such as dismantling the Department of Energy and Climate Change completely, folding retained functions into the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The plans for the High Speed Rail line between London and the north also get the chop, saving a projected£50bn
Overall the mini-manifesto marks a clear commitment to low tax, small state policies, with a few politically expedient compromises such as the cash injection into the NHS. Cutting back on wasteful spending, both in the NHS and more widely, is a key pledge, allowing the party to promise tax cuts such as a new 35p income tax rate for those earning between £42,285 and £55,000.
The NHS has taken centre stage in recent days, as Labour have pledged to end private involvement in the national health service, reversing policies enacted by the former Labour administration. The party has attacked Ukip and the Conservatives of wanting to privatise the NHS, something which Nigel Farage has strongly denied.
Talking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr last Sunday, Farage said: “We would promise an extra £3 billion a year for the National Health Service funded out of the fact we will not be paying daily membership fees as members of the European Union.”
Ukip’s policy statement also includes promises to end “PFI privatisation” of the NHS, encouraging local authorities to buy out the contracts where they can; replacing “bureaucratic watchdogs” with locally elected health boards; ensuring that GPs surgeries are open “at least one evening and week”; “ensuring migrants have NHS-approved health insurance until they have paid into the tax system for five years”; and an end to car park charging at hospitals.
The party has a number of policies aimed at supporting veterans and the armed forces, including a commitment to prioritise “social housing for ex-service men and women”, establishing a “Veterans Administration”, and “guaranteeing a job in the police, prison, or border forces for anyone who has served 12 years in the Armed Forces”.
And families are also placed back at the heart of society, with “visitation rights for grandparents” to be safeguarded, and an “initial presumption of 50-50 parenting in child custody matters”. The party also wants to promote “patriotism and the importance of British values in our schools.”
UKIP Deputy Chairman Suzanne Evans said: “We released a list of 100 reasons to vote UKIP with 100 days to go before the General Election to give voters an insight into our policy ahead of our Manifesto launch.