With just a week to the general election, Boris Johnson is already confidently – if not complacently – talking about his plans for the first 100 days of a majority Tory government.
With opinion polls still suggesting a comfortable lead for the Conservatives, the prime minister has announced plans for a Commons vote on Brexit, a Queen’s Speech and a post-Brexit budget.
Labour has responded by claiming a Tory victory would mean more austerity, privatisation and tax giveaways, while the Liberal Democrats have denounced Mr Johnson’s promises as fantasy.
The prime minister’s confident pledges came as the latest opinion poll gave the Conservatives a 10-point lead over Labour, suggesting a comfortable majority of 48 for Mr Johnson on 12 December.
The poll, by Savanta ComRes for The Daily Telegraph, put Tory support at 42%, Labour on 32% and the Liberal Democrats on 12% – though 21% said they may change their mind between now and polling day.
Other measures in the Tories’ first 100 days are said to include:
- Legally guaranteeing an extra £33.9bn a year in NHS funding until 2023
- A tax-cutting budget for families in February
- Ending automatic early release of serious violent and sexual offenders
- Increasing funding for schools
- Making migrants pay more to use the NHS
- Cross-party talks on social care
- Improving mobile phone signals in the countryside
Asked whether the 40p tax threshold would be raised in a February budget if the Conservatives win a majority, Chancellor Sajid Javid told Sky News: “Our priority when it comes to tax cuts is people on lower incomes.
“That’s why we’re targeting National Insurance. It’s a tax cut for millions of people… as a flat cash saving for people. It helps people on the lowest incomes the most.
“Also, we’ll be going ahead with our plans on the national living wage, which will help those on the lowest incomes, taking it up steadily to £10.50 an hour [within the next five years].”
Labour has pledged to immediately introduce a £10 an hour “real living wage” for all workers aged 16 or over if it gains power.
Ahead of a full day of campaigning after a short break hosting the NATO summit, Mr Johnson said that next week would see the most important election in a generation.
“In just seven days’ time the British people will have to choose between a working majority government or yet another gridlocked hung parliament,” he claimed.
“If there is a Conservative majority next week, we will get Brexit done by the end of January. 2020 will then be the year we finally put behind us the arguments and uncertainty over Brexit.”
Mr Johnson added if he won a majority next week, by 22 March – 100 days after the election – his government would have passed the withdrawal agreement and delivered Brexit.
Labour’s election campaign chief Andrew Gwynne ridiculed Mr Johnson’s boasts. He said: “The Tories have had 3,494 days in office, and in those days we’ve seen child poverty soar, rising homelessness, rising food bank use, and violent crime is up too.
“The NHS has more people waiting for operations, and record staff vacancies.
“As the Conservatives approach 3,500 days of failure, it’s clear that more of the same failed austerity, privatisation and tax giveaways for the few is not the answer.”
Liberal Democrat deputy leader Sir Ed Davey said: “Boris Johnson is once again lying to the British public by pretending he can actually deliver on any of these promises.
“This is pure fantasy. A Tory government would remain completely consumed by Brexit not just for the next 100 days, but for years to come. We must prevent Johnson getting a blank cheque to crash Britain out of the EU by the end of 2020.”
With Jeremy Corbyn also on a whirlwind campaign tour, Labour is pledging a “moral mission” to save lives this Christmas and end rough sleeping, accusing the Conservatives of being “directly responsible” for people living and dying on the streets.
As well as earmarking £1bn of town hall cash, Labour is proposing:
- A £600m Modern Hostels Fund with 5,000 additional beds
- A £200m fund to turn existing hostels into places for homeless people
- A new £100m a year scheme for emergency winter shelter and support
- 4,000 additional Housing First homes for rough sleepers
- 4,000 “move-on” homes for rough sleepers to move out of hostels
Mr Corbyn said: “One person sleeping rough is one too many.
“No one wants to live in a society where thousands of homeless people are left out in the cold on the streets. Labour will save lives this winter and end rough sleeping within five years. That’s real change.”
The SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is spending the day touring Scotland in a campaign bus, declaring: “We have seven days to escape Brexit, lock Boris Johnson out of office and put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands.”