Brexit, green investment, new hospitals, new schools – The Conservative Party’s 2019 conference announcements

October 4, 2019 Charles Cummins

We were left in no doubt about the Government’s main message at the Conservative Party Conference this year – Get Brexit Done. It was plastered everywhere so you literally couldn’t miss it. But behind the slogans and traditional party rhetoric from the podium, were a number of policy announcement and re-announcements in the spirit of one nation conservatism: Up the National Living Wage, fast track plans to ban diesel and petrol vehicles, increase investment in schools… Take a look at our run through of the key mentions this week, below:

  • Brexit – Leave on October 31st, deal or no-deal.
  • EU Citizens’ Rights – Guaranteed rights to live, work and stay in the UK with full citizens’ rights for the three million EU citizens currently living in the UK.
  • Immigration – End the free movement of people and replace it with an Australian-style points-based system.
  • Infrastructure – Road Investment Strategy announced which will see £29bn invested into the UK’s road network; £220m allotted to improving bus services and £5bn dedicated to the rollout of fibre connectivity to 20% ‘the hardest to reach’ parts of the country.
  • Regulation – ‘Brexit Red Tape Challenge’ launched to design the best regulatory framework to improve on or remove current EU regulation, liberating the UK from ‘an overbearing bureaucracy’.
  • Wages – Target to increase the National Living Wage to £10.50 per hour by 2024. Bring down National Living Wage age threshold from 25 to 21.
  • Employment – £4m initiative to support people in finding their dream jobs, including by funding a new app to provide information about which skills to develop to find jobs.
  • Policing – £25m pledged to the Safer Streets Fund, police chief constables empowered to train and equip their force with tasers, the extension of stop-and-search powers and a legally binding Police Covenant.
  • Prison Sentences – Prisoners serving sentences for violent and sexual abuse will have to serve at least two-thirds of their sentence before being released on licence.
  • Defence Investment – Further cooperation with ‘Five Eyes’ countries. Invest in Defence capabilities that allow the UK to project its power internationally. Invest in better accommodation, childcare and career pathways for armed forces personnel.
  • Education – Boost technical education through the establishment of 20 new Institutes of Technology and a Skills and Productivity Board to provide strategic advice on skills and qualification people need. Extra £14bn of investment pledged for schools. Open 11 new Maths Free Schools across the UK.
  • Healthcare – Invest £13bn over the next decade to build forty new hospitals, starting with initial £2.7bn to build six new hospitals, through the new Health Infrastructure Plan.
  • Housing – New planning guide launched to create a new national standard for the development of homes, with emphasis placed on sustainability and energy efficiency standards.
  • EU Funding – Support organisations that have been granted EU funding by guaranteeing to match that funding in the event of a no-deal Brexit, currently predicted to be worth £4.3bn in 2019/20.
  • Life Sciences – £200m of funding for health and life sciences companies to scale-up in the UK.
  • Nuclear Fusion – Design, develop and build a fusion power plant by 2040.
  • Electric Vehicles – Bring forward the ban on petrol and diesel cars from 2040 to 2035, as recommended by the Committee on Climate Change. £220m to fund new ‘superbus’ networks and expand fleet of low-emission buses.
  • Green Travel – £1bn investment in the automotive industry to focus on green growth, including in the manufacturing of batteries, electric motors, power electronics and hydrogen fuel cells, along with their component and materials supply chains.
  • Green Spaces – Create more ‘pocket parks’ and a new Great Northumberland Forest by planting 1m trees by 2024.
  • Pensions – Take steps to make sure business owners who take money from employees’ pension pots can be sent to prison. New pension fund for the Royal Mail.
  • Money Laundering – Bring into force a UK Magnitsky Law, allowing the Government to place visa bans and asset freezes on individuals deemed responsible for serious human rights abuses.
  • Animal Welfare – Ban the keeping of primates as pets, live exports for slaughter, and trophy hunting. Consult on compulsory micro-chipping for cats.
  • Youth Services – Youth Investment Fund launched, to dedicate £500m to roll out youth centres and services across the country.
  • Devolved Nations – £163m for businesses in Mid-South West Northern Ireland and Causeway Coast and Glens, and a £25m Growth Deal for Argyll and Bute, with deals for Falkirk and the Islands due to be announced in the near future.
  • England Devolution White Paper – Government to bring forward a White Paper for further devolution in England in order to give more local areas the power to drive investment into infrastructure.