18 Jun 2024

General Election 2024 – Reform UK contract

Nigel Farage: “We are now the opposition to Labour.”

Rachel Cairnes

On 17th June, Nigel Farage launched Reform UK’s contract with the British people in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales. Farage refrained from calling the document a manifesto as these “keep making the same promises and no one believes a word of what they say”.

Party leader Nigel Farage wants to make ‘tough decisions’ on the future of the country. Amongst other pledges, the right-of-centre Party has promised to:

  • Freeze non-essential immigration;
  • Slash government waste, saving £50 billion a year, e.g. by halving the amount of foreign aid;
  • Raise the level at which people start paying tax to £20,000 per year (from £12,570);
  • Abolish stamp duty and inheritance tax for all estates under £2 million;
  • Cut NHS waiting lists to zero in two years – patients would receive a voucher for fully-funded private treatment if they cannot see their GP within three days; and
  • Increase defence spending to 3% of GDP.

The contract is published days after a poll from YouGov showed Reform had, for the first time, overtaken the Tories in terms of predicted vote share – news that undoubtedly came as a major blow to Tory morale.

The poll puts Nigel Farage’s party on 19%, ahead of the Conservatives on 18%. Labour retains its poll lead at 37%, with the Liberal Democrats coming fourth on 14%.

As with all polls, there is a margin of error – YouGov notes “we will not be able to tell for some time whether Reform can sustain or improve their positive relative to the Conservatives.”

The Times comments that with the contract, Reform is not looking for “realistic” policy costings – rather, Farage is throwing “voters pure red meat in the form of tax cuts that eclipse anything offered by the Tories.” This may be true, yet it is worth highlighting how YouGov’s survey found 80% of those backing Reform believe a large majority for Labour would be “a bad thing for the country”.

With this in mind, voters may back the Conservatives on the 4th of July if only to avoid splitting the vote on the right.

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