This week’s General Election represents a huge opportunity for the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Sector. Regardless of the result, the next five years will shape post-Brexit Britain and the form of public services until 2022.

Navigating your way through election manifestos to understand how each party’s policies will affect you or your organisation can be a difficult task. That’s why we’ve examined the manifestos of the five main parties in England and highlighted some of the key pledges we think will impact the VCSE in Leicester and Leicestershire. We’ve focused on five areas that we think will have the greatest significance for local VCSE groups and their service users.

Economy and Taxes

Conservatives

  • Achieve a balanced budget by 2025
  • Continue with current plans to raise personal tax allowances and cut corporation tax

Labour

  • Introduce a £250bn stimulus package over 10 years
  • Reintroduce a 50p tax rate, raise income tax for those earning over £80,000 and raise corporation tax to 26% by 2020/21

Liberal Democrats

  • Balance day-to-day spending while reducing national debt as a proportion of GDP
  • Borrow £100bn to invest in infrastructure

Green

  • Reform tax to raise more from the better off, including a wealth tax
  • Increase the minimum wage to £10 by 2020

UKIP

  • Increase income tax personal allowance to £13,500 and raise 40% threshold to £55,000
  • Bring in measures to stop big corporation using “aggressive avoidance schemes”

Health and Social Care

Conservatives

  • £8bn increase to NHS England budget compared to current level by 2022/23
  • Include value of home in means test for people receiving social care at home with a guarantee for individuals to keep £100,000 worth of assets

Labour

  • Commit to more than £30bn in extra funding for the NHS in England over next 5 years
  • Lay the foundations of a National Care service and put an extra £8bn into social care over the next 5 years

Liberal Democrats

  • Add 1p onto each rate of income tax and ring-fence the money for NHS and social care
  • Ensure mental health care waiting time standards match those in physical health care

Green

  • Roll back use of private providers in the NHS and provide an immediate cash injection to the NHS
  • Bring mental health care into line with physical health care

UKIP

  • Give NHS England £9bn extra a year by 2021/22, with £2bn more for social care End Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deals in the NHS

Education

Conservatives

  • Increase the overall schools budget in England by £4bn by 2022
  • End the ban on new selective schools

Labour

  • Abolish university tuition fees and reintroduce maintenance grants
  • Restrict primary class sizes to 30 and introduce free school meals for primary school children

Liberal Democrats

  • Spend £7bn extra on education, increasing school budgets and the Pupil Premium
  • Reinstate maintenance grants for the poorest students

Green

  • Scrap tuition fees and fund full student grants
  • Free early education and childcare for all children

UKIP

  • Grammar school in every town
  • Restore university maintenance grants

Housing

Conservatives

  • Build one million homes by the end of 2020 and 500,000 more by the end of 2022
  • Implement the Homelessness Reduction Act to halve rough sleeping

Labour

  • Build at least 100,000 council and housing association homes a year
  • Make available 4,000 additional homes for rough sleepers

Liberal Democrats

  • Set target to build 300,000 new homes a year
  • Increase support for homelessness prevention and adequately fund emergency accommodation and supported housing

Green

  • Build 100,000 social rented homes a year by 2022
  • Stop declaring individuals as ‘intentionally homeless’

UKIP

  • Provide 100,000 homes for younger people
  • Build 8 halfway house veterans’ hostels to ensure no veterans are homeless

Welfare and Pensions

Conservatives

  • Replace pensions triple lock with guarantee that increases after 2020 will at least match inflation and average wages
  • Means-test Winter Fuel Payments “focusing assistance on the least well-off pensions”

Labour

  • Keep the pension triple lock and benefits for pensions, such as the winter fuel allowance and free bus passes
  • Review the benefit cap, universal credit and reinstate housing benefit for under 21s

Liberal Democrats

  • Keep the triple lock on pensions and free bus passes
  • Reverse cuts to Universal Credit

Green

  • Move towards a system of a “universal basic income”
  • Reinstate housing benefit for under-21s

UKIP

  • Maintain the triple-lock on state pensions
  • Reverse cuts to care budgets and put £2bn every year into social care

Other Key Pledges

Conservatives

  • Deliver a smooth and orderly departure from the EU
  • Restating commitment to bring net migration to tens of thousands

Labour

  • Negotiate a Brexit deal that “puts the economy and living standards first”
  • Nationalise a number of utilities including rail, post, water and the National Grid

Liberal Democrats

  • Hold a referendum on the final Brexit deal, with the option to remain in the EU
  • Rule out coalitions with the Conservatives or Labour

Green

  • Hold a referendum on the terms of the Brexit deal, with the option of staying in the EU
  • Pass an Environmental Protection Act to safeguard and restore the environment

UKIP

  • Complete Brexit process by 2019, without paying money to the EU
  • Cut net migration levels to zero within 5 years

More information about manifestos

We want to see a thriving voluntary sector that has a real stake in how public sector services are run, encourages more people to volunteer and creates communities that invest in people. For that reason, VAL is formally backing NCVO’s manifesto. NCVO has also posted a useful overview of what other manifesto commitments will mean for the charity sector.

The full manifestos for the Conservative Party, Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, Green Party and UKIP can be found on their respective websites.

Replacing the European Structural and Investment Fund

The manifestos give us a better understanding of what each party is proposing as a replacement for the European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF). The removal of European Union legislation on any future funding represents an opportunity for the future government to create more flexible funds that can properly address local need.

The Conservatives have pledged to create a United Kingdom Shared Prosperity Fund as a direct replacement to the European Social Fund, whilst the Labour Party has committed to ensuring no region of the UK is affected by the withdrawal of EU funding. Both pledges could offer potential opportunities to the voluntary sector.

Giving the local voluntary sector a voice

Whatever the result of the election, we will use our position and influence as the community infrastructure organisation for Leicester and Leicestershire to ensure the VCSE sector has a voice in influencing policies and decision-making, and is recognised for its invaluable work in the local community. We will do this through our forums and focus groups, and by working with local VCSE organisations, local government and commissioners so that the sector can continue to change people’s lives for the better.

More information

You can find out more about how we can support your group by looking at our group support pages, or by contacting us