F1, tax cuts and immigration: The key takeaways from Rishi Sunak's Tory manifesto launch

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak unveils the Conservative manifesto at Silverstone. Credit: PA

By James Gray, ITV News Producer

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has launched the Conservative Party's manifesto for the General Election.

Mr Sunak unveiled a raft of policies, including tax cuts and plans to build more than 1.5 million homes, as part of the event at Silverstone motor racing circuit, in Northamptonshire.

Here, ITV News explains the key takeaways to emerge from the Tory manifesto launch.

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F1 and Brad Pitt

The prime minister opened his speech at the home of the British Grand Prix by remarking there is "nowhere better in fact to mark the fact that our economy has truly turned a corner".

He hailed Formula 1 as a "great example of all our strengths coming together", saying: "Our technological know-how, our innovative advanced manufacturing capability and the skill of our workforce - 25,000 engineers and apprentices are involved in this industry."

Mr Sunak also name-checked Hollywood actor Brad Pitt - who is currently filming at Silverstone - saying: "As nice as it would be for Brad Pitt to turn up at our manifesto launch, he’s currently filming just outside with a brilliant British crew, one of the many UK-based productions taking place thanks to our support and tax cuts to the creative sector."

Watch Rishi Sunak's opening remarks as he unveiled the Conservative Party's manifesto for the General Election

Tax cuts

Mr Sunak unveiled a manifesto that commits to a third 2p reduction as part of a drive to eliminate national insurance altogether to end the double taxation on workers, who are already liable for income tax.

The Tories also promised to abolish the main rate of self-employed national insurance entirely by the end of the Parliament.

Additionally, the manifesto commits to cutting employee national insurance to 6% by April 2027 at an estimated cost of £10.3 billion in 2029/30.

On top of the already implemented cuts, the manifesto said it would amount to a total tax reduction of £1,350 for the average worker on £35,000.

Mr Sunak also confirmed previous plans not to increase income tax or VAT rates.

'We will keep cutting taxes in the coming years'

Labour criticism

The prime minister was repeatedly critical of Sir Keir Starmer's Labour Party throughout his speech.

He remarked the Conservatives "unlike Labour" is a party that "believes in sound money", when discussing tax cuts.

Mr Sunak also said that "Labour have no answer to this question" after promising that his party would halve migration.

In another reference to Brad Pitt, the prime minister compared Labour with the film Fight Club, saying: "Now I know Labour have been taking inspiration from one of Brad Pitt's most famous films, the first rule of Labour tax rises is that you don't talk about tax rises."

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One of the key announcements from the manifesto concerned immigration, with Mr Sunak outlining plans to "halve migration as we have halved inflation and then reduce it every single year".

The manifesto stated the Conservatives want to "work with other countries to rewrite asylum treaties to make them fit for the challenges we face", while confirming a "binding, legal cap" on work and family visas which would "fall every year of the next Parliament and cannot be breached".

Additionally, the Tories pledged a "regular rhythm of flights every month" to Rwanda, and made a promise to clear the asylum backlog, with all claims processed in six months and the use of hotels ended.

But the document stopped short of saying the UK could leave the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), as some on the Tory right, including former home secretary Suella Braverman, have called for.

Watch the prime minister address immigration during the Conservatives manifesto launch

£2,000 Labour tax claim

The prime minister again claimed that a Labour government will grow taxes by around £2,000 per working household, despite previously facing calls that he was a liar for touting the figure.

He said: "We know that the policies Labour have already announced will require them to increase taxes on working households by £2,094 - it is our job to make sure that doesn't happen."

Mr Sunak originally made the claim during the ITV head-to-head debate with Sir Keir, and has regularly used the alleged tax rise to attack Labour.

But a number of leading economists, including the Treasury's own top civil servant, have disputed the claim, saying the calculations have not been independently verified.

Sir Keir has branded Mr Sunak's comments as "absolute garbage", adding: "What's happened here is they put in pretend Labour policies to the Treasury and then they get a false readout.

"What they've put in for this analysis is a mental health policy that isn't the Labour Party's policy, he's put in one of his own policies. He's asked the civil service to cost it."

Sunak acknowledges public 'frustration'

In a mea culpa, the prime minister conceded during his speech that the Tories "have not got everything right".

He said: "I'm not blind to the fact that people are frustrated with our party and frustrated with me."

But, he insisted, "we are the only party in this election with the big ideas to make our country a better place to live".

The prime minister went on to list a number of achievements completed by his party in the previous 14 years, such as delivering "the third highest rate of economic growth in the G7".

'I'm not blind to the fact that people are frustrated with our party and frustrated with me'


Mr Sunak promised that, if elected, his party would deliver around 1.6 million new homes by speeding up planning on brownfield land in inner cities and "scrapping defective EU laws".

The prime minister also said he "will abolish stamp duty entirely" for first-time buyers on homes up to £425,000.

"We Conservatives believe in tax cuts," he said.

"We'll also introduce a new form of Help to Buy a new Help to Buy scheme - to get the new generation onto the property ladder, all part of our plan to build an ownership society, where more and more people have the security and pride that comes from owning your own home."

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