Right to Buy and childcare top Conservative manifesto

David Cameron has announced that a Conservative government would grant 1.3 million housing association tenants the right to buy their homes and extend free childcare to 30 hours a week.

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Wirral South unconvinced by Tory Right to Buy policy

David Cameron appeared to target voters who will be decisive in whether the Conservatives can win a majority with his manifesto today rather than those in the traditional Tory heartlands.

Calling the Tories 'the party of the working people', Cameron announced a Conservative government would grant 1.3 million housing association tenants the right to buy their homes among his pledges.

ITV News Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship reports from Wirral South, a Labour-held seat in Merseyside that the Conservatives need to win in the election to form a majority, where residents seemed unconvinced of Cameron's promises.

Miliband: Tories are party of rich and powerful

Ed Miliband has dismissed David Cameron's claim that the Tories are the party of working people, saying they only stand up for the "richest and most powerful" in Britain.

Labour leader Ed Miliband. Credit: ITV News

"This is deceit by the Conservative Party because they haven't found a way of funding it; they're not going to build the homes they need; they're not the party of working people," the Labour leader said.

"First last and always, they are the party of the richest and most powerful in our society."

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Cameron: Conservatives 'the real party of the working people'

Prime Minister David Cameron today pronounced the Conservatives were the real party of the working people as he announced his party's manifesto.

Speaking in Swindon, Mr Cameron said: "At the heart of this manifesto is a simple proposition. We are the party of the working people offering you security at every stage of your life."

Among the commitments in the manifesto, Mr Cameron announced a Conservative government would grant 1.3 million housing association tenants the right to buy their homes and extend free childcare to 30 hours a week.

ITV News Europe Editor James Mates reports:

Labour: Right to Buy will cost £4bn in housing benefit

The Conservative party's pledge to grant 1.3 million housing association tenants the right to buy their homes would cost the country £4 billion more in housing benefit, Labour has said.

Labour has attacked the Conservative party manifesto pledge extending Right to Buy Credit: PA

Councils will be forced to sell their most valuable 210,000 social rent properties and replace them with higher rent affordable homes under the Tory scheme.

Labour said that this would leave tenants who need social housing but can't afford to buy their homes facing higher rents, pushing the benefit bill up by at least £3.7 billion.

Ukip: Right to Buy re-launch will not solve housing crisis

Ukip leader Nigel Farage said the Conservative party's manifesto pledge extending the Right to Buy scheme would not solve the housing crisis and "would do nothing to guarantee that those homes go to British people".

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Tories accused of 'double standards' over strikes pledge

Unions have attacked the Conservative party's manifesto pledge to ban workplace strikes where fewer than 40% of the workforce supports industrial action as "double standards".

The Conservatives are pressing ahead with controversial plans to change laws on industrial action in public services Credit: PA

The party pressed ahead with controversial plans announced last year to change the law so that strikes should only go ahead based on a ballot in which at least half the workforce has voted.

"This turnout threshold will be an important and fair step to rebalance the interests of employers, employees, the public and the rights of trade unions," the Conservatives said.

Unions warned that it would be "almost impossible" to call a legal strike.

They also accused the party of "double standards" - pointing out that few MPs would be elected on the same threshold of a voting turnout proposed for strike action

We will soon see the double standards in operation as if the Tories are returned again they will have no hesitation in forming a Government while not securing 40% support from the electorate.

Yet they propose to use that power to impose a 40% threshold on trade union members voting for strike action.

– Paul Kenny, GMB general secretary,

The Conservatives said they would also repeal the "nonsensical restrictions" banning employers from hiring agency staff to provide essential cover during strikes.

Strikes could also not be called on the basis of ballots conducted years before, the manifesto, added.

Lib Dems: UK deserves to know how Tories will fund manifesto pledges

The Liberal Democrats have criticised the Conservative party manifesto as a "smokescreen," saying that the country "deserves to know" how the party will fund its pledges.

Lib Dem spokesman, Brian Paddick, said:

The Conservative manifesto is a smoke screen. What the country deserves to know is where their £12bn of savage and ideological welfare cuts will fall.

When they repeatedly refuse to say how they will fund their policies how can anyone trust the promises they make?

Only the Liberal Democrats have set out clearly how and when we will balance the books – Labour won’t tell us when and today the Conservatives proved they won’t tell us how.”

– Brian Paddick

Lib Dems: Right to buy will impact 'most vulnerable'

Conservative proposals to extend the right to buy to housing associations will negatively impact the most vulnerable in society, the Liberal Democrats have said.

Lib Dem spokesman, Brian Paddick, said:

This proposal will lead to longer waiting lists for homes and fewer social houses.

It does nothing to tackle the country’s affordable housing needs and will only benefit the lucky few.

Independent estimates suggest this could cost at least £5.8 billion, nowhere near covered by forcing Councils to sell of yet more housing stock, as the Conservatives suggest.

That means it will have to be paid for by even more cuts hitting the most vulnerable in society.

– Brian Paddick

Cameron: Labour attacked every decision we made to turn UK around

David Cameron has said that the Labour Party have spent the last five years attacking every decision the Conservatives have made that helped turn the UK around.

During a question and answer session at the Conservative Party manifesto launch, ITV News Europe Editor James Mates asked Mr Cameron: "Whatever the politics of trying to fight on each other's turf in this way, is anyone going to believe either of you?"

The Conservative leader replied: "There's a very big difference between the Conservative Party and the Labour Party...The Labour Party have spent the last five years attacking each and every we've had to make to turn the country around..."

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