Reform UK Manifesto: Seven Million to Pay No Income Tax

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Reform UK has launched its 2024 general election manifesto, promising sweeping tax cuts and public sector reforms after overtaking the Conservatives in a recent poll.

The party, led by Nigel Farage, aims to dramatically reshape the economic landscape and public services.

Reform UK plans to raise the minimum income tax threshold from £12,600 to £20,000, exempting 7 million people from income tax. Additionally, the higher rate threshold would be increased from £50,000 to £70,000. These measures are part of the party’s broader agenda to reduce the tax burden on individuals and businesses.

The manifesto also proposes freeing 1.2 million small and medium-sized businesses from corporation tax by raising the minimum profit threshold to £100,000 and reducing the corporation tax rate from 25% to 20% initially, and then to 15% after three years. Furthermore, Reform UK plans to abolish IR35 rules and lift the VAT threshold to £120,000.

Public Sector Savings and Reforms

Reform UK promises to save over £90 billion in the public sector by scrapping unnecessary government quangos and commissions, making 5% savings across departments without impacting frontline services, and stopping the Bank of England from paying interest to commercial banks on QE reserves.

Immigration and Legal Reforms

The party proposes an employer immigration tax, charging 20% national insurance for foreign workers, compared to 13.8% for British nationals. Reform UK also aims to leave the European Convention on Human Rights and send illegal immigrants to British Overseas Territories for processing.

Health and Education Policies

Reform UK’s health policy includes cutting NHS waiting lists to zero within two years by transforming doctor and nurse availability. This would be achieved by cutting basic rate tax for frontline NHS and social care staff to zero for three years, using independent healthcare capacity, and introducing 20% tax relief on private healthcare and medical insurance. The party also plans to end training caps for medical students and write off student fees for doctors, nurses, and medical staff who serve in the NHS for ten years.

In education, Reform UK advocates for two-year undergraduate courses to reduce student debt and facilitate earlier employment. They also propose increasing technical courses and apprenticeships, alongside offering tax relief for businesses that provide apprenticeships.

Law and Order

Reform UK intends to boost police numbers from 235 to 300 per 100,000 population, equivalent to 40,000 new frontline officers over a five-year parliament. Additionally, the party plans to recruit 30,000 new army personnel.

Economic and Social Policies

The manifesto includes plans to scrap EU regulations immediately, rescind over 6,700 retained EU laws, including employment law, and replace the Equality Act 2010. Reform UK also proposes making St George’s Day and St David’s Day public holidays and reviewing pension provisions.

Criticisms and Feasibility

Despite the ambitious plans, experts have raised concerns about the feasibility of Reform UK’s proposals. Carl Emmerson, deputy director at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, pointed out that the manifesto’s financial assumptions are overly optimistic and that the proposals might not add up without other funding sources.

Kate Palmer, employment services director at Peninsula, criticized the manifesto for lacking detail, particularly regarding the proposed changes to employment law and the Equality Act 2010.

Industry Reactions

Dave Chaplin, CEO of ContractorCalculator, praised Reform UK’s focus on small businesses and its pro-growth economic policies, contrasting them with what he sees as the damaging policies of the current government.

Reform UK’s manifesto seeks to appeal to voters disillusioned with the major parties, positioning itself as a champion of economic reform, reduced taxation, and increased public sector efficiency. As the election approaches, its impact on the political landscape remains to be seen.

Commenting on the launch of the manifesto, Seb Maley, CEO of IR35 compliance expert, Qdos, said: “Reform UK have set out their plans, and it looks like a comprehensive offering for the UK’s self-employed. While we should be mindful of whether the Party wants to abolish IR35 itself or the off-payroll working rules, it’s a big statement either way.

“There’s more on offer, including new thresholds for Income Tax and cuts to Corporation Tax. Where Labour and the Conservatives have largely ignored millions of self-employed workers, Reform UK has looked to put them front and centre – like it or not.

“This manifesto could resonate with many disillusioned Conservative voters – particularly those running their own businesses. Although, it goes without saying some of the proposals put forward by Nigel Farage and Reform UK will alienate many voters, too.”

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