The 2019 General Election sees the UK heading to the polls for the third time in five years. UK politics remains in a state of flux as the public is asked to break the deadlock in parliament. Even if no one party is able to reach the 326 seats needed in order to obtain a majority in the House of Commons, the election results may shift the balance of power just enough to allow progress to be made on key policy issues.
Brexit continues to dominate the political agenda and the outcome of the 2019 election will be pivotal in deciding how, when, and even if, the UK departs from the European Union. However, the manifestos set out the various political parties’ priorities, and details how they will address the most significant policy questions of our time. These are issues that are also at the heart of actuarial science, for example, tackling climate change, investing in infrastructure, and meeting the needs of an ageing population.
The areas we have prioritised are:
- Ageing Population – looking at the opportunities and challenges associated with increases in life expectancy and the proportion of older people in the population.
- Inclusive Insurance – looking at new approaches to emerging risks and the potential impacts on the insurance industry and different segments of consumers.
- Sustainability – seeking long-term solutions to the risk of environmental change and the transition to net zero for governments, businesses and individuals.
As a chartered body the IFoA provides an objective, fact-based and politically neutral view of the key issues facing the UK today. As an actuarial body, it is unsurprising that a key theme running through all of our policy positions is the belief that long-term problems need long-term solutions, to ensure fair and effective policymaking.
In the interest of brevity we have decided to limit our analysis to the main UK parties’ manifestos. Also included is the Scottish National Party manifesto, as they are likely to return a significant number of MPs to Westminster. The parties are listed in alphabetical order throughout our manifesto analysis document; if you wish to discuss our analysis further with one of our team please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Manifestos: top-line messages:
'Get Brexit done' is the dominant message in this Conservative manifesto, and behind the Johnson campaign. Other significant commitments include infrastructure spending plans with £100 billion of investment lined up, and prioritising spending on health, education and policing. The Conservative manifesto commits to the lowest spending pledges on public services. The government had already planned to increase day-to-day spending on public services by £11.7 billion, and their manifesto adds £2.9 billion to current plans in 2023–24.
The Climate Emergency is front and centre of the Green Party's manifesto. It proposes a ‘Green New Deal’ which is characterised by funding improvements in six key areas, those being: energy, housing, transport, industry, food farming & industry and incomes. The Green New Deal promises combined investment of over £100 billion a year in order to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2030.
Labour’s manifesto seeks to fundamentally rewrite the rules of the UK economy. There are plans to renationalise sectors such as rail, mail, water and energy, as well as a promise to invest in a ‘Green Industrial Revolution’, and reform the tax system. Labour’s manifesto also promises the highest public spending commitments of all of the parties, with an £80 billion increase in day-to-day spending by 2023–24, along with an additional £55 billion of investment spending each year.
‘Leaving the European Union is not the answer,’ is the key message readers will take away from the Lib Dems manifesto. The ‘stop Brexit bonus’ (which they estimate at £50 billion) is a core plank of their budget to reinvest in public services. Brexit aside, the manifesto also contains strong commitments to tackle climate change and spending on the NHS, social care and lifelong learning.
The SNP are hopeful for not one but two referendums in their latest manifesto calling for a second Brexit vote and Scottish Independence. Also contained within its pages are calls to reform and protect the NHS and welfare system, alongside a demands for more devolved power in areas such as transport and infrastructure.
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