Conservative Manifesto Theresa May 2017

Here’s what a Conservative government means for you

What they said they’d do, explained

… And the results are in! The Conservative Party, aka The Tories, aka Theresa May’s crew, are in power – nowhere near as securely as they'd hoped, but in power nonetheless.

So what now? Who knows. Everyone's still speculating whether Theresa May can stay or go, whether Labour can form a minority government, whether anyone will ever predict a political result accurately, ever – it's all up in the air.

Either way, Parliament will get back to work on the 13th of June, and Brexit is going to be on the agenda pretty much straight away.

If – and it's a likely if – the government is dominated by the Conservative Party, here’s what that means for the big issues on young people's minds in the next few years.


The Conservatives announced a new qualification program for technical training in March – T-Levels. It's designed help the UK catch up with other countries on promoting skills-based training, rather than just promoting traditional academic university routes.

Technical students will be given 50% more hours training, and a three month work experience placement. And all students who take up “higher level technical study” will receive a maintenance loan, just like university students.

University fees

The Conservatives are sticking to the idea that the fee hike was a good thing, and are likely to keep increasing the rate on student loans. You can take out a loan to pay the fees and your maintenance, it'll just be a much bigger one than it would have been a few years ago.

Minimum Wage

Unlike Labour, the Conservatives didn’t make any particularly radical promises on minimum wage. They said it would keep rising if they stay in power - they won't commit to a figure, but say that by 2020 the minimum wage will be at 60 per cent of the average wage in the UK, and then will keep rising in line with the average.


They say they want to bring "jobs of the future" to the UK and argue their policy of cutting corporation tax will make the country more attractive for businesses, which will then in turn create jobs. The current government does have a strong track record of creating lots and lots of jobs – but they tend to be more on the low-pay, no-contract side of things.


The Conservatives say they'll increase funding to the NHS by £8 billion over the next five years. They will also stop people who are not resident in the UK using the NHS for free, though say it will still be at a 'competitive' rate when compared with the health insurance you pay to access healthcare overseas. There's not much mention in the manifesto about the government's tactic of allowing private companies to provide some NHS services.

House prices

The Conservatives released a big paper in February about how they’d fix the housing market. Their main ideas were to give small building companies more funding to build homes, outlaw renting agency fees, and give local authorities more funding to build council homes too.


The Conservatives definitely wouldn't be keen on the whole government-ownership idea – they've just decided to give private companies like Virgin and Southern some control over things like repair and maintenance alongside the government-owned Network Rail. Their main thing is pushing through HS2, a high speed rail from London to Manchester. They've pledged £1.1bn to improve local transport, and included a grand total of one line about cycle lanes


The Conservatives have promised 30 hours a week of free childcare for parents of three to four year-olds who are struggling to pay for it. (It’s important to remember there’s no such thing as ‘free’ childcare – someone is still getting paid, it’s just the government paying for it.) Not all parents actually qualify for this though; you have to be working more than 16 hours a week, and a lot of people on zero-hours contract can’t prove they will be, so they wouldn't be able to access the childcare.


The Conservatives have said that "low taxes" is one of their big principles of a "strong economy". They won’t raise VAT, and have said they'll try and make sure the whole tax system is simpler for everybody.


In March, the Conservatives said they were going to increase business rates – a tax that businesses pay to the government, with some businesses seeing the amount they paid rise by as much as 125%. This was pretty unpopular, so the government has now announced a £300m fund to be used over the next four years to help businesses affected. Local councils decide which local businesses get the money.

The Arts

The idea behind the Conservative arts cuts is basically just the 'free market' way of thinking – which just means that you believe things will be better quality and more efficient if they're paid for by whoever wants to pay for them in a 'free' exchange, rather than government-funded. They do still want to fund school sports, and keep museums free.


A lot of Conservatives (including Theresa May) were anti-Brexit before, but they're now pretty solidly pro. Theresa May is taking a pretty tough approach to talks so far, saying "no deal is better than a bad deal" – but at the same time, their manifesto says they want to keep as many of the agreements that let the UK trade with the EU without any extra fees as possible. But however talks go, they'd definitely go ahead under a Conservative government.

What about the bigger picture?

This breakdown is based on the issues that we think will be the most relevant to your day to day.

For the more zoomed out, what-kind-of-country-do-we-want-to-live-in things that stuck out the most from their manifesto, take a look at our summary.

The message boils down to: free trade, but not too free; government support, but not too much government support; immigrants, but not too many immigrants; planes and trains and cars, but not too many planes and trains and cars.

Would have been great if all this had been a bit clearer all along...

A poll last week showed that just a few days before the big day, over half of voters still felt unclear on the impact of the parties' economic policies for them. We're calling for a more understandable economics. We'll do our best to keep you informed on what the Conservative government is up to in the next five years, and keep bothering everyone else to do the same thing.

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