Howard launches Conservatives’ election manifesto

Michael Howard launched the Conservative party’s election
manifesto today pledging discipline in schools, controlled
immigration and more police on the streets, writes
Clare Jerrom.

Under a Conservative government, asylum seekers’
applications would be processed outside Britain and an overall
annual limit would be set for the number of people coming to
Britain, including a fixed number of asylum seekers.

The Tory leader also outlined plans for flexible childcare and
school discipline, claiming a Conservative government would reform
the system to “increase choice, flexibility and support for
working families”.

All working families who qualify for the working tax credit
would receive up to £50 a week for each child under the age of
five and an extra £15 billion a year would be provided for
schools by 2009-10.

Howard said: “A Conservative government will put the right
values at the heart of our education system. We will ensure proper
discipline in schools by giving heads and governors full control
over admissions and expulsions.”

“Instead of disrupting the education of others, difficult
pupils will be given the chance to get their lives back on track in
special Turnaround Schools,” he added.

The Tory leader promised that a Conservative government would
spend the same as Labour would on NHS, schools and international
development and more than Labour on police, defence and

He pledged 5,000 new police officers each year and said
Labour’s early release from prison scheme would be scrapped
and 20,000 extra prison places would be provided.

However, the Tories would freeze civil service recruitment,
remove 235,000 “bureaucratic posts” and abolish 168
public bodies, saving £12 billion a year by 2007-8. Howard
said £4 billion of the £12 billion would be used to cut
taxes in its first budget.


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