Cameron pledges return to 'a good life' for families
Published 15/04/2015 | 02:30
British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that working families with three or four-year-old children will get 30 hours of free childcare a week under a Conservative government.
In a pitch to working families, he said that he will double the amount of free childcare parents get from the government, saving parents £5,000 (€6,900) a year. It trumps Labour's pledge to give working parents 25 hours of free childcare a week.
In an upbeat address, Mr Cameron said a Conservative government would use the next five years to turn "the good news in the economy into a good life for your family."
Following criticism that the Tory campaign has been too negative, Mr Cameron focused on presenting a positive message and said: "We are on the brink of something special."
He said: "We offer a good life for those willing to try - because we are the party of working people. The next five years are about turning the good news in our economy into a good life for you and your family."
Mr Cameron's manifesto also contained an appeal to working-class voters as he announced plans to revive Margaret Thatcher's right-to-buy policy to enable 1.3 million families in housing association properties to own their own home. The Conservatives also unveiled plans to ensure that no worker on minimum wage is ever subject to income tax.
Under a Tory government, annual increases in the income tax-free personal allowance, which the Conservatives will increase to £12,500 (€17,000), will be permanently linked to increases in the minimum wage instead of inflation.
It means that if the minimum wage increases faster than expected, workers will always be exempt from paying income tax.
Mr Cameron said: "We're going to make sure work really pays in our country - not just now, but always.
"If Conservatives are in Government, we will change the law so that no-one earning the minimum wage will pay income tax - yes, the tax-free minimum wage. Its purpose - to link the personal tax allowance to inflation, so the lowest earners weren't over-taxed and taxed by stealth.
"And what we're announcing today is the modern, compassionate Conservative version of that change.
"It means we can proudly say that this is the party of working people. For millions of workers, not just the party of low income tax - the party of no income tax."
High earners will also benefit from the Conservatives raising the threshold at which families pay inheritance tax as well as plans to take millions of people out of the 40pc higher rate of tax
The Conservatives' new childcare offer will start in 2017.
It will be available to all families where all parents work - even those who work part-time.
It will also be in addition to existing entitlements, including tax-free childcare and universal credit.
Mr Cameron said that providing free childcare was a key measure for many working families.
"A good life should mean that raising your family feels like an incredible and joyful and, yes, sometimes exhausting journey but it shouldn't be a struggle with the bills," he said.
"For families with young children, this is not one issue among many - it is the issue.
"They're asking 'How can this work? How can we afford it?' It shouldn't have to be this way."
He said that passing legislation to ensure no one on the minimum wage had to pay income tax was a "modern compassionate Conservative version" of a previous reform to help low-earners.
"This is a landmark change," he said. "It means that we can proudly say that this is the party of working people."
The manifesto states: "For families with young children, childcare is not one issue among many - it is the issue. They're asking: how can we make this work? How can we afford it? It shouldn't have to be this way," he repeated. (© Daily Telegraph, London)