You may have noticed UKIP’s opponents are suffering from a form of collective, selective blindness. UKIP are a ‘single issue party’, they say, ‘we don’t know what their policies are’. As usual, their tame media buy into this myth, reinforcing an agenda that says UKIP only have views on the EU and immigration (and then deliberately misrepresent those just for good measure).
Luckily we can easily cure their myopia. While UKIP’s manifesto for the next general election receives its finishing touches, please find below the policy statements made at UKIPs conference last month. Courtesy of UKIP’s new ‘Policies for People’ leaflet.
Despite claiming not to know what UKIP stand for, the other political parties are falling over themselves to copy UKIP policy. David Cameron, Owen Paterson, Boris Johnson, even Hariet Harman have taken to the airwaves to espouse some of the policies announced at UKIP conference.
Perhaps to the famous saying, attributed to Ghandi:
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
we might now add…
“then they copy you”.
Here’s a fun game. At a glance, I can spot four UKIP policies below that have since been adopted or called for by other parties. How many can you spot?
What a UKIP government would do:
Repairing the UK Economy
– UKIP will increase personal allowance to the level of full-time minimum wage earnings (approx £13,500 by next election).
– Inheritance tax will be abolished.
– We will introduce a 35p income tax rate between £42,285 and £55,000, whereupon the 40p rate becomes payable.
– UKIP will set up a Treasury Commission to design a turnover tax to ensure big businesses pay a minimum floor rate of tax as a proportion of their UK turnover.
Reducing debts we leave to our grandchildren
– UKIP will leave the EU and save at least £8bn pa in net contributions.
– UKIP will cut the foreign aid budget by £9bn pa, prioritising disaster relief and schemes which provide water and inoculation against preventable diseases.
– UKIP will scrap the HS2 project which is uneconomical and unjustified.
– UKIP will abolish the Department of Energy and Climate Change and scrap green subsidies.
– UKIP will abolish the Department for Culture Media and Sport.
– UKIP will reduce Barnett Formula spending and give devolved parliaments and assemblies further tax powers to compensate.
Prioritising Education and Skills
– UKIP will introduce an option for students to take an Apprenticeship Qualification instead of four non-core GCSEs which can be continued at A-Level. Students can take up apprenticeships in jobs with certified professionals qualified to grade the progress of the student.
– Subject to academic performance UKIP will remove tuition fees for students taking approved degrees in science, medicine, technology, engineering, maths on the condition that they live, work and pay tax in the UK for five years after the completion of their degrees.
– UKIP will scrap the target of 50% of school leavers going to university.
– Students from the EU will pay the same student fee rates as International students.
– UKIP supports the principle of Free Schools that are open to the whole community and uphold British values.
– Existing schools will be allowed to apply to become grammar schools and select according to ability and aptitude. Selection ages will be flexible and determined by the school in consultation with the local authority.
– Schools will be investigated by OFSTED on the presentation of a petition to the Department for Education signed by 25% of parents or governors.
Honouring the Military Covenant
– We will resource fully our military assets and personnel.
– UKIP will guarantee those who have served in the Armed Forces for a minimum of 12 years a job in the police force, prison service or border force
– UKIP will change the points system for social housing to give priority to ex-service men and women and those returning from active service.
– A Veterans Department will bring together all veterans services to ensure servicemen and women get the after-service care they deserve.
– Veterans are to receive a Veterans’ Service Card to ensure they are fast tracked for mental health care and services, if needed.
– All entitlements will be extended to servicemen recruited from overseas.
– UKIP supports a National Service Medal for all those who have served in the armed forces.
The National Health Service
– UKIP will ensure the NHS is free at the point of delivery and time of need for all UK residents.
– We will stop further use of PFI in the NHS and encourage local authorities to buy out their PFI contracts early where this is affordable.
– We will ensure that GPs’ surgeries are open at least one evening per week, where there is demand for it.
– UKIP opposes plans to charge patients for visiting their GP.
–We will ensure that visitors to the UK, and migrants until they have paid NI for five years, have NHS-approved private health insurance as a condition of entry to the UK, saving the NHS £2bn pa. UKIP will commit to spending £200m of the £2bn saving to end hospital car parking charges in England.
– We will replace Monitor and the Care Quality Commission with elected county health boards to be more responsive scrutineers of local health services. These will be able to inspect health services and take evidence from whistle-blowers.
– UKIP opposes the sale of NHS data to third parties.
– We will ensure foreign health service professionals coming to work in the NHS are properly qualified and can speak English to a standard acceptable to the profession.
– UKIP will amend working time rules to give trainee doctors, surgeons and medics the proper environment to train and practise.
– There will be a duty on all health service staff to report low standards of care.
Controlling and managing our borders
– UKIP recognises the benefits of limited, controlled immigration.
– UKIP will leave the EU, and take back control of our borders. Work permits will be permitted to fill skills gaps in the UK jobs market.
– We will extend to EU citizens the existing points-based system for time-limited work permits. Those coming to work in the UK must have a job to go to, must speak English, must have accommodation agreed prior to their arrival, and must have NHS-approved health insurance.
– Migrants will only be eligible for benefits (in work or out of work) when they have been paying tax and NI for five years and will only be eligible for permanent residence after ten years.
– UKIP will reinstate the primary purpose rule for bringing foreign spouses and children to the UK.
– UKIP will not offer an amnesty for illegal immigrants or those gaining British passports through fraud.
– UKIP will return to the principles of the UN Convention of Refugees which serves to protect the most vulnerable.
– UKIP will target foreign aid at healthcare initiatives, inoculations against preventable diseases and clean water programmes with a much-reduced aid budget administered by the Foreign Office.
– British organisations will be offered the contracts to deliver the remaining aid following removal of the EU Procurement Directive.
– UKIP will repeal the Climate Change Act 2008 which costs the economy £18bn a year.
– UKIP supports a diverse energy market including coal, nuclear, shale gas, geo-thermal, tidal, solar, conventional gas and oil.
– We will scrap the Large Combustion Plant Directive and encourage the re-development of British power stations, as well as industrial units providing on-site power generation.
– UKIP supports the development of shale gas with proper safeguards for the local environment. Community Improvement Levy money from the development of shale gas fields will be earmarked for lower council taxes or community projects within the local authority being developed.
– There will be no new subsidies for wind farms and solar arrays.
– UKIP will abolish green taxes and charges in order to reduce fuel bills.
Agriculture and Fishing
– By leaving the EU, the UK will leave the Common Agricultural Policy. Outside the EU UKIP will institute a British Single Farm Payment for farms.
– UKIP will let the British parliament vote on GM foods.
– UKIP will leave the Common Fisheries Policy and reinstate British territorial waters.
– Foreign trawlers would have to apply for and purchase fishing permits to fish British waters when fish stocks have returned to sustainable levels.
– Food must be labelled to include the country of origin, method of production, method of slaughter, hormones and any genetic additives.
– UKIP will abolish the export of live animals for slaughter
Welfare and Childcare
– UKIP opposes the bedroom tax because it operates unfairly, penalising those who are unable to find alternative accommodation and taking insufficient account of the needs of families and the disabled.
– Child benefit is only to be paid to children permanently resident in the UK and future child benefit to be limited to the first two children only.
– UKIP will ensure there is an initial presumption of 50/50 shared parenting in child custody matters and grandparents will be given visitation rights.
– UKIP supports a simplified, streamlined welfare system and a benefit cap.
– We will scrap HS2.
– UKIP opposes tolls on public roads and will let existing contracts for running toll roads expire.
– UKIP will maintain pensioner bus passes.
– UKIP will require foreign vehicles to purchase a Britdisc, before entry to the UK, in order to contribute to the upkeep of UK roads and any lost fuel duty.
– UKIP will ensure that speed cameras are used as a deterrent and not as a revenue raiser for local authorities.
Housing and planning
– UKIP will protect the Green Belt.
– Planning rules in the NPPF will be changed to make it easier to build on brownfield sites instead of greenfield sites. Central government is to list the nationally available brownfield sites for development and issue low-interest bonds to enable decontamination.
– Houses on brownfield sites will be exempt from Stamp Duty on first sale and VAT relaxed for redevelopment of brownfield sites.
– Planning Permission for large-scale developments can be overturned by a referendum triggered by the signatures of 5% of the District or Borough electors collected within three months.
Democracy and the Constitution
– UKIP will overcome the unfairness of MPs from devolved nations voting on English-only issues.
– UKIP supports the recall of MPs as was originally promised in the Coalition Agreement, whereby 20% of the electorate in a constituency must sign a recall petition within eight weeks. The approval of MPs will not be required to initiate a recall petition.
– UKIP will introduce the Citizens’ Initiative to allow the public to initiate national referendums on issues of major public interest.
Law and Order
– UKIP will withdraw from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights.
– UKIP will reverse the government’s opt-in to EU law and justice measures, including the European Arrest Warrant and European Investigation Order. We will replace the EAW with appropriate bi-lateral agreements.
– UKIP will not give prisoners the vote.
– UKIP believes that full sentences should be served and this should be taken into account when criminals are convicted and sentenced in court. Parole should be available for good behaviour on a case-by-case basis, not systematically.
– We will repeal the Human Rights Act and replace it with a new British Bill of Rights. The interests of law-abiding citizens & victims will always take precedence over those of criminals.
– UKIP recognises and values an overarching, unifying British culture, which is open and inclusive to anyone who wishes to identify with Britain and British values, regardless of their ethnic or religious background.
– Official documents will be published in English and, where appropriate Welsh and Scots Gaelic.
– UKIP will ensure that the law is rigorously enforced in relation to ‘cultural’ practices which are illegal in Britain, such as forced marriages, FGM and so-called ‘honour killings’
– We will review the BBC Licence Fee with a view to its reduction. Prosecution of non-payments of the Licence Fee would be taken out of the criminal sphere and made a civil offence.
– UKIP will amend the smoking ban to give pubs and clubs the choice to open smoking rooms properly ventilated and separated from non-smoking areas.
– UKIP opposes ‘plain paper packaging’ for tobacco products and minimum pricing of alcohol.
Employment and Small Businesses
– Businesses should be able to discriminate in favour of young British workers.
– Repeal the Agency Workers Directive.
– Conduct a skills review to better inform our education system and qualifications
– Encourage councils to provide more free parking for the high street.
– Simplify planning regulations and licences for empty commercial property vacant for over a year.
– Extend the right of appeal for micro businesses against HMRC action.
Protecting jobs and increasing prosperity
– We would review all legislation and regulations from the EU (3,600 new laws since 2010) and remove those which hamper British prosperity and competitiveness.
– We would negotiate a bespoke trade agreement with the EU to enable our businesses to continue trading to mutual advantage.
– UKIP would not seek to remain in the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) or European Economic Area (EEA) while those treaties maintain a principle of free movement of labour, which prevents the UK managing its own borders.
– We would reoccupy the UK’s vacant seat at the World Trade Organisation, ensuring that we continue to enjoy ‘most favoured nation’ status in trade with the EU, as is required under WTO rules.