Boris Johnson will launch the Conservative manifesto on Sunday with a promise not to put up income tax, national insurance or VAT, as he seeks to bolster his commanding poll lead over Labour.
Mr Johnson’s decision to put tax at the heart of the election battle with Labour came as the latest polling suggested he was heading for a 48-seat House of Commons majority, with Labour on course for a crushing defeat.
The launch of the Tory manifesto in Telford, in the West Midlands, marks the start of the final phase of the election campaign: by Sunday night all parties will have set out their policy proposals and postal votes will start being sent out next week.
Mr Johnson’s manifesto will seek to draw a dividing line between the Tories, who are promising not to raise key taxes, and a Labour party which is committing to increase taxes on higher earners and businesses to fund a big expansion of the state.
Sajid Javid, chancellor, tweeted last night: “Proud to commit to a triple tax lock. Rates will not rise on these three big taxes under a majority Conservative government: income tax, national insurance and VAT.”
Mr Javid confirmed that his first Budget, if the Tories are re-elected, would increase the NI threshold to £9,500, saving each taxpayer about £100 a year.
The centrepiece of the manifesto will be the commitment to “Get Brexit Done” but there are also expected to be other offers to voters, including a £2bn fund to fix potholes, £1bn for childcare and a promise to scrap hospital parking charges.
Mr Johnson would bring the Withdrawal Agreement bill, required to enact his Brexit deal, to parliament before Christmas with the aim of taking Britain out of the EU on January 31.
The latest polls suggest that Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto launch last week has not shifted public opinion and that he could be leading Labour to its worst election result since Michael Foot in 1983.
Datapraxis ran 270,000 YouGov interviews through a model that proved effective in the 2017 election for the Sunday Times and predicted a Tory majority of 48.
It predicted the Conservatives would win 349, Labour 213, SNP 49, Lib Dems 14, Plaid Cymru 5 and Greens 1. Most opinion polls give the Conservatives a lead in the range of 10-19 points.
However, there are still almost three weeks to run in the campaign and the electorate remains fluid. If voters expected Mr Johnson is heading for a big win, Tory officials fear it could make it seem “safer” for people to vote Labour or Liberal Democrats.
Mr Corbyn’s own dismal approval ratings — the worst on record for any opposition leader — are hurting Labour in the seats it is trying to defend against a Tory onslaught in parts of the West Midlands, north Wales and the north of England.