Rishi Sunak arrived at Silverstone today as he prepares to unveil a make-or-break manifesto gambling on ‘Thatcherite’ tax cuts.

The smiling PM was accompanied by wife Akshata as he turned up at the race course to launch his fightback after a turbulent campaign.

Mr Sunak is expected to lay out his ‘moral mission’ to put money back in Brits’ pockets.

The blueprint is tipped to include a promise of a further 2p cut in National Insurance, along with a pledge to phase out the ‘double-tax on jobs’ completely when resources allow.

Mr Sunak will also pledge to axe stamp duty on properties up to £425,000 to help first-time buyers, and revive the Help to Buy scheme, which offered discounted mortgages for those wanting to get on the ladder. 

However, insiders say there will be surprises in the plans that have not been leaked.

Labour has already admitted they will not match tax cut promises, branding forward a ‘Jeremy Corbyn-style manifesto’ full of uncosted promises. 

With the Tories so far failing to make a dent in Labour’s massive poll lead and the threat from Reform growing, right-wingers such as Suella Braverman and Robert Jenrick will be watching the event at the motor racing track carefully for signs of another setback.

There have even been rumours of a ‘rival’ manifesto offering more dramatic action on issues such as tax and immigration. 

In other twists and turns today:

  • Labour has come under fire from business after refusing to rule out hikes to capital gains tax;
  • Keir Starmer has unveiled plans to ban under-16s from buying strong energy drinks; 
  • Nigel Farage‘s BBC Panorama grilling has been delayed from tonight due to an apparent diary mix-up;
  • There were more signs the cost-of-living squeeze on Brits is easing with figures showing wages rising faster than inflation. 

The smiling PM was accompanied by wife Akshata as he turned up at the Silverstone race track to launch his fightback after a turbulent campaign

The Sunaks were flanked by activists as the party tries to put on a show and win over voters

The Sunaks were flanked by activists as the party tries to put on a show and win over voters

Mr Sunak will say today: ‘We Conservatives have had to take difficult decisions because of Covid. But we are now cutting taxes for earners, parents and pensioners.

‘We are the party of Margaret Thatcher and Nigel Lawson, a party, unlike Labour, that believes in sound money.

‘We believe that it is morally right that those who can work do work, and hard work is rewarded with people being able to keep more of their own money.

What to expect in the Tories’ manifesto

TAX

2p cut in National Insurance, along with ambition to eventually abolish the ‘second tax on jobs’. Triple tax lock ensuring no rise in headline rates of income tax, National Insurance or VAT.

Family Home Tax Guarantee, pledging no increase in stamp duty or capital gains tax on the family home and no new council tax bands or revaluations.

Threshold for first-time buyers paying stamp duty raised to £425,000.

HEALTH

Pledge to recruit thousands more doctors and nurses.

Raise legal smoking age every year to prevent anyone aged under 16 ever being able to legally take up the habit.

Increasing the role of pharmacists to free up millions of GP appointments.

Building 50 new diagnostic centres and 100 new GP surgeries.

A £86,000 cap on social care costs.

EDUCATION AND CHILDREN

Ban the teaching of ‘contested’ gender ideology in schools. Double the income threshold at which families start to lose child benefit from £60,000 to £120,000.

Scrap ‘Mickey Mouse’ degrees to release funding for extra 100,000 apprenticeships.

IMMIGRATION

Introduce a new legal cap on immigration, with MPs voting each year on the total number of visas which should be issued. Press ahead with the plan to send Channel migrants to Rwanda next month.

DEFENCE 

Guarantee that defence spending will rise to 2.5 per cent of GDP by 2030.

Introduce National Service.

PENSIONS 

Triple Lock Plus to raise personal allowance for pensioners to ensure the basic state pension is never hit by income tax.

POLICE AND CRIME 

Recruit an extra 8,000 police officers to beef up neighbourhood policing.

Increase the minimum tariff for murders in the home from 15 years to 25.

Step up stop and search powers to tackle knife crime.

‘We will ensure that we have lower welfare so we can lower taxes.’

The PM will add: ‘Keir Starmer takes a very different view. 

‘He says he’s a socialist, and we know what socialists always do: take more of your money.’

Ministers hope that today’s manifesto launch in the Midlands will turbocharge a Conservative campaign which has so far failed to dent Labour’s massive lead in the polls.

Yesterday the PM sought to draw a line under the row about his decision to come home early from last week’s D-Day events in Normandy.

He said he ‘absolutely didn’t mean to cause anyone any hurt or upset’ and appealed to people to ‘find it in their hearts to forgive me’.

Mr Sunak said critics were wrong to ‘write me off’ and vowed to fight ‘until the last day of the campaign’ to keep Sir Keir Starmer out of No 10.

Today he will acknowledge the Government has raised the tax burden to record levels to pay for Covid spending and support payments during the energy crisis.

But he will insist that, with the economy now stabilised, it is time to start cutting taxes again. 

The PM will also highlight how his tax cuts will be funded in large part by a £12billion crackdown on welfare and a new drive against worklessness.

Writing in The Telegraph, Mr Sunak said of the housing plans: ‘For too many of our young people, no matter how hard they work, home ownership can seem out of reach. 

‘I remember getting the keys to my first flat – it’s a special memory to me. And, like millions before and millions after me, it is a moment I will always treasure. I want as many people as possible to have that opportunity, to feel that sense of ownership.’ 

The manifesto will also guarantee that the basic state pension will never be taxed.

For Help to Buy, the plans will allow first-time buyers to have a deposit of 5 per cent. 

They will need a mortgage for 75 per cent of the outstanding cost, with the Government and developers lending the rest at a discount.

But the likes of Mr Jenrick and Ms Braverman are said to be watching the announcement with bated breath to see how the manifesto goes down with the public before deciding to act, The Guardian reported. 

Tory insiders say they could call a press conference next week if it flops, in which they would set out a series of alternative pledges. 

Mr Sunak’s approval rating fell by 12 percentage points as he became less popular than Mr Farage.

The Reform UK leader saw his rating rise from 12 points to 15 across the same period, putting him ahead of the Prime Minister for the first time with voters.

In a special BBC Panorama interview, Mr Sunak declared he will ‘keep cutting people’s taxes’ if he stays in power, with rumours of bold moves on national insurance and stamp duty.

Rishi Sunak’s latest pledge is to cut people’s taxes and make it easier for them to buy their first home

Tory right rivals such as Suella Braverman are waiting in the wings and threatening to swoop if the manifesto flops

Tory right rivals such as Suella Braverman are waiting in the wings and threatening to swoop if the manifesto flops

Mr Sunak has pledged to be 'the party of Margaret Thatcher' - 'a party, unlike Labour, that believes in sound money'

Mr Sunak has pledged to be ‘the party of Margaret Thatcher’ – ‘a party, unlike Labour, that believes in sound money’

Mr Sunak was told Nigel Farage was 'coming for him' as he pleaded with voters to realise that voting for any other party helped Labour

Mr Sunak was told Nigel Farage was ‘coming for him’ as he pleaded with voters to realise that voting for any other party helped Labour

‘You’ll see that in our manifesto tomorrow,’ the PM said. 

Denying he was the political equivalent of a ‘quinoa salad’ to Nigel Farage’s ‘Sunday roast’, Mr Sunak begged voters to remember that the only two politicians who could end up in No10 on July 5 were him and Keir Starmer.

After being shown images of other world leaders and Lord Cameron at D-Day events in Normandy last week, Mr Sunak repeated his grovelling apology for failing to stay until the end.

In tetchy exchanges with presenter Nick Robinson, the premier said he hoped people could ‘find it in their hearts’ to forgive him.

Amid rising Tory alarm about the fallout from the D-Day row, Mr Sunak said: ‘Well, the last thing that I wanted to do was cause anyone any hurt or offence or upset, which is why I apologised unreservedly for the mistake that I made.

‘And I can only ask that I hope people can find it within their hearts to forgive me and also look at my actions as Prime Minister to increase investment in our armed forces, to support our armed forces, but also to ensure that veterans have a minister sitting around the Cabinet table with unprecedented support to make this the best country in the world to be a veteran as a demonstration of how deeply I care about this community and what they’ve done for our country.’

After Robinson jibed that Mr Sunak was the political equivalent of a ‘quinoa salad’ compared to Mr Farage’s ‘Sunday roast with all the trimmings’, the premier argued that ‘there’s only going to be one of two people who’s prime minister’.

‘A vote for anyone who’s not a Conservative candidate is just making it more likely that Keir Starmer is that person,’ he said.

‘So if you ask someone, you say, you know, what makes a Conservative, if you are someone who wants lower taxes, if you want your pension protected, if you want migration reduced, if you want a sensible approach to net zero that prioritises our security and reducing people’s bills, that’s what I will offer you in this election.’

After being shown images of other world leaders and Lord Cameron at D-Day events in Normandy last week, Mr Sunak repeated his grovelling apology for failing to stay until the end

After being shown images of other world leaders and Lord Cameron at D-Day events in Normandy last week, Mr Sunak repeated his grovelling apology for failing to stay until the end 

Mr Sunak is scrambling to get the Tories' election campaign back on track today after the D-Day shambles and with infighting flaring over the Reform threat

Mr Sunak is scrambling to get the Tories’ election campaign back on track today after the D-Day shambles and with infighting flaring over the Reform threat 

Mr Sunak said he did not want to talk about personalities when challenged further on Mr Farage, adding: ‘I’m willing to talk about everything here, but the simple issue here is a vote for anyone else, including Nigel Farage’s party – and I would make the same point about anyone’s party – is ultimately a vote that makes it more likely that Keir Starmer is in power.’

The premier was also pressed on his response to an alleged ‘dog whistle’ attack from Mr Farage suggesting that he did not understand ‘our culture’.

‘Is he playing with fire by bringing your heritage into this argument?’ the presenter asked.

Mr Sunak replied: ‘Well Nigel Farage can answer what he exactly meant by those comments.

‘I’m not going to get involved in that because I don’t think it’s good for our country or good for our politics. Now obviously I disagree with him and when it comes, specifically, to our Armed Forces, again people can judge me by my actions.’

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