Cameron pledges to double free child care in manifesto launch

David Cameron has set out the Conservative election manifesto with a promise to increase child care from 15 to 30.

Prime Minister David Cameron speaking at University Technical College in Swindon at the launch of the Conservative Party manifesto. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday April 14, 2015. See PA story ELECTION Main. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Working families with three or four-year-old children will get 30 hours of free child care a week under a Conservative Government.

The Prime Minister was speaking at the launch of the party manifesto which includes an extension of Right to Buy for 1.3 million social housing tenants.

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He also promised to end income tax payments for all those earning minimum wage under a Conservative Government, building on coalition efforts to increase the personal allowance. The manifesto commits the party to permanently linking annual increases in the income tax free personal allowance to increases in the minimum wage instead of inflation.

Prime Minister David Cameron speaking at University Technical College in Swindon at the launch of the Conservative Party manifesto. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday April 14, 2015. See PA story ELECTION Main. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

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”.

Mr Cameron said: “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. Because of the changes we have made to curb pension relief for the highest earners, we can afford to make the following commitment. We are going to take that free childcare – and for working families, we will double it. With a Conservative Government, you will get 30 hours of free childcare a week - equivalent to £5000 a year. So we say to the working parents of three and four year olds: Five thousand pounds of savings for you, only with five more years of Conservatives in government.”

In an effort to secure a second term, Mr Cameron added: “The next five years are about turning the good news in our economy into a good life for you and your family.”

Britain shouldn’t be “a debt-addicted, welfare-burdened, steadily-declining, once-great nation - which is what we found”, he said.

“This buccaneering, world-beating, can-do country - we can do it all over again.”

Finishing the speech, Mr Cameron said: “Let us not go back to square one - let us finish what we have begun”.

The manifesto sets out a series of other commitments. On farming the Tories said they “will treble the number of apprenticeships in food, farming and agri-tech, as part of our plan to secure three million more apprenticeships”.

The document adds: “A Conservative Government will give Parliament the opportunity to repeal the Hunting Act on a free vote, with a government bill in government time.”

There is also a funding plan for rural investment, with the manifesto stating that: “We will spend £3bn from the Common Agricultural Policy to enhance England’s countryside over the next five years, enabling us, among other things, to clean up our rivers and lakes, protect our stonewalls and hedges, and help our bees to thrive.”

There is also a repate4 of the pledge to end public subsidy for onshore wind turbines.

On the EU the conservatives said they would “insist that EU migrants who want to claim tax credits and child benefit must live here and contribute to our country for a minimum of four years.”

The Conservatives add: “We will introduce a new residency requirement for social housing, so that EU migrants cannot even be considered for a council house unless they have been living in an area for at least four years.”

The manifesto confirms the party’s commitment to an EU membership referendum in 2017, with Mr Cameron seeking to renegotiate tougher national controls in advance.

On the NHS the manifesto repeats the promise to spend at least an additional £8bn by 2020 over and above inflation to fund and support the NHS’s own action plan for the next five years