The most extraordinary thing about the Tory manifesto is that you can read pages and pages of it and not come upon a monetary value put on anything. Figures are extremely few and far between indeed, and where there is a cost placed on something there is normally no indication given at all of where the money is coming from.
You have to get to page 14 before you come across a single figure at all. Then it tells you that by 2020 they will increase the personal tax allowance to £12,500 and increase the higher rate threshold to £50,000. But it places no value at all on the next cost of this tax cut, or how it can be afforded.
You have to go through six more pages of waffle before you get the next figure at page 20, a National Productivity Fund of £23 billion. Again, no indication is given of the source of this funding, perhaps because it is very much an old recycled announcement.
Perhaps the most remarkable instance of lack of clarity on funding is the promise of £8 billion extra for the NHS. Again no indication at all is given of where this money is coming from. The only indication of an extra funding source is a levy of £450 per head on overseas students for use of the NHS. That will raise only about £50 million and is just a chance for an attack on a group May particularly hates – and a bone to the racists.
It is impossible not to contrast the complete absence of prices on 95% of the proposals in the manifesto, and the complete lack of explanation of the source of funds on almost all the few items that are costed, with the huge media onslaught on the fiscal detail of the opposition parties’ manifestoes. A completely different standard is being applied to the Tories.
The BBC as usual wheeled out the Institute of Fiscal Studies, the “independent” body representing extreme neo-liberalism. The IFS has been lyrical for hours these last few days giving instant judgements on why the Labour manifesto had holes in it, repeating continually the corporate propaganda that if you increase taxes on the super-rich, they will pay less. But when invited by the BBC to comment on the finances of the Tory manifesto, the IFS merely replied that they would be presenting an analysis of all the manifestoes next Tuesday.
The Tory manifesto is literally priceless – it puts no price on anything. But we all know it will carry a disastrous cost for our public services and for the most vulnerable in our society,