Conservative manifesto pledges to support 'locally-led' green cities and provide a farming vision

The Conservative Party says building green cities must be "locally-led" as it plans a 25-year food production strategy.

David Cameron
David Cameron

The Conservative manifesto launched on 14 April, focuses on housing and tax cuts.

There is a £1 billion fund to back the construction of 400,000 new homes on brownfield sites.

Other pledges in the manifesto are a plan to raise the personal allowance to £12,500, increasing the starting rate for the 40p tax rate to £50,000 and raising the inheritance tax threshold for family homes to £1 million.

The Conservative manifesto states: "We will support locally-led garden cities and towns in places where communities want them, such as Ebbsfleet and Bicester. When new homes are granted planning permission, we will make sure local communities know up-front that necessary infrastructure such as schools and roads will be provided. We will ensure that brownfield land is used as much as possible for new development.

"We will require local authorities to have a register of what is available, and ensure that 90 per cent We will continue to work through our plan, so mortgage rates stay lower for longer. To meet the capital’s housing needs, we will create a new London Land Commission, with a mandate to identify and release all surplus brownfield land owned by the public sector. We will fund Housing Zones to transform brownfield sites into new housing, which will create 95,000 new homes."

It states on farming: "We will set out a long-term vision for the future of British farming, working with industry to develop a 25 year plan to grow more, buy more and sell more British food. We will allow farmers to smooth their profits for tax purposes over five years, up from the current two years, to counter income volatility.

"We will treble the number of apprenticeships in food, farming and agri-tech, as part of our plan to secure three million more apprenticeships. We will support a science-led approach on GM crops and pesticides and implement our 25-year strategy to eradicate bovine TB.

"We will liberate farmers from red tape by coordinating all visits through a single Farm Inspection Taskforce, which will involve farmers themselves and use data from existing industry schemes, such as Red Tractor. We will push for further reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy.

"We will promote British food abroad by setting up a Great British Food Unit to help trademark and promote local foods around the world and back British food at home, by guaranteeing that all central government departments purchase food to British standards of production by the end of the Parliament. We will also help consumers to buy British by pushing for country of origin labelling in Europe, particularly for dairy products, following on from our success with beef, lamb, pork and poultry. And we will champion our new Groceries Code Adjudicator, so farmers receive a fair deal from the supermarkets."

Labour's 13 April manifesto made pledges for a "new generation" of garden cities and a new strategy for agriculture.

The Liberal Democrats outlined plans to build 300,000 new homes in the UK, including bringing forward plans to build 10 new garden cities and direct government commissioning of private sector housebuilding.

Meanwhile, among the Greens manifesto pledges, there is a promise to prohibit pesticide use: "Secure protection of rural residents and communities from exposure to pesticides sprayed on nearby crop fields and prohibit the use of pesticides in the locality of homes, schools and children’s playgrounds."

The general election is on 7 May.

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