Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer to face grilling in Grimsby

Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer will both face a grilling in Grimsby on Wednesday, after the Prime Minister pledged to halve immigration and Labour promised to fix potholes.

The Prime Minister and the Labour leader will go head to head to win over voters as they take questions from journalist Beth Rigby and the studio audience during Sky News鈥 leaders special.

It comes after Mr Sunak unveiled a 拢17.2 billion package of tax cuts at the Silverstone motor racing circuit on Tuesday.

Despite his upcoming appearance on Sky News on Wednesday evening, Mr Sunak has revealed he was forced to go without Sky TV when he was younger.

In an interview with ITV, which meant the Prime Minister left D-Day commemoration events in Normandy early, he said: 鈥淭here鈥檒l be all sorts of things that I would鈥檝e wanted as a kid that I couldn鈥檛 have.

鈥淔amously, Sky TV, so that was something that we never had growing up actually. But it was lots of things but again, that鈥檚 my experience. What is more important is my values and how I was raised.鈥

Meanwhile in Scotland, leaders clashed over economics and austerity in a live TV showdown on Tuesday, with First Minister John Swinney repeatedly claiming a Labour government would 鈥減rolong鈥 the austerity agenda imposed by the Tories.

This was denied by the Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, who said: 鈥淩ead my lips. No austerity under Labour.鈥

At the Conservatives鈥 manifesto launch, Mr Sunak acknowledged that people were 鈥渇rustrated鈥 with him and admitted the Tories 鈥渉ave not got everything right鈥.

Labour said the Tory plans would push up borrowing, risking increased interest rates and rising mortgage costs.

Mr Sunak with his wife Akshata Murty
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was joined by his wife Akshata Murty for the manifesto launch at Silverstone (James Manning/PA)

鈥淲e are cutting taxes for workers, for parents and pensioners, and we are the party of Margaret Thatcher and Nigel Lawson, a party, unlike Labour, that believes in sound money,鈥 Mr Sunak said.

He set out plans to slash immigration as he responded to political pressure from the right of his party and concerns about the threat posed by Reform UK.

Mr Sunak acknowledged that 鈥渕igration has been too high in recent years鈥 but said: 鈥淥ur plan is this: we will halve migration as we have halved inflation, and then reduce it every single year.鈥

The manifesto commits to require migrants to undergo a health check in advance of coming to the UK 鈥 with the prospect of paying a higher rate of the immigration health surcharge or forcing them to purchase insurance if they are 鈥渓ikely to be a burden on the NHS鈥.

It confirmed plans for a 鈥渂inding, legal cap鈥 on work and family visas which would 鈥渇all every year of the next Parliament and cannot be breached鈥.

As well as measures to reduce legal migration, the manifesto committed to 鈥渟top the boats鈥 crossing the English Channel, including through the Rwanda asylum scheme 鈥 with the first flights promised in July.

But the document stops short of saying the UK could leave the European Convention on Human Rights, as some on the Tory right, including former home secretary Suella Braverman, have called for.

The convention, and the Strasbourg court which rules on it, has been seen as a stumbling block in the effort to send migrants on a one-way trip to Rwanda.

The manifesto said: 鈥淲e will run a relentless, continual process of permanently removing illegal migrants to Rwanda with a regular rhythm of flights every month, starting this July, until the boats are stopped.

鈥淚f we are forced to choose between our security and the jurisdiction of a foreign court, including the ECtHR (European Court of Human Rights), we will always choose our security.鈥

The manifesto sets out plans for billions in tax cuts, which the Tories claim would be paid for by 拢12 billion of savings on welfare and 拢6 billion from tackling tax dodgers.

In total, the package of employee and self-employed national insurance cuts 鈥 combined with the previously announced 鈥渢riple lock plus鈥 tax break for pensioners, changes to child benefit for high earners, taking most first-time buyers out of stamp duty and聽suspending capital gains tax on sales to tenants 鈥 would amount to a 拢17.2 billion annual cost to the Exchequer by 2029-30.

Mr Sunak said the measures in the Tory manifesto will make the tax burden about one percentage point lower in every single year compared with the forecast outlined in the spring budget.

The Tories also pledged to build 1.6 million new homes in England in the next five years by speeding up planning on brownfield land in inner cities and scrapping legacy European Union 鈥渘utrient neutrality鈥 rules intended to protect the environment, which Mr Sunak described as 鈥渄efective鈥.

Labour鈥檚 shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said analysis by her party suggested the Tory plans required an extra 拢17.4 billion of borrowing in 2029-30, and a total of 拢71 billion over the whole five-year period.

That could result in the Bank of England putting up interest rates by 56 basis points, resulting in someone with an 85% mortgage on the average house in England facing 拢4,800 in extra mortgage payments over the five years.

Reform鈥檚 Nigel Farage said the manifesto was 鈥渕ore lies鈥 from the Conservative Party about cutting immigration.

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper said: 鈥淭his manifesto isn鈥檛 worth the paper it鈥檚 printed on. No-one will believe anything they鈥檙e promising today.鈥

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) economic think tank was sceptical about the Tories鈥 ability to raise the money needed for the plans, with its director Paul Johnson branding them 鈥渦ncertain, unspecific and apparently victimless savings鈥.

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