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IfG urges politicians to focus on five key issues in drawing up manifestos

Britain’s politicians have been told to hone in on a small number of clear promises that address the key issues facing the UK at the moment.

The Institute for Government (IfG) this week released their guidelines for what the competing political parties should contain in their manifestos, which will set out the blueprint for governance during their time in office.

In particular, politicians were told to be “ruthless” in setting priorities as the report said that manifestos should not be “long shopping lists of popular measures”.

The IfG has previously conducted polls that suggest that two-thirds of the public would be more likely to vote for a party that is honest about how it intends to implement policies once in government.

Moving into specific detail, IfG also stated that parties should look to give detail when laying out how Brexit will be negotiated.

“All parties face a balancing act in deciding how much of their Brexit negotiating position to expose in a manifesto,” the report stated. “Some calculations on trade-offs and compromises need to be kept under wraps. But parties should not expect to get away with demanding a blank cheque from voters.”

Establishing credibility on public services was also found to be something that should be emphasised in party manifestos.

The report said: “If the next government is going to maintain public confidence and manage continued financial constraints without allowing services to fail, it must ensure that its spending decisions are realistic, and focus on achieving efficiency while not overstating the potential savings.”

On top of that, commitment to independent scrutiny behind spending was also seen as a priority, following a PACAC report this week that criticised government department accounts for not being transparent enough for the public of government workers.

IfG also said that manifestos should look to change tax policymaking and stick to Phillip Hammond’s current commitment to return to a single annual Budget and also be clear about the principles and strategy underpinning tax reform.

Finally, parties were urged to also make sense of infrastructure investment and provide clarity on important infrastructure decisions such as with regards to Heathrow and HS2.

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