BORIS Johnson will today start to unveil a blitzkrieg of domestic plans if he is elected PM in a bid to widen his Premiership away from just Brexit.
In his acceptance speech late this morning and on No10’s steps tomorrow, the Tory leadership frontrunner is expected to promise immediate action on a raft of long standing problems that Theresa May’s administration failed to grip.
They include an immediate insurance plan to tackle the spiralling cost of social care, a major overhaul of school funding, and moves to turbo-charge business in the regions.
Boris’s leadership team were last night hoping for victory against rival Jeremy Hunt by “at least 20 points”, as they predicted he will win between 60 and 70 per cent of the vote.
Voting among the Tories’ 165,000 eligible members closed at 5pm last night, and the winner will be announced at 11.40am today after an overnight count.
The surprise early policy announcements will mark a significant change in tone from Boris’s leadership campaign, which was dominated by his landmark pledge to deliver Brexit by October 31 “do or die”.
He wants to use the ‘One Nation’ domestic blitzkrieg to build support for his new administration from across the bitterly divided Tory party, as well as draw a sharp contrast with Mrs May’s three years in No10, which were characterised by arguments and delays.
Close aides also say it’s vital for Mr Johnson to show he has purpose as the nation’s boss as “a distraction” from the hard months ahead of torturous Brexit negotiations for a new deal from the EU.
Social care and school funding are also key general election issues.
One Boris confidante said last night: “Boris wants to establish as soon as people that he’s about more than Brexit.
“We are have to get the two big policy barnacles of schools funding and social care off the boat now in case we have to go to the country in the Autumn.”
The detailed domestic agenda has been drawn up over the last few weeks in strict secrecy by Boris’s transition team, lead by his Chief of Staff Sir Eddie Lister, Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Cabinet Office Minister Oli Dowden.
Boris’s plans include:
- New state-backed insurance scheme which people would use to save for better care in their old age from their 40s
- New rules and money to end gaping regional funding disparities for schools to ensure all pupils in England see at least £5,000 a year spent on them
Equalising school funding was Mr Johnson’s first policy pledge of his leadership campaign.
He attacked the a “growing gulf in ambition” between the South East and other regions that currently sees funding per pupil at £6,800 in parts of London and as low as £4,200 other parts of the country, such as Cambridgeshire.
The amount of per pupil spending in England's schools has fallen by 8 per cent since 2010 and is now a major doorstep issue among voters.
Any cash injection to arrive in time for the new school year in September must also be ordered in the next two weeks.
The Social Care Green Paper has been repeatedly delayed over a row between No10, the Treasury and the Department of Health over whether to impose a £100,000 universal cap on the amount people have to pay out for their old age care.
There was also a stand off over how to raise the £3.5billion a year needed to plug the social care budget shortfall.
Health Secretary Mr Hancock bitterly opposed any new system that forced people to sell their houses to pay their care bills, and Boris has decided to back him.
Boris is expected to announce a white paper to unveil Mr Hancock’s insurance-style scheme will be published within weeks.
It’s expected to be voluntary and ask all workers over 40 to contribute 2.5% of their wages to it every year.
Mr Johnson is also expected to unveil his plans for a Brexit dividend for Britain’s forgotten regions with speeches around the country over the coming weeks.
Solving Britain’s housing crisis, boosting police numbers by 20,000 and income tax cuts are also priorities but have been dubbed “second order” for now and will be tackled later in the year during the Budget and Whitehall-wide spending review.
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