May pledges to tackle 'giant challenges' with Tory manifesto

Prime Minister Theresa May revealed her core election promises and political vision Thursday, saying she will slash immigration and take Britain definitively out of the European Union, then build a "great meritocracy" by giving the poor a helping hand and lifting barriers to social mobility.

May's platform for the June 8 election marks a big shift away from the strongly pro-business, free-market policies of past Conservative governments.

She promised that her government would be "relentless in tackling burning injustices" and would govern for "mainstream Britain".

Ahead of the publication of the Tory manifesto, Labour produced a dossier listing what it claimed were 50 broken Conservative promises.

She said the document set out "a vision for Britain, a portrait of the kind of country I want this nation to be after Brexit as we chart our own way in the world".

Many Britons who voted past year to leave the European Union were motivated by a desire to control immigration, which has soared as the EU has expanded.

The policy document said the current figure of 273,000 people heading to Britain was "still too high" and promised to slash the number to "sustainable levels".

"If we get Brexit right, we can use this moment of change to build a stronger, fairer, more prosperous Britain here at home", May told Tory activists in Halifax, West Yorkshire.

Mrs May said as the United Kingdom left the European Union, it would need to harness the talents of all its people. The amount Britain will be asked to pay is expected to be one of the first flashpoints in the exit talks.

'In addition to safeguarding the rising state pension, we will continue to support the successful expansion of auto-enrolled pensions, enabling more people to increase their retirement income with help from their employers and government; we will continue to extend auto-enrolment to small employers and make it available to the self-employed, ' the manifesto said.

The deficit stood at 2.6 percent of GDP in the last financial year which closed in March, down sharply from 10 percent in 2010 when the Conservative Party took power, after the global financial crisis blew a massive hole in the public finances.

May's economic vision outlined in the manifesto includes ideas more reminiscent of the center-left Labour Party than traditional Conservative policies. This point was underlined at today's Tory manifesto launch.

The Conservatives have pledged to introduce smart meters to every households by 2020 and to introduce an energy tariff cap to protect those that stick with the worst deals from "abusive price increases".

To soften the blow the Tories promise no-one will have to sell their home while they or a surviving partner is alive to fund residential or home care.

"There will be obstacles in our way", she said.

More controversially, the prime minister has also said that council will no longer meet the social care costs for people with assets worth more than £100,000, whose costs will be met out of the value of their homes, if necessary, after they and their partner have died.

May's political philosophy appears strikingly different.