Nigel Farage will launch a direct assault on Labour today by unveiling a raft of policy announcements aimed at snaring the “blue collar” vote as Ukip stages its conference in the town Ed Miliband represents.
The party will outline plans at the gathering in Doncaster to ease the burden on low-paid workers by overhauling personal taxation as well as setting out reforms of the National Health Service.
It will also pledge to transform the way military veterans are treated by guaranteeing long-servers a job in the police, border force or prison service when they return to civvy street.
The conference, the largest Ukip has staged, is being held in the centre of South Yorkshire town, just a few miles from the Labour leader’s Doncaster North constituency.
Mr Farage who will fight South Thanet, Kent, in next May’s election, is expected to use his keynote speech this afternoon to make a “full frontal assault” on the Opposition, claiming it has failed the people it was founded to represent.
Ukip is aiming for a “handful of seats” in 2015 poll and will outline its new manifesto commitments during the course of today and tomorrow.
The Euroscpetics are expected to confirm pledges to abolish inheritance tax alongside other measures on personal taxation.
According to the Daily Mail, the party is to propose cutting the 40p tax rate to 35p for people who earn between £42,000 and £55,000, with the estimated £2.5billion-a-year loss of tax revenue made up by measures including leaving the EU and cutting the foreign aid budget.
It will also suggest “turnover” tax on companies and back a Liberal Democrat policy to raise the baseline for income tax payments to £12,500, the paper reported.
Analysis by the University of Nottingham earlier this year suggested that Ukip could snatch a number of Labour seats at next year’s general election, with vulnerable areas including shadow women’s minister Gloria de Piero’s Ashfield constituency, retiring veteran Austin Mitchell’s Great Grimsby, as well as Rotherham – where Ukip came second in a recent by-election – Plymouth North View and Dudley North.
Ukip says its policy announcements will focus on strong, clear, simple messages that are aimed at voters who have been “ignored for generations and are hungry for change”.
The party is poised to take its first directly-elected Westminster seat next month following the dramatic defection of D ouglas Carswell from the Conservatives. Polling has put the former MP on course for a resounding victory in the Clacton by-election he trigged after standing down following the decision to switch allegiances .
Other proposals to protect the NHS from abuse, improve the most essential services, and end the use of private finance initiatives to fund hospital building and maintenance will also be announced at the party’s conference.
Deputy leader Paul Nuttall, a North West MEP and the party’s education spokesman, will set out plans to create a “more realistic and aspirational” education system. Measures include scrapping tuition fees for the best students in science, maths technology and medicine while increasing charges for students from within the European Union.
The party will also underline it s position on leaving the EU and its demands for an Australian-style points system for migrants.
Writing in the Independent, Mr Farage said he felt his party was now second to Labour in the north of the country.
“Ever since the Barnsley by-election three years ago, Ukip has been making inroads into seats in the north of England, and has, I think, become the second party of the North after Labour,” he said.
“And it’s clear that Labour is rattled, for its recent tactic has been to print leaflets packed full of misinformation saying that we would privatise the NHS when they know this is not true.
“Make no mistake, strong Ukip candidates will be targeting Labour-held seats in the north of England next year.”