Labour has costed a number of potential Conservative policies, saying the amount is “£71 billion worth of pledges Rishi Sunak has already promised”.

But do the sums add up?

FactCheck takes a look.

Does the £71bn make sense?

Labour’s figure claims to cover costs the country would incur under the Conservatives in the final year of the next parliament, i.e. just before the next election is scheduled in 2029-30.

Abolishing national insurance

A large part of the £71bn figure is what Labour claims is a £46 billion commitment from the Conservatives to abolish National Insurance Contributions.

Labour says that Jeremy Hunt committed to this in the Spring Budget.

What he actually said was: “When it is responsible, when it can be achieved without increasing borrowing and when it can be delivered without compromising high quality public services, we will continue to cut National Insurance as we have done today so we truly make work pay.”

And a week later, he told the Treasury Committee: “It won’t happen in one parliament, but it’s a long-term ambition.” He also said: “This is going to be the work of many parliaments.”

But Labour’s “Conservatives’ Interest Rate Rise” document claims “this is a policy for the next parliament” and for this reason, the opposition has calculated “costs beginning [in] 2025-26”.

We think it’s misleading to say that this policy will cost £46bn per year starting next year as the Conservatives haven’t even confirmed they’ll do it – and the Chancellor has made clear it won’t happen in the next parliament.

Scrapping inheritance tax

Labour has also calculated the Conservatives will spend £10 billion per year by 2029-30 by scrapping inheritance tax, “assuming that Inheritance Tax is abolished entirely”.

But like Labour said, this calculation is based on an assumption – as the Conservative party has not confirmed it will do this.

Child benefit changes

Also on the topic of tax, Labour has calculated a Conservative spend of £7.7bn a year to end what Jeremy Hunt describes as “distortions” in the tax system.

Labour has reached a large part of this figure by assuming the Conservatives allow people to keep their child benefit if they earn over £60,000.

But this part of the cost is based on an estimate from the independent think tank, the Resolution Foundation, from last year. The researchers have since told the BBC they’ve updated their model and significantly revised down the expected cost.

And the Conservatives have now confirmed what they’ll do about this child benefit scheme – it is slightly different to what Labour has assumed.

Rather than allowing everyone to keep their child benefits regardless of earnings (as Labour calculated), the Conservatives say that they will raise the threshold at which people lose their child benefits to £120,000.

The upshot is that this Conservative policy is likely to be cheaper than Labour estimates.

National Service

The Conservatives’ National Service plan is also included in Labour’s dossier – but the party has worked out the cost based on questionable assumptions.

Labour said the basic pay of a soldier in training is £18,687 rising to £23,496 after completing basic training.

But it’s worked out the cost of employing 30,000 18-year-olds (the number that the Conservatives said would do National Service each year) based on the wage of a private at £35,358 – totalling £1.06bn a year.

The Conservatives said it would be a “year-long military training scheme”, which suggests those who partake would be paid the basic training pay, which we calculate as a total of £561m a year. Even if recruits were paid £23,496 figure – given to those after completing training – this would be £705m a year. Both figures are a lot lower than Labour’s estimated £1.06bn.

FactCheck verdict

Labour says Conservative policies will cost the taxpayer £71bn a year by the final year of the next parliament, 2029-30.

But this is based on some policies that the Conservatives haven’t confirmed they’ll do in the next parliament, if at all.

We won’t know for sure how much a Conservative government would cost the taxpayer until it publishes its manifesto.

The Labour Party was contacted for comment.

(Image credit: Stuart Wallace/Shutterstock)