More than immigration

UKIP's manifesto is the party's big opportunity to get away from the tag of being a one-trick pony on immigration.

It has always said the document would be fully costed and provide a rounded set of proposals covering the main aspects of government.

There is a UK manifesto and a shorter Welsh version, which is fifteen pages of direct bullet points. It's the kind of easily-digestible length that can be read over a cup of coffee.

The two main themes are, of course, a withdrawal from the EU (UKIP would hold a referendum as soon as possible) and dealing with concerns over immigration (for the record the latest figure we have for annual net migration in Wales is 6,500).

Arguably, the most significant result of the emergence of UKIP in recent years has been the fact that all of the parties are now addressing immigration in a way they have never done in previous general elections.

Point of difference

UKIP says there should be no immigration for unskilled jobs for five years and immigrants should only gain access to the NHS and welfare after five years of paying tax.

A key question is whether pledges like these give them enough of a point of difference, when the other parties are offering variations on the same theme.

The big policy for Wales is a pledge to make up any loss in regional aid it would suffer as a result of a UK withdrawal from the EU.

This deals with a question journalists always put to the UKIP leader in Wales, Nathan Gill, that Wales will inevitably lose out because it is a net beneficiary of being in the EU.

Dealing with concerns over immigration is something that filters its way through the entire manifesto.

Property ladder

On housing, for example, social housing would only be available to those with local connections, and the various government schemes set up to help those get onto the property ladder would also only be available to British people.

There's also some populist measures, such as re-instating weekly bin collections and things like "provide best value for money for council tax payers by cutting council costs".

Housing and local government are devolved but, like the other parties, the manifesto is full of policies that apply at a Westminster and a devolved level.

On the deficit, it speaks about the irresponsibility of leaving national debts to our children and our grandchildren.

UKIP has pledged to raise the level at which you start to pay income tax to £13,000 and raise the level at which you start to pay the 40% rate to £55,000, as well as to abolish inheritance tax.


It will be paid for as a result of savings from not being in the EU, scrapping HS2 and cutting back on funding to Scotland.

The question is whether there's enough of an overall vision from UKIP to attract voters in sufficient numbers to break through in the UK's first past the post electoral system.

In Wales, it's going to be difficult to see UKIP picking up any seats, but nevertheless its impact in constituencies such as the Vale of Glamorgan could be decisive.