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The Tories talk tax

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Laura Kuenssberg | 08:46 UK time, Monday, 13 August 2007

Well almost...

John Redwood wants to ease the burden of red tape on business and cut waste. A report out on Friday will promise measures that could save business 14 billion a year. Interestingly, he calls them 'tax cuts' in all but name, despite the leadership's caution in using those words. David Cameron has always hesitated to talk about cutting taxes to the frustration of many in the party.

John RedwoodMemories of the 2001 and 2005 elections when Conservative promises on specific tax cuts were used by their opponents to suggest they'd slash money from public services guided his near silence.

Yet here, the latest in the Tories' policy reviews promises a whole range of measures described as 'tax cuts' that the party would introduce as long as the economy is stable.

Mr Redwood, former minister from the right of the party wants to scrap some health and safety legislation, reduce the number of data protection laws and roll back regulation on the hours we work. He recommends making it easier to make staff redundant, simplify the tax regime, and axe the controversial Home Information Packs. Those are not, in a direct sense, tax cuts. But the report will claim repealing large chunks of legislation could save business billions. That could appeal to many voters - no one likes red tape.

And there's more. Writing today, he outlines plans to get the private sector more involved in updating our roads, railways and water system. Mr Redwood seemed robust in interviews, confident that Mr Cameron has read his report and very hopeful that unlike some of the other Tory policy reviews, it will get backing from the leadership.

George OsborneGeorge Osborne, the shadow chancellor, was involved in drawing up the report, although we're told in terms of its presentation, not its policy ideas. But he is perhaps David Cameron's closest political friend. It's difficult to imagine him not discussing the proposals with the party's leader.

Mr Osborne and Mr Redwood also say if they had to withdraw from some EU agreements to achieve these reforms they would. No doubt these ideas are of the right, and somewhat Eurosceptic. Many Conservative activists will delight in these ideas. These are policy proposals for the party to get its teeth into.

So why do the Labour party look so pleased about it?

Well, government ministers have already seized on the report as evidence that the Conservatives are swerving to the right and abandoning the centre ground where the Tories are arguably most dangerous to them. John Hutton, cabinet minister, said following this route would lead the Tories to 'oblivion'.

Now as I understand it No 10 was delighted when David Cameron mentioned the subject of Europe at Prime Minister's Questions a few weeks ago. And I sense the same sentiment in evidence here.

Why? Well it gives them ammunition to make an easy, although some might say predictable, attack. Conservatives talk about tax and Europe, Labour says they're the 'same old Tories'.

They say it shows David Cameron, after a difficult few weeks, has given in to the party's old guard and retreated to familiar conservative territory.

Yet this report has been a long time coming. I'm told it's a detailed and extensive piece of work, certainly not a rush job cobbled together to shore up support for the party leadership after a rough few weeks. They may well strike a chord with many voters.

But the proposals give Labour plenty of ammunition for an attack. The TUC's concerns also allow them to present the plans as a challenge to employees' rights. The report will be published in full on Friday. And the parties are warming up for a fight.

Comments

  • 1.
  • At 09:24 AM on 13 Aug 2007,
  • Charles E Hardwidge wrote:

David Cameron does seem to be coming under pressure from donors and his own people but their desires and habits are just so much wind. While the threat of donor hand-wringing and steel jawed policy wonks is casting a shadow the vision of ideologues laughing while workers lose their arms and they line their own pockets will bring them down without effort. This initiative isn't a credible or likable effort. If David Cameron remains calm and relaxed his leadership authority will only be reinforced when the Conservative Party needs help climbing out of single digit poles.

There's nothing wrong with simple, clear, and effective law. Indeed, any strategist with half a clue knows that cutting the fat, minimising confusion, and maximising scope maximises the potential for success. The problem is when people with wrong ideas and feelings are given that freedom. As with many people who visit pubs they're getting drunk to excess now the political licensing hours have been extended, they don't listen or care but a road crash and headache the morning after the night before will teach them a useful lesson. Reality tends to do that.

Policies and marketing are fine to a point but the real thing that needs changing is the ideas and inclinations of the Conservative politicians and membership. Any significant change will take three years. Perhaps, this is why Confucius said that a man can be said to exhibit filial piety if he remains true to his fathers upbringing three years after his death. Here, I'm just talking about now. What matters is follow through and that will take 8 years to carry the party and up to 20 years to bring the greater body of Conservative voters on board.

Babies stumble. This is to be expected.

  • 2.
  • At 10:20 AM on 13 Aug 2007,
  • Julie Dearnaley wrote:

As a member of a family running a small Limited Company any suggestion that things will be made easier in relation to health and safety, employment law etc. is greatly appreciated.

  • 3.
  • At 11:03 AM on 13 Aug 2007,
  • Alex Taylor wrote:

So, who among those who actually work for a living is going to vote for making it easier to be made redundant, less work safety or having companies push them to even longer working hours. And what kind of fool votes for reductions in the protection of their data??

Bye Bye tories.

  • 4.
  • At 11:07 AM on 13 Aug 2007,
  • Phil Atkinson wrote:

If tax cuts result in faster growth higher revenues to fund public services, then what's the problem?

Oh, and selling off the BBC would end the poll tax on average families at a stroke.

  • 5.
  • At 11:20 AM on 13 Aug 2007,
  • voreas06 wrote:

Labour's attack is as you say predictable, and it has only one objective and that is to silence debate. The use of soundbites like "lurch to the right" and "back on the old agenda" are a sign of a party that is hiding behind slogans and therefore does not have the decency or honesty to rationally argue why the red tape that they have created is in the public's interest. For the very obvious reason that most of it is indefensible nanny statism.

  • 6.
  • At 11:35 AM on 13 Aug 2007,
  • Peter, Fife wrote:

I note that great defender of the Wales and accomplished vocalist of the Welsh National Anthem, John Redwood has appeared from out of the mist which was created to mask the permanent divide that exists in the bipolar Conservative party.

John Redwood has tried both the Euro friendly and sceptical stances, which most commonly define the two sides of the Conservative divide, which stance he chooses to run with now is anybody's guess, but the odds have narrowed on Euro sceptical.

Twice a failed candidate in the Conservative leadership election, John Redwood has always been a nearly man never truly achieving the success that his academic performance promised; in reality John Redwood does not present a voter friendly persona, his apparent lack of ability to think on his feet means he comes over as a dithering, unsure and less than competent politician; this most commonly has resulted in him making safe statements on policy, this was incorrectly seized upon as the acts of a logical thinker, hence his associations with Mr. Spock.

Although logic does play a great part in the policies of Mr. Redwood he seems more fittingly a 'back room' operator, a strategist; the successes or failures of his toilings can only be found in the detail of his latest work, that of tackling and deregulating British business, cutting red tape.

This is clearly an attempt to win back the Conservative's self proclaimed title as 'the friends of business' although this will have to go much further than claiming and proclaiming such a title; the weakness of merely making such unsubstantiated claims was proven when David Cameron announced that the Conservatives had retaken the middle ground in British politics, a claim which is not currently reflected in the opinion polls and more importantly when half his party refused to move in from the right.

Is this Old Conservatism raising its head, only time will tell?
Is there an ulterior motive for the timescale chosen for spinning of this report?
Could this is be John Redwood and his 'supporters' thinking that this could be third time lucky?
Is David Cameron responding to internal pressure from within his party by panicking, proving he's willing to 'hug a righty' equally as much as he was prepared to 'hug a hoodie'?

It just seems strange that this Conservative relic of Thatcherism, clearly now of the right of the party, is elevated to the Conservative front line at a time when David Cameron was described an arrogant old Etonian.
Suspending a critic does not suppress the truth and causing a supporter and financial contributor to disenfranchise himself is proof if proof be needed of the turmoil that exists within the Conservative Party; such validation of those very problems can be found in the very words of that supporter and contributor "...The Tory party seems to be run now by Old Etonians and they don't seem to understand how other people live. They seem to be very arrogant like I suppose Old Etonians can be..." Tom Cowie, president of Arriva.

  • 7.
  • At 11:37 AM on 13 Aug 2007,
  • Tony, London wrote:

Is he going to help the hundreds of thousands of small businesses threatened by the revenue over IR35 and S660 and the more new laws after they lost Arctic systems ?

I doubt it. And so yet again I will work rather than vote because the polling card doesn't offer an option to say 'None of the above'.

  • 8.
  • At 11:53 AM on 13 Aug 2007,
  • Paul Baksh wrote:

Finally, the key elements of a party that I have always respected begin to edge themselves into the daylight. It was never about making the rich richer but enabling any person in this country to keep a larger proportion of what they earn and decide how they spend it themselves. By distancing themselves from a high handed Labour vision of government, which consists of knowing what's best and taking an ever increasing proportion of everyone's hard earned cash to spend on what the government sees fit, the Conservatives demonstrate that tax cuts show that they have more faith in the people themselves and their ability to spend their own money. Cuts in tax and regulations are not to be feared in themselves and the initial shrill comments from the government prove that the Conservatives may finally be onto something. Trust us to trust you might sum it up. It would be nice to have an Opposition again.

  • 9.
  • At 12:50 PM on 13 Aug 2007,
  • Stephen wrote:

Alex Taylor (#3) needs a lesson in history. Believe it or not, the UK once had a thriving private rented housing market. Over the years government interference increased to the point that no private landlord could make money from their investment, nor could they sell the property. Along comes Margaret Thatcher who relaxed the rules, and made it possible to invest in housing once more. A similar story was found in other state run / highly regulated markets.

If you wish to have the state (and that includes the EU) interfering in every aspect of life, some areas of which are better regulated by agreement between parties, then do not be surprised if we end up with an inefficient economy that no one will invest in.

At present we have a state sector that is swallowing up an increasing proportion of the wealth created within the economy. Over time this will inhibit investment and innovation in the private sector, and the squandering of tax revenues on government initiatives that simply do not work (the New Deal is just one such example).

Anyone who thinks that the latter situation is sustainable needs to consider the fact that the fastest growing economies (ie more wealth for the electorate) are those which operate less regulation and taxation that in the sclerotic EU. I would therefore suggest that rather than simply offering knee jerk comments without even having read the discussion document, Alex would do well to have an open mind and wait for the document to be published.

  • 10.
  • At 01:50 PM on 13 Aug 2007,
  • J.WESTERMAN wrote:

The report may or may not have been a long time coming. After more than 10 years of opposition it should have been well prepared and readily available from the shelf. Of course, it does not follow that it would have been published if other stratagems had worked.
The middle of the road program touted by David Cameron seems to have been rumbled, if the 10% New Labour lead is a reliable indication. It is hardly surprising if the floating voters have their doubts about a front bench of Eton schoolboys implementing such a program.


  • 11.
  • At 02:12 PM on 13 Aug 2007,
  • Ciaran wrote:

This is typical Tory rubbish, rubbish that I pray the majority of the country will be happy to reject. The only people cutting 'red tape' (or making it easier to fire people, exposing them to more risk at work, and reducing the information available to them) will be people who own businesses, while the people that work for them will obviously suffer.

This is traditional Tory class politics at its worst, and evidence that David Cameron has lost control of the presentation, as well as the policies, of his party.

Laura,

Number 10 being 'delighted' about this report when Cameron brought up the EU Referendum and PMQs just shows how out of touch they are with the country at large.

As I'm sure you'll remember the positive reaction Cameron got on the Daily Politics perception panel to his calls for a referendum and the negative one Brown got.

The TUC response that started 'If these reports are true...' was poor and Labour Ministers claiming Cameron is 'right wing' when most people think he's probably too left wing for a Tory leader was just inane.

PS: I'm still waiting for you to ask Gordon some difficult questions. Just one will do.

  • 13.
  • At 03:18 PM on 13 Aug 2007,
  • Peter, Fife wrote:

I tend to agree with Ciaran although I choose to wait for this much spun presentation from the Conservative Right Wing until I make a final judgment, at present the figures for industry do not make comfortable reading nor are they the basis of productive employment:
226 people were killed in work-related accidents in Britain in 2002/02.
There were 28,426 major injuries and 126,004 injuries causing 3 days or more absence from work, 40.2 million days were lost through workplace injuries in 2000/02. (source: Health and Safety Executive)

Deregulation for that is in effect what cutting 'red tape' will mean, will result in these figures rising; if the Conservatives are truly keen on changing the codes of the workplace will they be proposing a to incorporate a new law, that of 'Corporate Manslaughter'?

  • 14.
  • At 03:55 PM on 13 Aug 2007,
  • Sam Korn wrote:

These policies are born of the same logic that said that the introduction of the minimum wage would kill off British industry. The Conservative Party's mantra does not appear to have changed: it remains "good for business, good for Britain".

The New Labour project is one of blending economic prudence (which I believe the Tories could manage) with social justice (which they could not).

The next election should be decided by whether Labour can convince people of the second half of that sentence. I fear that it will not be fought there, but in personal attacks. Alas for the popular media!

  • 15.
  • At 04:07 PM on 13 Aug 2007,
  • Duncan wrote:

about comment 4 and voting for a party that would making you redundant more easily.

This is actually a good thing, a major barrier to firms hiring people is because they know that if you turn out to be useless they cannot get rid of you. This is why so many firms only offer fixed term contracts or use temps, both of which mean you can be got rid of fairly easily.
If a firm knew that they could take a chance on hiring you and then keep you if you're good or get rid of you if you're useless is a benifit to any worker who's good at their job but lacks the interview skills to fully sell themselves.

  • 16.
  • At 04:26 PM on 13 Aug 2007,
  • Albert wrote:

OOOOps, The Tories talk Tax and well said Laura. Now let us remind ourselves of a few facts. This idea of the so called Enterprise tax cut, had been ready since 2 years ago, and also given birth by John Redwood himself. Yes Laura, 2 years ago this idea was already on paper, but Cameron was sidelining Redwood so as not to portray a right wing Tory leadership, because he is well aware, that the majority of the British public hate those years, like I do, when friends of mine with small enterprises went bust because of three consecutive recessions!
Laura, you say that Mr Redwood, former minister from the right of the party wants to scrap some health and safety legislation, reduce the number of data protection laws and roll back regulation on the hours we work. He recommends making it easier to make staff redundant, and simplify the tax regime. Those are not, in a direct sense, tax cuts. But the report will claim repealing large chunks of legislation could save business billions. That could appeal to many voters - no one likes red tape.
Now let’s see! Europe is so much more efficient then UK, that we are still loosing manufacturing to this continent, (ICI a latest case in point), which the old Tories hate so much. This continent happens to have more regulation through EU treaties then we have in U.K. cause in most instances we have the so called Opt Outs. This incompetence is more a case of the British management going to the dogs, and that is the only reason why we cannot compete with other European countries, let alone emrging economies in the East.
The other side of the coin is the result of the so called liberisation and the disposal of the Govt. controlled entities. Now I am not in favour of nationalisation as I was brought up in a conservative environment, but look at the services that were sold off like trains, rail network, energy, post office, BMC, etc, which have all but failed not because the Govt. has no knowledge how to run these services, but because they were run by the British style Management. It is us the British, that have not been able to modernise ourselves as fast as the Europeans have. All this, while the U.K. workers have the least paid leave in the E.U.
Now for the record. During the Thatcher regime the number of small private enterprise in U.K. was only 74% of what it is today. So with all the regulations that Redwood wants to abolish, we still managed to outperform the Tory years during these last 10 years. I am talking facts and figures here and not politics.

So Laura, why did Lord Marland of Odstack was surprised that Sir Tom Cowie had withdrawn his backing for the Tory Party last week? Because Sir Tom is NOT stupid and realised, that Cameron has to go and be replaced as fast as possible before the likes of Redwood start to pour petrol on the already flaming disatrous Tory party.

Cameron is not giving in, but he is already shattered, and as an ex Tory I could smell this coming some 5 months ago. Have a nice evening Laura.

  • 17.
  • At 04:33 PM on 13 Aug 2007,
  • Paul H wrote:

Those whose comment is a knee-jerk anti-Tory reaction obviously never have to try and work within some of the beaurocratic morass that Redwood is trying to clear up. From personal experience, the implementation of Health and Safety legislation in particular has become something of a nightmare in recent years. It is now very little to do with protecting employees and a lot to do with providing pointless jobs for a army of government busy-bodies with check sheets and very little intelligence.

However, I do agree with Peter, Fife about bringing in "Corporate Manslaugher" as an alternative to health & safety legislation. That would at least get the idiots with clipboards out of our lives and back digging up potatos where they belong.

  • 18.
  • At 06:01 PM on 13 Aug 2007,
  • Effie wrote:

I was a very young woman the first time I ever heard a politician utter the words
that "they wished to ease the burden of red tape on business and cut waste".
That was back in the days of Harold McMillan, I think I have heard the same said every few years ever since from both Conservative and Labour politicians.
It has been tinkered with at the edges, what I have never seen is it actually being carried out and brought to fruition or any meagre satisfactory conclusion,it just does not happen.
Many years ago whilst listening to and viewing the annual Conservative Party Conference Speech by Michael Heseltine, he pulled paper from a toilet roll out for the benefit of the gullible, telling all those half asleep Tory faithful who listened and hung onto every word he spurted that every sheet represented a rule or regulation he was going to change.
They got back into government, no changes took place, I think the only thing he did with the toilet roll was......
In John Redwoods case,the report which he has so painstakingly worked on will at least have the dignity of being used as next days "Fish and Chip wrapping.
Cameron will never have the bottle to adopt all of this, he is far too behind in the polls, he would be accused of flip-flopping AGAIN!
This is just a sop to appease his right wing and to keep them quiet for a while. I would bet good money this lot will never see the light of day in it's present form.

  • 19.
  • At 06:57 PM on 13 Aug 2007,
  • Adam wrote:

As a small business owner, anything that reduces needless red tape for businesses gets a big thumbs up from me. For example, my business is based in a small office with small numbers of well behaved people and nothing that's likely to catch fire, and yet we have to work to the same fire safety legislation as, say, a fireworks factory. That can't be right.

But their proposal to weaken data protection legislation is just daft. One of the scourges of doing business in the 21st century is spam email. Sure, most of it originates from outside the UK, but a significant proportion comes from within the UK. It is currently just about illegal under data protection law, although the law is so weak that it's very hard to get a conviction. This is an area that needs to be seriously tightened up.

And BTW, was I the only person who laughed out loud at the idea of "New Labour" accusing another political party of lurching to the right?

  • 20.
  • At 07:24 PM on 13 Aug 2007,
  • Josh wrote:

Irrelevant of what exactly this "policy review" is supposed to entail; why on earth is the "modern", "compassionate" Conservative party turning to the arch right wing MP John Redwood? A Thatcherite Eurosceptic of the bleak days of Tory mis-rule; is this really the kind of display David Cameron wishes to put forward? On top of that do the Conservatives really believe that they can succeed Labour as the party of government by talking about what the economy needs best? Oh, wait I forgot.......the Tories do have a particular expertise when it comes to managing the economy.

  • 21.
  • At 10:53 PM on 13 Aug 2007,
  • Charles E Hardwidge wrote:

Stephen (#9), insecurity of tenure and high prices were a hallmark of earlier times. Regulation helped raise quality of accommodation, stability, and affordability. Selling off council property and the rise of buy to let has just fuelled hardship and a property casino. Social and industrial regulation has created a lot of regression in many areas and tax has hardly budged. Poorly balanced competition and cost cutting has hollowed out Britain.

After a generation of cutting benefits and reducing opportunity, the New Deal was a breath of fresh air. The problem wasn't a lack of people willing to work or a bad initiative, it was lack of a creative and forward thinking attitude in business. People like certainty and avoid risk. That's what the psychology and anecdotal evidence says. The problem isn't people, money, or regulation. The problem is habit and attitude.

I go on about "no-mind" and "invest in loss" because it works. Keeping a clear head and not worrying about shifting tides are key leadership qualities. It doesn't matter whether you're a blue chip CEO or a loser in the ghetto as the approach is universally successful and can add up to 10% to the bottom line for free. Then there's individuals and communities gagging for employment who are also future markets. It's counter-productive to ignore this.

Peter (#6), as you rightly identify, John Redwood is clever but not very smart. He can slice and dice policy but has no sense of context. The practical and social consequences seem to escape him. This makes him a very narrow and brittle strategist. It's quite useless. If he spent some time in the real world with real people this could change but it would be hard and not very pleasant. Perhaps he could scrub floors and live on a sink estate for 3 months?

I'm a really big fan of the Japanese business model. For instance, it's more possible to demote or redeploy people within the hierarchy, the bottom layer is trained to a standard where it can replace the layer up at the drop of a hat, and a high degree of loyalty encourages solidarity and investment in growth opportunities. Also, the relative classlessness of their society means a prince can marry a commoner, and the unity helps keep things glued together.

Nissan's Sunderland plant is an excellent example of how sound method and attitude can produce high quality output, good working relations, and a successful business. When given proper training and work opportunities British people can deliver on the ground. One key part of the Japanese approach I like is that if a worker has a problem the boss visits the worker. The reason is twofold. First, taking the worker away from the production line hurts the business. Secondly, it reminds the boss that he owes his existence to a subordinate.

  • 22.
  • At 07:56 AM on 14 Aug 2007,
  • ArthurWaik wrote:

Aha! Those nasty Tories are back to cutting taxes on business again - just as we suspected, same old Tories, same old agenda.

Of course when Gordon Brown cut business tax in his last budget as Chancellor he was rightly supporting British business which is completely different!

Ho Hum...

  • 23.
  • At 03:19 PM on 14 Aug 2007,
  • Jools wrote:

In response to Duncan (Post 15): It is possible to take on an employee on a probationary period, and simply let them go at the end of this period if things don't work out. Redundancy rules don't kick in until an employee has two years of continuous service. In fact, for under six months' service there are only a very small number of specific circumstances (e.g. whistleblowing on illegal activity) where a terminated employee can even appeal through tribunal if they feel they've been sacked unfairly. So it is absolutely feasible for an employer to 'try out' a new employee for three months, and it is common for employment contracts reflect this.

  • 24.
  • At 05:10 PM on 14 Aug 2007,
  • Bill Rees wrote:

My bet is Cameron will go along with this report hoping it might improve his ratings with his party faithfull.On the downside he will have great difficulty in spinning his way out of admitting he has done another U Turn supporting a policy document that is right wing and away from his green PR stunts.Redwoods idea of building more roads and airports and scrapping enviroment protection laws does not fit in with the spin and hype Camerons being spouting over the last six months.Cameron will show the public that he is a Lite Weight when decisions have to be made,he just goes with the flow.

  • 25.
  • At 08:57 PM on 14 Aug 2007,
  • Terry wrote:

The trouble for the opposition is that whatever they say, they will be slated for it. Decrease taxes: think of all those who will be disadvantaged. Eliminate laws: think of all those who will be disadvantaged. Increase taxes: think of all those who will be disadvantaged. There needs to be an honest debate, and leave out the hysterical nonsense. And in any event, doesn't history show that in those things that actually work, don't the Tories lead and Labour eventually follows (after thinking about it for a decade or so)?

  • 26.
  • At 11:39 AM on 15 Aug 2007,
  • Rich wrote:

So under the Tories I can expect to be forced to work a 55 hour week, and if I refuse I can be fired without any legal recourse.

So, basically, it's another move in favour of the fat cats and another kick in the teeth for those who actually do the work?

  • 27.
  • At 07:35 PM on 15 Aug 2007,
  • Richard wrote:

I find Stephen's comments about the state of the property market unfathomable. The explosion of buy-to-let and the deregulation of mortgages has and a massively detrimental effect of the working people of this country. House prices would have gone up, but the effects of private landlords and 5X salary mortgages have pushed them even further out of reach of people.
Bring back council housing, end buy-to-let and mortgages of my than 3.5X salary.
If this is what a 'business friendly' economy does to working people then I have to question the benefits.
Still, the fat cats will still cream off the profits.

The Working Time Directive protects me from exploitation. If this country comes out of it altogether, then I'd have to consider emigrating. The CBI would have us worked into the ground if they had their way.

  • 28.
  • At 09:00 AM on 16 Aug 2007,
  • Albert wrote:

The trouble for the opposition is that whatever they say, they will be slated for it. Decrease taxes: think of all those who will be disadvantaged. Eliminate laws: think of all those who will be disadvantaged. Increase taxes: think of all those who will be disadvantaged. There needs to be an honest debate, and leave out the hysterical nonsense. And in any event, doesn't history show that in those things that actually work, don't the Tories lead and Labour eventually follows (after thinking about it for a decade or so)?

Dear Terry hear are the answers to your questions:
1) Decrease tax you say! Remember all the biblical CUTS in public services under the Tories?
2) Eliminate Laws you say! Remember that while all the world had it, we did not even have a minimum wage under the Tories? And no access to Govt. Info.?
3) Increase Taxes you say! Now this one is the iceing on the cake. Remember when in 1980, VAT was just under 8% and then Maggie shot it up to 17.5%? It is still 17.5%, and that's after 10 years of Labour!
4) May I also remind you of three biblical recessions when we also had our grandparents dying of hypothermia because of Tories CUTS!
Now do you recall why no one is believing the opposition? Admit the past sins and then we may start to have a public debate. Oh and another thing, the Tories have always voted against all that Labour did in these last 10 years, including the latest 2% CUT in income tax!

  • 29.
  • At 01:39 PM on 16 Aug 2007,
  • Stephen wrote:

I find it odd that contributors cannot read what is written and rather than address the points made they seek to import their own bias.

Richard attributes my remarks as applying to the state of the current 'property market'. In fact I was referring to the debilitating effect that over regulation had upon the operation of the private rented sector over a prolonged period in the last century. By definition, those who needed to be mobile for work purposes would have found it very hard to find private rented accommodation since there was a small and declining number of properties under that system, while council housing required you to wait on housing lists.

If we then look at the market in its broader sense to-day, I agree that it is characterised by high prices, squeezing those on lower incomes. This problem emerges as much from the stringencies of the planning system as the sell-off of social housing. Perhaps Richard would also like to consider the extent to which the problems he refers to would in any sense be removed if the planning system were to be streamlined and the volume of new houses were able to respond in line with rising demand? On the other hand, perhaps he is wedded to 'nanny knows best'?

  • 30.
  • At 01:40 PM on 16 Aug 2007,
  • Stephen wrote:

In response to Albert, are you the only person in the UK that believes the changes in income tax to be implemented next year amount to a cut? Did you forget that Gordon is abolishing the 10% rate?

Did you know that those on low incomes in the public sector have just concluded a pay settlement over the next 3 years which for some amount to a less than 1% rise each year? Did you also know that by magic the inflation rate has fallen just before the point when index linked pensions come up for review? Oh yes, kind and benificent Gordon. I hate to think what he would do if he turned nasty.

  • 31.
  • At 03:32 PM on 16 Aug 2007,
  • Charles E Hardwidge wrote:

Stephen, a significant portion of the new jobs created have been in the public sector. While some people may have less as income in work they have jobs not welfare. By this calculation they're much better off. The tax picture is muddy but some simplification and closing of loopholes was necessary. In the longer term delicate management of property prices and incomes would make the overall picture more equitable and stable. Were we are, today, is merely a stepping stone.

  • 32.
  • At 06:09 PM on 16 Aug 2007,
  • Albert wrote:

In response to Albert, are you the only person in the UK that believes the changes in income tax to be implemented next year amount to a cut? Did you forget that Gordon is abolishing the 10% rate?
Did you know that those on low incomes in the public sector have just concluded a pay settlement over the next 3 years which for some amount to a less than 1% rise each year? Did you also know that by magic the inflation rate has fallen just before the point when index linked pensions come up for review? Oh yes, kind and benificent Gordon. I hate to think what he would do if he turned nasty.
Stephen, did you forget that under the Tories it was only the top 10% of the workers that gained from tax cuts? Stephen, where did you get the figure of 1% pay rise for the poor? Do you not know that the few that have to pay 20% instead of 10% can claim that back through tax credit? Do you know that the inflation figures are published by the Bank of England (WHICH IS NOW INDEPENDENT)? I wonder if you could advise Cameron (ooops, sorry Redwood), so that next time he comes up with a bodged up policy, like the latest deregulation, (tax cut "sic"), you might give Cameron a help in hand to come up with some numbers, not just highfaluting statements with no substance except to keep the right wingers quiet!

  • 33.
  • At 09:05 AM on 17 Aug 2007,
  • David de Winton wrote:

I have to agree with Duncan regarding employment regulations. One of the reasons that employers in France have problems employing people is that it is very difficult to dismiss them if they are not up to the mark. If we make workers unsackable here, we will lose any competitive edge that we might have. Surely if employees were competent and had the ability to do the job they were employed for, there would be no fear of dismissal. It is only those that are not up to the job who have anything to fear, and they should not be employed in that role anyway.

Secondly, the Tories must be bold and not continually pander to what the Government think. Abolishing IHT is a long overdue move. Afterall, John Major pledged to abolish IHT in the 1990s. IHT tends to hit the middle classes the most, a part of the electorate that the Tories desparately need on board. Go for it.

  • 34.
  • At 10:23 AM on 17 Aug 2007,
  • Albert wrote:

Hi Laura, The Tories are talking tax again. Do say something before they start accusing you of being biased.
As an ex tory, I would be very much interested as to what they have to offer. I did say that once Redwood is at the helm of things he would start at the old policies again!
Have a nice day Laura.

  • 35.
  • At 01:59 PM on 17 Aug 2007,
  • Rob Jones wrote:

What we need is an increase in inheritance tax. It should be taxed like other forms of income .. the whole amount, and in the highest tax bracket.

If I do work for a rich pensioner, I have to pay tax even though that pensioner has already paid tax on his/her income in the first place .... that's simply because money is circulating in the economy all the time. So I feel that those who argue that no inheritence tax should be paid, stating that the money has already been taxed, are introducing red herrings into what should be a crystal clear situation ... TAX ALL INCOME, FROM WHATEVER SOURCE, EQUALLY

  • 36.
  • At 06:50 PM on 17 Aug 2007,
  • Quietzapple wrote:

Geo Osbourne has already moved to distance the official Tory Party from the Vulcan version Redwood favours.

One of the key inventions of this White Knight of the conservatives is rubber tyres for trains which are wholy unsuited in their stopping patterns.

Most attention wil be concentrated on his propsal to abolish Death Duties. Every ghoul and his mother will support this, of course.

The British way of death is much the same as that of dragons; the gold is not even relinquished in extremis.

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