David Cameron has today revealed that the Conservative Party’s main plan for the election in May will be on a tax cutting platform.
Telling delegates that he would “build a Britain that everyone is proud to call home”, the Prime Minister vowed to raise the income tax allowance from £10,500 to £12,500, and that there would be an increase in the threshold at which the 40p tax threshold kicks in from £41,900 to £50.000.
This pledge would appear to be of benefit to those who Cameron himself calls “hard-working households” and would help close to “30 million people across the UK”, however expert analysis states differently. These experts have predicted that this tax giveaway would in fact help the rich much more than it would help the poor and certainly would not help “the squeezed middle”. The figures attached with this proposal also suggests that this giveaway would cost £7 billion a year by 2020, which suggests there would be yet further cuts and would demand an enormous increase in economic growth.
However, former Treasury official James Dowling, now director at FleishmanHillard, has stated that far fewer people would “actually feel the fruits” of the planned tax cuts as they would not come in to effect until after the deficit is cleared in 2018.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies, showed in their budget publication this year, that just 15% of the gains would benefit the poorest half of Britons, concluding: “There are better ways to help the low paid via the tax and benefit system.” This is also supported by Tom Papworth, who is the associate director of economic policy at the liberal think-tank CentreForum and has stated “Raising the threshold for the 40p rate cuts taxes for the richest people outside the top 10% of earners. It does nothing for middle earners.”
Cameron, during the rather dense speech, also fought back against Labour claims over the Conservative party attempts to privatise the NHS. In a highly emotional section of the speech Cameron gave his personal commitment to the NHS after it helped to treat his severely disabled son, Ivan, who died in 2009. The prime minister’s wife, Samantha, was seen to be in tears as he said of the Labour party: “How dare they frighten those who are relying on the NHS right now?”
Continuing along the same path Cameron stated “For me, this is personal. I am someone who has relied on the NHS, whose family knows more than most how important it is, who knows what it’s like to go to hospital night after night with a child in your arms knowing that when you get there, you have people who will care for that child and love that child like their own. How dare they suggest I would ever put that at risk for other people’s children? It might be the only thing that gets a cheer at their party conference but it is frankly pathetic.”
Controversially however the prime minister, in response to UKIP, stated “at long last, with a Conservative government after the next election, this country will have a new British bill of rights to be passed in our parliament rooted in our values. And as for Labour’s Human Rights Act? We will scrap it, once and for all.”
The fact that Cameron stated he would scrap the Human Rights Act will no doubt cause uproar in the coming days. Without a clear and concise British Bill of Rights how is he to counter the idea he would rail against human rights? At least that is how he will be portrayed. The fact remains it would be political suicide to say this without an underlying plan which has yet to be rolled out to the general public.
To finish his speech Cameron addressed the nation rather than the conference “So Britain: what’s it going to be? I say: let’s not go back to square one. Let’s finish what we have begun. Let’s build a Britain we are proud to call home – for you, for your family, for everyone.”
In summary David Cameron has had to play a lot of defence today at the party conference. He, and the Conservative party, have been lambasted in recent weeks with defecting party members, almost breaking up the union and a failure to address the issues most close to British hearts. This speech has allowed Cameron to remind the public of his commitments and ideals. The problem appears to be the policy more than the man. Tax cuts for the rich and scrapping of the Human Rights Act is not going to play well as a party line. The man David Cameron may be the best man to lead the country but are the Conservatives the party we want to lead the country? We will find out in the coming months and we will know for sure in 8 months’ time.