Conservatives and living standards


                  Conservatives believe in tax cuts for all, and decent benefits for those who cannot work for their living.

                 One of the worst lies put round by critics is that Conservatives want to do down the workers. On the contrary. Most of us came into politics to help more people succeed, to get on in the world, to enjoy a higher standard of living. Far from wanting Labour’s mantra of “tax cuts for the rich, benefit cuts for the poor”, Conservatives want jobs for the unemployed, and better paid jobs for the employed. We want lower taxes for the many. We want to raise more tax revenue from the rich by setting rates that makes them stay and pay.

                     I am glad the Conservative leadership has in public accepted  that living standards fell too far under Labour from 2007 and have continued to fall at a slower pace since 2010. They have agreed that reversing the fall in living standards is an important next task, now that good progress has been made with creating many more private sector jobs, and with reversing the big fall in output in 2008-9.

                            So how can it be achieved? For those who have moved from benefits to work there is a rise in living standards as a result. We need to help more make that journey. That requires Income tax cuts, benefit reform, help with training and skills, and more progress with general economic recovery.

                             Many have benefitted from the large increase in the tax threshold, introduced by a Conservative Chancellor with the vocal support of the Lib Dems. More could be done by way of cutting Income Tax, to leave people with more of their own money to spend.

                             Price rises have been too fast over the last five years. In particular energy prices have risen, partly owing to fuel duties and to the cost of renewables. Those elements of fuel cost which are government imposed need to be reduced further. This government has cancelled Labour’s planned rises in Fuel Duty. It needs to overcome Lib Dem objections to shifting energy policy towards more cheaper energy generally.

                             The costs of doing business have been driven up by government fees, charges and regulation. Another attack upon the way government interferes and complicates too many things would be welcome. Mr Pickles is leading his own crusade to try to cut some of the costs government,especially local government, imposes on motorists.

                           Over the next few months expect to see a number of measures to make improvements to the cost of living. Expect also to hear more of tax reductions as the next phase to make it more worthwhile to work. Getting living standards up is an agreed aim  of all political parties.


  1. lifelogic
    September 29, 2013

    You expect to hear more of tax reductions? I assume these will, like the new Married Allowance, last for three weeks until Labour take office? Or be more promises to rat on in the unlikely event of a victory for the Tories like IHT – will that be promised again be the ratters?

    Three hundred tax increases is it not so far?

    You say “the costs of doing business have been driven up by government fees, charges and regulation” it certainly has been. Over 80% of my time is diverted from productive activities to deal with absurdly complex tax laws, building regulations, daft employment laws, planning absurdities and countless other distractions. I could be up to five times more efficient without these. Many of my staff are in the same position too and the cost of the advisers I have to employ to keep up with this largely nonsensical regulation.

    So what do we get from Cameron, more or the same, he even thinks, with his neutral gender insurance and annuity rules he can play God.

    1. lifelogic
      September 29, 2013

      Still some good news, Boris Johnson threatens to block HS2 without more changes, another nail in the coffin for this absurd cash down the drain project.

      Just cancel in now, stop the waste now and release all the blight and uncertainty from thousands of people and properties.

      1. Mike Stallard
        September 29, 2013

        Sorry, no can do. It is part of DG Move’s scheme for an integrated transport system which will unite our country – Europe!

        1. APL
          September 29, 2013

          Mike Stallard: ” which will unite our country.”

          Illustrating as it does the utter uselessness of centrally planned command economies.

          HS2 could have utilized the next generation of maglev transport. But no, the anonymous bureaucrats insisted on two hundred year old technology instead.

          Not to mention, it is a useless duplication ( at tax payers expense ) of the existing, very effective and relatively cheap air transport system that was built by private initiative.

          1. Hope
            September 29, 2013

            Cameron is dead set on it, his EU masters demand it. Labour started this and Cameron continues, what difference is there between him and Miliband- at least Miliband has his own ideas and it is Cameron who continues to follow his lead whether it is energy, EU or HS2.

          2. peter davies
            October 2, 2013

            there seems to be more spinning on capacity rather than speed due to the fast it only shaves 20 min to birmingham.

            That being the case, why not introduce double decker trains and adapt bridges wiring etc to comply?

            Surely quicker and cheaper than pissing £50BN up the wall

      2. Richard1
        September 30, 2013

        I think HS2 is a big political danger. It has now been admitted by Lord Mandelson that this project was dreamt up on the back of an envelope as a political stunt to catch out the Tories (they ‘had’ to to agree it – like the 50p tax rate). Labour now look set to abandon it and will then claim they have found an extra £50bn to spend elsewhere. I suspect Labour are just waiting for the right political time to announce this. Cameron needs a face saving way out – a suggestion would be to get one of those enormous green quangos to ‘prove’ that HS2 will generate more CO2 than it will save, so we cant build it as it wouldn’t be green.

        1. lifelogic
          September 30, 2013

          Clearly it HS2 is not green at all. High speed trains (especially) and trains in general rarely are. The physics/engineering is just against them and they need a special & very expensive track and staff. Nature (and the laws of physics) will not be fooled by stupid politician and the green religion. They are also very vulnerable to vandals and terrorists.

          But greens work on the basis that trains, bikes, walking & buses are good. Car, trucks, vans and planes are always bad. Logic and engineering have no effect on the green thinking process at all. It is just a religion and the politics of envy.

    2. lifelogic
      September 29, 2013

      “One of the worst lies put round by critics is that Conservatives want to do down the workers”

      Well they certainly seem to think private sector workers should have to pay taxes so that state sector worker get paid and pensioned of 50% more than the worker bees who fund these (who often have no pension at all). They have not even set a decent example by sensible changes to the hugely generous MPs pensions. Other than minor tinkering at the edges.

      Reply MP pension scheme contribution rates have been raised. This year an MP contributes 13.75% of the gross £66,396 salary, or £9129 to the pension fund. The taxable salary is £57 266 after pension contribution.

      1. lifelogic
        September 29, 2013

        Raised to about 20% of the value they will actually receive, what sort of pathetic leadership and example are they setting for firemen, teachers and similar?

        Whereas in the private sector contribution limits and pot caps have considerably been lowered and for people using 100% of their own money. Not only that but annuity rates have been artificially lowered and you are also heavily restricted on investments within the fund and severely taxed within the fund too.

        Still they say we are all in it together they say – unless you work for the 150% over paid/pensioned and bloated state sector that is.

        1. Bazman
          September 29, 2013

          Like as a cleaner or hospital porter? Could you tell us why they are overpaid and with large pensions?
          I am still waiting for your ‘logic on how we can be a third world Greater Switzerland?

          1. lifelogic
            September 29, 2013

            “Why they are over paid and with large pensions” – Well it is just a fact – governments have clearly decided that that private sector worker are second class citizens and deserve only 2/3 of a remuneration package. This even though they take fewer sick days, work longer hours, retire later and work in less dangerous and more pleasant and easy jobs in the main too.

          2. lifelogic
            September 29, 2013

            Who on earth wants to be a “third world” Greater Switzerland. We could be like Switzerland but richer, better run, less mountainous and with sea ports.

            We just need good governance, as we provided for Hong Kong for many years. It is simple, law and order and defence not much else is needed and keep government below 20% of GDP. Fire the 50%+ who do little but inconvenience the productive.

          3. Bazman
            September 29, 2013

            And then recruit then via agencies at even more expense after paying them off. 50%? The private sector could never fill the gap in any modern society. The Ritz argument. The problem is that the working poor will never accept your elitist fantasies in this large and diverse country. (word left out ed) middle aged white men with no children and large incomes are not an oppressed minority as you would have us believe. The private sector in many cases are underpaid as large companies with large profits do not want to share these profits with those who create the wealth and you could not create a Greater Switzerland without the middle class safety net and attitudes they have which you would say are bad for profits and incentives. Desperation is not an incentive. Quite the opposite …..

          4. libertarian
            September 29, 2013

            Dear Bazman

            Why continue to spout your drivel about workers. You know nothing about the employment market. You are incapable of checking even basic facts hence almost everything you spout is easily verifiable and turns out to be wrong.

            The Private sector does NOT employ underpaid workers.

            You keep on about minimum wage workers who are unskilled. This group of people fill less than 5% of the job market. The other 95% are well paid. The average wage in the UK is £26,500.

            You also don’t have a clue about profit ( which happens to be a major source of revenue for the government ).

            You see my intellectually challenged little friend wages, bonuses, dividends and performance bonuses are paid BEFORE profit. Profit is what is left AFTER all the workers have been paid.

            You are also completely deluded about large companies ownership. Who do you think are the owners of UK PLC’s who retain their after tax profits? A large % of shares are owned by Pension funds, insurance companies and the employees. So in fact the workers are the owners and DO get a share of the profits.

            I’ve told you this a few times now, but you continue to spout your incoherent rhetoric as if just by saying it makes it true.

          5. Anonymous
            September 29, 2013

            Bazman – A state employed cleaner or porter is likely to be better off than a privately employed one.

          6. Max Dunbar
            September 29, 2013

            For many of the apprentice joiners on my college course some 35 years ago, the greatest ambition was to get a job with the Council. The other ambition which was actively encouraged at the college, before the apprentice’s time was out even, was to get off the tools and get a collar and tie round your neck.
            A job with the Council meant security, cushy working regime, good pay and a great pension – for life.

          7. Bazman
            October 1, 2013

            In that case libertarian if wages are not paid out of profits and many companies fail to pay the correct tolls via the tax system for use of infrastructure and education we could make the minimum wage for large companies at fifteen quid a hour! 26 k average wage is an average and averages are pushed up by large numbers. How many shop workers and cleaners are there and how many make 26k a year? How many have to have their incomes subsidised by the state to bring them up to liveable levels via the tax credit and benefits system?More apologist trickle down fantasy.

    3. lifelogic
      September 29, 2013

      Cameron was on Marr this morning (in a typically rather pathetically, gentle, lefty, interview while missing all the main issues).

      Unbelievably he said something like:- he had a mountain to climb at the last election! What complete rot (some bigoted woman save the World) Gordon Brown was a complete sitting duck. Cameron actually just threw it away with his cast iron ratting, his gift to Clegg of equal TV billing and his pushing fake green AGW, over expensive energy tosh and his version of soft “modernising” tax borrow and waste socialism.

      Slurring UKIP members as ‘A Bunch Of Fruitcakes, Loonies And Closet Racists’, stating his Heart and Soul are in the EU and ratting on IHT is not likely to help with the next one either. Especially as UKIP are likely to have a larger vote than the Tories in the MEP elections in May 14.

      So what on earth is he going to do to increase his odds of an overall majority from circa 1 in 5? Nothing it seems.

      1. zorro
        September 29, 2013

        He seems to think stoking another credit/fake unsustainable property boom will increase his chances I fear…..but hey he’s only going to underwrite these mortgages with taxpayer money. What a load of old Fannie Mae!


        1. Anonymous
          September 29, 2013

          As with council house sales – this trick can only work once. Thereafter another generation of people will be locked out of an over-inflated housing market.

        2. zorro
          September 29, 2013

          More gems of wisdom from Cast Elastic I see…..apparently the Bank of England has ‘been given the tools to report on these things and stop bubbles occurring’……Doubtless, if we get 12+% pa increase in the next two years they will raise interest rates before the election to cool it down. He really does take people for idiots! There will be no checks on applicants for this as it is state backed, and probably nothing to stop non British taking full advantage of these taxpayer loans……



      2. Hope
        September 29, 2013

        As you say he used pathetic weasel worded answers, particularly on the EU. He is not fit to run a whelk stall let be PM. Major would be pleased with him. Goodbye Tories.

      3. zorro
        September 29, 2013

        I have been reading the tea leaves…..I can feel a Heathite/Barberite boom coming…..

        I wonder who will say these words this time….”Every member of the cabinet is compromised for a generation and not one of them should have the effrontery to offer himself for re-election.”…. 🙁

        Cameron sealed it by saying the following…

        ‘The prime minister urged people to “trust” the Bank of England’….Indeed, when have they ever failed us….?…..I’m going outside, I may be some time.


        1. zorro
          September 29, 2013

          Barber….Major……Cameron…….same old same old……


          1. JoeSoap
            September 29, 2013

            Barber was naïve
            Major lacked cojones and anyway the intelligence to use them effectively, but even he got lucky on the economy
            Cameron schemes and wriggles disingenuously……

        2. JoeSoap
          September 29, 2013

          Disingenuous or what?
          I clearly recall Mervyn King, as Governer of the BOE, saying that Help to Gazump was in danger of creating a bubble. Now we have Cameron saying that the BOE (without mentioning that the present Governor has hardly placed his well-heeled feet under the table) sees no problem with the Scheme. It is this pure weaselling of words that people dislike. Of course, Cameron could technically wriggle out of a referendum promise and out of the (present) BOE (Governor) saying that the scheme was risky. But it is just a cover for what he wants to do anyway.

    4. Bazman
      September 29, 2013

      Which employment laws are daft specifically are preventing more employment and why do you keep writing this this when you cannot answer? Is it blind ‘think’ or just propaganda? We have and I’ll tell you again, agencies, short term contracts, zero hour contracts with clauses stopping the contractor from working for other companies, self employed in various forms and of course the normal job which gives almost no rights for the first three months and little else for further two years. As you cannot answer I presume you want no employment rights and the ability to fire for any reason such as complaining about safety and getting pregnant? Back to the days where the men stood outside the shipyards and mines waiting for a brass tally to get work?. Why should anyone want to work for in these conditions for no minimum wage? More RWC and fantasy from the Rigsby school of economics.

      1. JoeSoap
        September 29, 2013

        I think you should look a self-employed painter/decorator, chippy or plumber in the face and recite this bilge to them.
        They don’t have these rights, rights, rights, do they? Will you give your plumber sick pay when he calls you because he’s feeling a bit down that day and can’t mend your leaking pipe?
        Try it, anyway, and come away with one eye darker than the other.
        Ram your rights, brother !

        1. Bazman
          September 30, 2013

          This is my point. How can a self employed person be restricted by absurd employment rights. Lidohiv wants no rights whatsoever for any working person.

      2. libertarian
        September 29, 2013

        More drivel Bazman

        Employment agencies pay holiday pay, sick pay and all other benefits of permanent employment.

        Short term contracts have been in existence for more than 100 years. They are needed and wanted by students, full time parents, older people and many others WHO CHOOSE to have ad hoc work to earn a small amount of extra money.

        No one is forced to work on a short term or part time contract. There is plenty of well paid, full time permanent jobs on offer to anyone who wants to bother to look for them.

        Complete clap trap workers have full rights whilst at work no matter what type of contract, hours or basis they are at work. The only thing that is time limited is the ability to go to a tribunal for unfair dismissal .

        IR35 caused the closure of 300,000 micro businesses. The minimum wage is the WORST thing that happened to low paid workers trapping them in a non market fixed wage.

        You are a typical left wing whinger who knows nothing about the real jobs market and uses made up examples to try to score political points. Sadly for you in this day and age one google proves you wrong every time

        1. Bazman
          October 1, 2013

          So why do you want less employment rights? This is my point. Do tell us what this will achieve and where these rights are dragging companies down? Employment agencies on the whole exist to circumvent employment laws. You need to read my post again. Getting angry about rights is what you are doing!

    5. Hope
      September 29, 2013

      JR has told us repeatedly how we have had the tax rises but no significant cuts. Certainly no 80/20 split promised by Osborne the strategist. Indeed if it were the case perhaps Osborne could achieve his promise of balancing the structural deficit by 2015, that is way out of the ball park. Why does Cameron think we will believe him based on his record? As for his leading policy one gay marriage, he had no mandate whatsoever, why should we not expect the same if he got in, no thanks.

      Lord Ashcroft made it clear that Cameron failed to tell the electorate what he stood for at the last GE, he could not beat the most loathed PM in living memory. Tory supporters do not like what they see and are moving to UKIP in their droves halving the Tory membership and his response- call them derogatory names. He still does not accept his failings.

  2. MickC
    September 29, 2013

    What you have set out is YOUR manifesto.

    It is not seen as the Conservative manifesto.

    1. lifelogic
      September 29, 2013

      The Conservative manifesto is irrelevant, unless there is some huge, unforeseen sea change in Cameron’s Brain. They have only about a 20% chance of being returned to office with a majority. A coalition with LibDems is highly unlikely, they will surely go with Labour – their batty membership would not allow anything else.

    2. Mark B
      September 29, 2013

      Yes, but thing about manifesto’s is that they are not binding, so can be ignored.

      And ignored they are.

  3. Mike Stallard
    September 29, 2013

    From Labour List today:
    “Labour’s current narrative isn’t working. And the reason is because it isn’t resonating with what ordinary people are thinking.”

    I wonder if the same can be said about the Conservatives?

    Immigration: our country doesn’t feel like our country any more. But we are not allowed to talk about it – are we.
    We are taxed until the pips squeak so that the politicians of all hues can pretend to “cure” our ills by handing us unwanted freebies.
    Our nation which once straddled the globe is now a defenceless and obedient slave of a very small number (several thousand) unelected bureaucrats who are determined on more power for themselves at our expense.

    But – hey! Shut up!

    1. lifelogic
      September 29, 2013

      Well it is working quite well for Labour though little thanks to Miliband all due to Cameron’s idiocy I suppose.

      The betting odds suggest they have nearly an 80% chance of being the largest party in 2015 and why not? It will not be that much worse than Cameron, rather less warmongering. Also they will cancel HS2 and give the Tories a chance to turn away from Cameron’s disastrous pro EU, fake green, say one thing do the opposite, two faced socialism.

      1. Mark B
        September 29, 2013

        They will not cancel HS2. Remember, they are the ones who started it in the first place. They said they will look at it. They will of course. And nothing will change since once they are in power they are free to give the middle finger to the electorate as they always do.

        1. lifelogic
          September 29, 2013

          We shall see but I hope you are wrong it is clearly almost as absurd as wind farm and photo-voltaic subsidies.

    2. Tad Davison
      September 29, 2013

      Good point Mike. I said on the radio last night that after the war, we hadn’t got enough people to fill the jobs, so needed others from abroad to come and fill them. Now, we have people coming from abroad for a limited number of jobs, so we no longer need the influx, but still they come, yet none of the three Westminster parties have the bottle to deal with the problem decisively. And that is best done by totally rejecting the EU policies that Labour signed us up to.

      And integration when they get here is another issue. Lord Tebbitt said that maybe immigrants should pass ‘the cricket test’ to show their allegiance to this country. Unfortunately, there are (some? ed) who wish not to integrate and share our values of freedom and liberty (etc ed).

      On tax, I think it might have been Winston Churchill who said something to the effect that for a government to tax its way out of a recession, is like a man standing in a bucket, and trying to lift himself up by the handle. It’s early days yet, but so far, all I have seen at the Tory conference is a lot of people patting themselves on the back for a very mediocre performance. They think the word ‘Balls’ merely relates to the shadow chancellor, and not to decisive leadership.

      I’m as frustrated as hell by this lot, so my challenge to Cameron is this – for God’s sake give me something I can vote for, and in that I include getting off the backs of the disabled who have absolutely no control over their circumstances.

      Tad Davison


  4. alan jutson
    September 29, 2013


    Hope you are right about more tax cuts and less waste!

    In addition we still need to simplify the system of Government and the way we collect taxes.

    Been in France for the last couple of weeks, so have only been able to hear what is going on via BBC news (not the most reliable information source I know) but from what I have seen of the LibDems and Labour conferences they wish to complicate matters even further with targeted taxes, benefits and laughable “advance warning” of price freezes on the Utility Companies.
    Again from information broadcast, the Conservatives are now talking about an element of tax allowance swapping between partners for certain grades of people, and certain grades of income.
    Why not allow people to pledge all of their tax allowance, to whatever individual they like, no matter what their status or earnings.
    So much more simple, so much more flexible !

    By drawing lines we just make it unfair on those either just above or below the chosen line.

    Why not have the same rules for everyone ?.

    Hope Eric Pickles is right about stopping the hammering of motorists by Councils.

    Car park charges in an underground car park in the Centre of Monte Carlo and in the Port of St Tropez are less than those in the Reading shopping centre !!!!!
    You also pay on exit, not on entry, where here you have to guess how long you are going to stay in advance.
    In addition, between the hours of 12.00 and 14.00 its free over there !!!!!!

    1. lifelogic
      September 29, 2013

      St Tropez has free parking very close the the centre too, even in season and the restaurants are quite cheap and often very good too, unlike Reading which is nearly all just dreadful industrial chains.

      1. alan jutson
        September 29, 2013


        Better weather as well.

        Makes you wonder why so may refugees travel through France to get to the UK.

        Surely better, a paid for home on the Cote D’Azure than Margate.
        A nice little two bedroom jobby with a pool would be nice, although perhaps the French Government would not stretch to paying for a pool, etc ed

      2. Bazman
        September 29, 2013

        The restaurants and parking in St Tropez quite cheap and good compared to reading? I have been to and eaten in both by the way and I must say yacht parking is far superior in St Tropez but only for absurdly small and pointless ones worth less that a 100 million that you cannot even get a family on with comfort never mind staff, forcing you to eat in restaurants which is probably the socialist councils fault, but that France for you.

        1. alan jutson
          September 29, 2013


          Look on the bright side.

          You can get into Reading in/on a long boat.

          I did not see any of them in St Tropez Marina, and property is somewhat also less expensive in Reading

  5. Old Albion
    September 29, 2013

    I have little time for the Lib-dems but Nick Clegg’s pledge to raise the starting point for income tax to £10K/yr was the best policy he offered. Why on earth should someone earning £10k/yr be paying ANY income tax?
    However, things have moved on somewhat since the pledge. The coalition should move as rapidly as possible toward a start point nearer £12K/yr with £15k/yr the new target.

    Reply Raising the tax threshold is also Conservative policy and we may well offer a further rise for next time.

    1. Paul
      September 29, 2013

      Cameron has clearly shifted his position once again then JR, because in the TV debates he clearly said that raising the tax threshold was unaffordable. This was a policy where the Lib Dems were spot on and the Conservatives out of touch. The unemployed and low paid need incentives not denigration.

      Reply It has been a Conservative Chancellor who has raised the tax threshold substantially, with the vocal and active support of Conservatives as well as Lib Dems. Of course we should not and do not denigrate the low paid and unemployed.

    2. MickC
      September 29, 2013

      Reply to JR

      oh do knock it on the head!

      Your (our??) Party may have “a policy” of raising the tax threshold-but won’t do it!

      Exactly like Inheritance Tax, you haven’t the guts to do it once in office!

      The Conservative party is now part of history-but that’ what happened to the Bourbons as well, isn’t it?

      Here’s a tip-don’t ever go with a member of the ruling class as leader again.

      Try one of the aspiring classes-you’ll probably win an election,-until you renege on your pledges!

      1. lifelogic
        September 29, 2013

        But avoid Ted Heath aspiring types for goodness sake.

        Stick to state school science graduates from Cambridge or other half decent Universities and avoid Oxford PPEs and Law graduates and double firsts in art subjects like the plague.

    3. lifelogic
      September 29, 2013

      To reply: Will this be taken back with the other hand, by lowering the 40% and 45% thresholds and taking the personal allowances back over a certain income, and cutting pension contributions and relief again?

      What about the IHT threshold of £1M promised by ratter Osborne.

    4. wab
      September 29, 2013

      “Raising the tax threshold is also Conservative policy and we may well offer a further rise for next time.”

      Well gee whiz, both the Libs and the Cons could have announced a further increase in the tax threshold at their conferences. But no, the Libs had to waste hundreds of millions of pounds giving the brats (whoops, children) of rich families free school lunches. And the Cons have decided to be politically correct and spend hundreds of million of pounds on a few married people.

      We can conclude that the Lib Con government is aiming to bribe a few, at everyone else’s expense, rather than treat everyone the same. It’s no wonder that Iain Duncan Smith thinks of Cameron and Osborne as Ant and Dec, and presumably he thinks Clegg is Mr Bean or something.

  6. David Hope
    September 29, 2013

    Strange that the cost of living has taken so long to come to the front of the debate. It has been an issue for a very long time, masked up till now by the very cheap credit available in the boom and the middle classes feeling rich out of asset rises (mainly homes).

    Difficult issue for the conservative leadership though as they have been complicit in it:

    Both parties backed the climate change act which is raising the price of energy continuously. I can only hope the conservative embrace shale.

    Immigration – both parties are for unlimited European immigration. This has massively driven down wages for those in low paid jobs (and even many higher paid too)

    Rent and house prices – both parties have kept supply short and rates low. Super low rates recently helped living costs for those with mortgages, but over a longer period it has meant those buying or renting now pay a much greater percentage of income on housing. Clearly immigration was a big part in this too.

    Tax – lets be honest this is very high, The 40% threshold hits a lot of people very hard. Students graduating now have high taxes and a student loan. Business rates make it very difficult to succeed as a small company damaging small business disproportionately.

    Regulation and monetary policy – every more regulation and ever more complex budgets under both Brown and Osborne have created many very well paid jobs at big accounting firms and big law firms. People in these companies get very high renumeration for effectively box ticking in safe jobs compared to people taking risks in other sectors. Same goes for the huge number of excessively paid public sector jobs. QE and low rates (not just in the UK) have for a long time now allowed the financial sector to make easy profits and pay huge wages as resulting inflation has hit people elsewhere in the country and reduced their wages.

    It’s a mess and we need serious action in all sorts of areas. I suspect shale and much reduced immigration couldn’t probably have the biggest impact quickly.

  7. Andyvan
    September 29, 2013

    Unfortunately if we do actually see any cuts in taxes or fees from this government it will only serve to reduce the taxes that they put up due to their unwillingness to cut the public sector in a meaningful way. I cannot see how any claim that the Conservative Party believes in low taxes can be taken seriously when taxes have gone up a lot since they gained office. Actually cut taxes, cut spending and deliver some real austerity then maybe I’ll accept that they do, until then sorry, I don’t.

    1. uanime5
      September 29, 2013

      The Conservatives had already reduced the number of jobs in the public sector by 600,000 and are trying to cut all the budgets in the public sector (including health which has to make at least £20 billion in savings). How much more do you want the public sector to be cut?

      Reply The NHS budget is rising in cash and real terms. The £20 bn efficiency improvements were started under Labour. You should know from this site that current spending has continued to rise since 2010, though at a slower pace than before.

  8. Brian Tomkinson
    September 29, 2013

    Conservatives used to be regarded as the party of small government. That illusion (or was that just a lie too?) has been removed after three and a bit years of Cameron. You valiantly espouse your ideas of what Conservatives stand for. It often bears little resemblance to those of your party leader’s words and actions. Many have abandoned your party because of this.

  9. forthurst
    September 29, 2013

    “Conservatives want jobs for the unemployed, and better paid jobs for the employed.” etc

    Conservatives need to stop endlessly announcing aspirations whilst doing either nothing or the opposite of what is necessary to rectify the perceived problem.

    There will always be downward pressure on wages when the conservative policy is to allow unlimited access to UK labour markets from the ever extending EU and that part of the third world with which it has not yet been incorporated. Furthermore, there is little possibility to reduce unemployment either, since any reduction in unemployment will entice further uncontrolled immigration.

    One of the major problems facing the UK is its chronic trade deficit. This is as a direct result of the continuing destruction of British manufacturing industry by high energy prices and red tape and the increasingly higher ownership of what remains of our commercial base as it is sold off to the highest bidder, resulting through inevitable transfer pricing and the remission of profits abroad to a reduction of GDP and tax take by the Treasury.

    The publicly paid for sector including quangos like the BBC as well as pretend private companies like Network Rail continue to reward themselves with eyewateringly high salaries and pensions whilst reducing nominal staffing simply by re-employing the same people as contractors after having paid them ultra generous ‘severence’ compensation. Is it not about time to enforce salary and pension levels as well as staffing levels which the country can actually afford?

    Meanwhile the Help to Sell at even more inflated prices scheme is now to distort the housing market sooner than anticipated. The housing bubble has not been allowed to deflate, the banks have not been broken up, we didn’t even get our obligatory ME war of choice against Syria, failing even to live up to the ‘heir to Blair’ sobriquet; the continuing death and destruction inintiated in Libya will have to suffice for the present.

    Good news at last though, ‘married’ homosexuals are to be recognised through the taxation system: how truly wonderful.

  10. Bert Young
    September 29, 2013

    Its all very well spelling out your version of the Conservative approach to tax regulation , as someone has already said , if you were in charge all would be well . The trouble is we are faced with a coalition and a resulting programme influenced by a minority Party . The future is a very uncertain one for the Conservatives who have lost a great deal of credibility ; if Cameron persists in wooing the Lib-Dems into a further deal – as reported , no-one will rate any Conservative message with any trust . Leadership change is a must followed by a deal with UKIP .

    Reply I am seeking to influence the next Manifesto, and set out ideas which are either Conservative policy or will be considered as policy runners for 2015.

    1. lifelogic
      September 29, 2013

      No one will believe a word in the next Tory Manifesto, with Cameron and Osborne still in charge will they?

      Cameron and Osborne if re-elected (only a 1/5 chance and declining) will think well we ratted last time and got completely away with it – lets just do it again.

  11. oldtimer
    September 29, 2013

    An increasingly objectionable trend in government policy is the habit of politicians to use regulations to spend other people`s money on causes they espouse instead of being open about it through direct taxation. ROCs are an example, where the energy companies are now blamed for rocketing energy prices imposed by the very same person who saddled them with ROCs in the first place , one Ed Miliband. But there are other examples of regulations directed at companies, often employment related, offering more and more time off work for various reasons. I do not see how smaller businesses can be expected to cope with this avalanche.

  12. margaret brandreth-j
    September 29, 2013

    As far as taxes are concerned, it is the local council taxes which are unfair. Many don’t use facilities which they are still paying for and a large percentage of these are the people who have worked all their life and still pay for the lazy .

    1. Anonymous
      September 29, 2013

      Graduated council tax is a tax on aspiration. Higher rate payers don’t get extra services and nor do they get larger wheelie bins despite being told “Your bills are higher because your house is larger and requires more servicing.”

  13. Gary
    September 29, 2013

    A detailed explanation of the central bank omni-shambles, where collateral for new loans has been mopped up by QE repos and replaced by humungeous amounts of bank reserves which are then deployed by the banks into derivative gambling and not into business loans.Unwinding this vast ediface is well nigh impossible without collapse of the risk markets and hyperinflation prices in the hard assets. Probably accompanied by a collapse of the currency.

  14. behindthefrogs
    September 29, 2013

    Rather than further income tax reductions we need to see some action on national insurance. Raising the personal NI bands has a similar effect in terms of increasing take home pay, as reducing income tax, and at the same time would be an incentive to work.

    We also need to see more action on reducing employers’ NI contributions. The important thing particularly for small businesses is government help in improving cash flows.

  15. Leslie Singleton
    September 29, 2013

    I am so out of sync with the Conservatives these days that I cannot see any significant point in the complicated Married Allowance that is far too small to be doing with. If more than one in a million couples decided to get married on this basis I would be surprised, indeed worried that they would be getting married for the wrong reasons. Think how many extra staff at HMRC will be needed to cope with the unnecessary complexity. It doesn’t help of course that Cameron has done his best to pollute the whole idea of Marriage, which to some is a Sacrament. It’s his judgement again and again: appalling.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      September 29, 2013

      Postscript–And now I learn per Ancona that Cameron may have regrets–I for one don’t believe it–He is just trying to row back a bit with the people who. like me, hold him in contempt. No chance with me at least.

  16. uanime5
    September 29, 2013

    Conservatives believe in tax cuts for all, and decent benefits for those who cannot work for their living.

    Tax cuts and especially tax breaks tend to benefit the wealthy more than the poor. Mainly because the poor don’t earn enough to pay taxes.

    Given that the Conservatives cut benefits for people with too many bedrooms, even when there aren’t any smaller properties they can move to and they need these room for their overnight carers; introduced new sanctions that can result in people losing their benefits for 3 years; and have allowed Atos to incorrectly reclassify disabled people as being fit to work (38% of these decisions are successfully appealed) I’d have to say that the Conservatives don’t want decent benefits for those who can’t work.

    One of the worst lies put round by critics is that Conservatives want to do down the workers.

    The Conservatives introduced the apprentice wage so that employers could pay less than the minimum wage. Your party also isn’t doing anything about zero hours contracts, even though these contracts remove almost all rights employees have. Face it your party isn’t doing much to benefit workers.

    Far from wanting Labour’s mantra of “tax cuts for the rich, benefit cuts for the poor”, Conservatives want jobs for the unemployed, and better paid jobs for the employed.

    Your party reduced the 50% tax rate to 45% and introduced a range of benefit cuts (bedroom tax, benefit sanctions, making the unemployed pay council tax), so the mantra “tax cuts for the rich, benefit cuts for the poor” is correct.

    If the minimum wage isn’t increased in line with inflation then it’s being cut in real terms, so minimum wage jobs are becoming less well paid. In addition introducing the apprentice wage, which is less than minimum wage; and forcing people to work for free at private companies contradicts your “better paid jobs” claim.

    They have agreed that reversing the fall in living standards is an important next task, now that good progress has been made with creating many more private sector jobs, and with reversing the big fall in output in 2008-9.

    The fall in living standards was due to Osborne’s economy mismanagement which turned an economy growing at 2% per year into one growing at 0.2%.

    While there are more private sector jobs there’s also been a reduction in public sector jobs. Also youth unemployment and long term unemployment has also increased.

    For those who have moved from benefits to work there is a rise in living standards as a result. We need to help more make that journey. That requires Income tax cuts, benefit reform, help with training and skills, and more progress with general economic recovery.

    Given that job seekers allowance is only paid for two weeks after a person gets a job but most people are paid monthly this means that anyone who gets a job has a 2 week period when they’re not getting benefits or paid. Unless you fix this problem you shouldn’t be surprised if the unemployed are forced to remain unemployed.

    Requiring people to call HRMC to claim for tax credits is deeply flawed because if people don’t know how to claim tax credits they’ll assume they won’t get any. This often leads to people not taking a job because they’ve incorrectly calculated whether they’ll be better off in work.

    Finally I have to say the problem with the Government’s training and skills programmes is that they doesn’t teach people anything useful, they’re just a way to get people off the unemployed register by declaring them “in training”. The two year long Work Programme was meant to help the unemployed into work but it failed to get even 3% of its customer into work despite costing £5 billion.

    Many have benefitted from the large increase in the tax threshold, introduced by a Conservative Chancellor with the vocal support of the Lib Dems.

    It’s still a Lib Dem idea, no matter how much the Conservatives try to claim credit for it. Raising the personal allowance was in the Lib Dem’s 2010 manifesto, not the Conservatives’.

    More could be done by way of cutting Income Tax, to leave people with more of their own money to spend.

    The Conservatives lowered income tax thresholds so that fewer people would benefit from the increase in the personal allowance.

    Expect also to hear more of tax reductions as the next phase to make it more worthwhile to work.

    I trust that the Conservatives aren’t giving people tax cuts to encourage them to vote Conservative in the next general election. It will be interesting to see which groups benefit most from these tax cuts.

    If you want to claim the Conservatives are a party that is going to benefit people you need to provide examples of Conservatives policies that have benefited people since they took office (other than increasing the personal allowance and more private sector jobs). No one is going to believe Conservative promises of better paid jobs while the Conservatives are actively trying to undermine the minimum wage, and reduce benefits for both the employed and unemployed.

    Reply More biased nonsense. Why do you never mention the large increase in Income Tax Thresholds which only applies to those below the Higher Tax bands? Nor remember that throughout the Labour years the top rate of Income Tax was lower, at 40%?

    1. uanime5
      September 30, 2013

      According to the HMRC the income tax thresholds for the 40% tax rate was in £35,001 in 2011-12. This had fallen to £32,011 in 2013-14.

      So what income tax thresholds increases are you talking about?

      Care to elaborate on how I’m being biased. Are you claiming that your party didn’t introduce the apprentice wage, 3 year long benefit sanctions, the bedroom tax, the Work Programme, or allow Atos to declare the disabled as fit to work so you could pay them less in benefits?

      Also the Chancellors plan to force people to work for their benefits indicates that your party isn’t interested in helping the unemployed find a job and instead wants to abuse them as much as possible.

      1. peter davies
        October 2, 2013

        Also the Chancellors plan to force people to work for their benefits indicates that your party isn’t interested in helping the unemployed find a job and instead wants to abuse them as much as possible.

        Your comments just show how out of touch you are – I have had many friends over the years stuck in a rut though being unemployed –

        sometimes a bullet up the backside, i.e an obligation to get up and do something useful may well be the one thing that makes a difference to many people and will change their outlook on life thus feeling obliged to get a job – if you don’t understand this then clearly you really were born in cloud cuckoo land.

        You seem to love socialism – I suggest to take yourself off to a communist country and try to live as a native worker to get a feel of what socialism looks like, my guess is you would be back on the plane to the UK after a day

  17. matthu
    September 29, 2013


    When you bump into the PM this week, I hope you will draw his attention to this enormous and expensive fallacy in his reasoning (and how that is likely to affect our standard of livving):

    “The startling foolishness of David Cameron”

    You see, the PM equates strong certainty that mankind is affecting the climate (however slightly, and scientists have not demonstrated a strong relationship) with strong certainty that this means DISASTER.

    And he goes on to use this to justify the electorate being charged a premium (against many of their wishes) in order to indemnify themselves against any impact that mankind might have on climate, even if this is going to be barely perceptible.

    Note that the premium you and I are paying will almost certainly NOT prevent any climate change from happening, since climate change has always happened.

    And if climate change does turn out to be disasterous for mankind, the premium will also not indemnify you against the impact.

    The only people who are benefitting are … the rich landowners, the lefty green charities and probably the elite at the top of the BBC.

    The PM is an intelligent man, so he must realise the fallacy in his reasoning. The question is: why does he think he can hide behind it?

    Reply: I have discussed energy prices with the PM and the Chancellor on several occasions! The Chancellor has made clear recently that he wants energy prices down through competition and by the UK not running ahead of other countries on dear “green” energy.

    1. matthu
      September 29, 2013

      Reply to reply: If you are in a group of lemmings all running towards the cliff edge, you don’t save your life simply by choosing not to run ahead of any of the others.

      The Prime Minister is just such a lemming and for that reason he won’t get my vote.

  18. lifelogic
    September 29, 2013

    Indeed employers NI and un ratting the IHT thresholds should be the priority. To late now though the die is cast.

  19. Sebastian Fairweathe
    September 29, 2013

    Dear John,

    re your global warming post recently. I am surprise that as such an educated and intelligent man you appear ignorant about the difference between temperature (absolute) and heat content. The oceans cover over 60% of the earths surface, and one would expect at least that amount of any excess incident heat to land up there. However, there are two massive heat ‘sinks’ which take heat out of the atmosphere, so that in excess of 92% of the net incident heat lands up in the oceans. If all the extra heat that has been stored in the oceans over the last 50 years were to be released into the atmosphere, then AIR temperature would rise over 30 oC. (of course this is not going to happen, just illustrates the extent of the ocean sink.)

    There has been NO PAUSE IN GLOBAL WARMING.

    In the Northern hemisphere the arctic funnels heat energy (not necessarily very ‘hot’) into the deep ocean. This eventually emerges in the surface water of the Indian Ocean.

    In the Southern hemisphere the heat energy is normally mostly channeled into the surface of the Pacific Ocean. Normally this surface energy is released into the atmosphere (ie warming the air) during an el nino (such as during the major event in 1998).

    There are now over 4,000 ocean buoys continually monitoring water temperature from the surface to 700metres or deeper. This data shows:

    a) the total heat content of the ocean has been rising inexorably including the last 15 years.

    b) the ocean total volume has been expanding in proportion to this (sea levels are complex partly because major parts of the oceans are actually getting deeper). This confirms that estimates of total heat content are correct.

    b) the DEEP ocean has been warming more than was expected. Now if that energy remains in the deep ocean, fine but if it does not………….

    Those who claim that ocean heating is a recent claim by the IPCC are simply ignorant and have not read previous report. I suspect you have not read the 2007 document either.

    best wishes,

    sebastian fairweather

  20. Anonymous
    September 30, 2013

    “Conservatives wanting to do down the workers a lie.”

    The continuation of the mass importation of poor, unskilled labour does workers down.

    ‘Net’ migration continues apace whereby we are exchanging skilled and funded people (of all colours) for those who may well not be skilled or funded (of all colours.)

    We know this by the absence of free provision provided by destination countries compared to our own – ergo those leaving must be self-supporting. Those coming may well either be seeking benefits or to displace less willing workers onto benefits.

    Until the Tories implement strict entry standards similar to Canada and Australia then living standards can only continue to go down.

  21. Darren Cahil
    September 30, 2013

    ‘ I am glad the Conservative leadership has in public accepted that living standards fell too far under Labour from 2007 and have continued to fall at a slower pace since 2010.’


    ‘They have agreed that reversing the fall in living standards is an important next task, now that good progress has been made with creating many more private sector jobs, and with reversing the big fall in output in 2008-9.’

    Stubbornly low productivity is the reason for lower unemployment in Britain, I would gloat if I were you Mr Redwood. Conceit leads to complacency!

    ‘That requires Income tax cuts…’

    And lower wages, Ricardo economics 101.

    ‘More could be done by way of cutting Income Tax, to leave people with more of their own money to spend.’

    How about abolishing VAT? Oh, you’re a Tory, you don’t do radicalism.

    ‘ Another attack upon the way government interferes and complicates too many things would be welcome. ‘

    The transparency bill is state interference in freedom of association and free speech. In other words, more bureaucracy of the type that would make a trade union bureaucrat blush, the irony!!! And don’t me started on the anti freedom of movement policies encouraged by Lynton ‘it’s the immigrants derp, derp’ Crosby.

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