It’s a year since Conservatives and Liberal Democrats came together in the national interest to provide this country with the strong, stable government it needed. So it’s a good time to take stock – and I think Conservatives should take some pride in what we have achieved these past twelve months.
Of course, we haven’t been able to do everything we wanted to do, but that’s the nature of coalitions – you have to compromise and accommodate. But let’s keep our eyes fixed on the bigger picture. After thirteen years of Labour – and their waste, debt and taxes; spinning, smearing and briefing; and patronising, old-fashioned, top-down way of doing things – we are finally bringing some good Conservative common sense and values to this country.
Nowhere was our common sense and values needed more than in dealing with the deficit. ConservativeHome readers know well why we need to cut spending. They become clearer with every Eurozone country that applies for a bailout. But let’s be clear about how we’re doing it as well. Yes, we’ve been decisive– remember George Osborne saved £6 billion last year and we’re on course to balance the books within four years. But we’re also making these cuts in a way that protects the most vulnerable. We’ve protected the families with the least – with an extra £180 in child tax credits this year. We’ve protected the lowest earners – taking a million out of tax altogether. And because we’ve restored the pensions link to earnings, we’re making sure our elderly get an extra £15,000 over their retirement than would otherwise have been the case. In opposition, we said we’d get Britain back into the black in a way that is fair and responsible. And now we’re in government, we’re making good on that promise.