Conservative Diary

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George Osborne sets out the ambitions of The Coalition

Yesterday evening was not a happy day for the Conservative Party. David Cameron's attempt to neuter the 1922 backbench committee of MPs confirms his record of control freakery in internal party matters. Time will tell if he is able to be a decentralising Prime Minister after failing to be a decentralising party leader.

Screen shot 2010-05-20 at 08.37.13 Moving on, however to more positive things. George Osborne gave his first big speech as Chancellor last night. It was a speech full of big promises. He said:

"Our aim is to create the most competitive corporate tax regime in the G20."

"Our longer term goal is to raise the [personal income tax] allowance to £10,000."

"Next week, in the Queen’s Speech, you will see a truly ambitious agenda, the scale of which I do not believe that most people yet appreciate."

On schools, welfare, police reform, skills and (believe it or not) decentralisation (see today's local government blog) I do believe the Coalition has a radical agenda. Today's Times reports that the schools reforms and the simplification of benefits have survived Coalition negotiations. All of us - disappointed at backtracking, for example, on the Human Rights Act - must keep focused on the significant things that this government plans to achieve.

Pasted below are the key sections of Mr Osborne's speech where he states the Coalition's big goals:

Lower, simpler corporation tax: "I want corporate tax reform to be a priority for this government, and I can confirm that the final coalition agreement that we will publish tomorrow will commit us to lower and simpler corporate tax rates. Let me give you advance notice of what it will say. We will reform the corporate tax system by simplifying reliefs and allowances, and tackling avoidance, in order to reduce headline rates. Our aim is to create the most competitive corporate tax regime in the G20, while protecting manufacturing industries. At the Budget I want to set out a 5 year road map for a big reform of corporation tax. As well as lower rates and a simpler system, I want to reform the complex Controlled Foreign Companies rules that have driven businesses overseas. I want multinationals coming to the UK, not leaving. I am under no illusions. Achieving all this will be hard and it won’t happen overnight. But let us work together for the long term, because ultimately all of Britain’s businesses will be winners if we succeed."

Lifting the low-paid out of the income tax system: "I believe it is right that people on low and middle incomes should be helped through the tax system. This is why at the Budget I will be announcing a substantial increase in the personal income tax allowance. And our longer term goal is to raise the allowance to £10,000, with real terms steps in that direction every year. This will ensure millions of people pay less tax. It will send a message that if you put the effort in, you get a job and earn yourself an income, you will keep more of your money."

Radical social policy: "We want to be far more than just deficit cutters – we want to lay the foundations of a more prosperous society, and a fairer economy that works for everyone. So we will launch a programme of radical education reform under Michael Gove. David Willets and Vince Cable will ensure our universities are among the best in the world for decades to come. Iain Duncan Smith and David Freud will reform our welfare system so that we reward work and support those who need help. And Chris Huhne, Jeremy Hunt and Philip Hammond will ensure that we attract the right mix of public and private investment in Britain’s creaking energy, broadband and transport infrastructure. Next week, in the Queen’s Speech, you will see a truly ambitious agenda, the scale of which I do not believe that most people yet appreciate."

Tim Montgomerie

WATCH: George Osborne highlights his priorities in address to CBI


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