Conservative Diary

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Closing the deal 3/10: Set out five clear principles for budget reduction

Britain's fiscal crisis will be at the heart of the campaign. No party has yet said enough about how they will eliminate the budget deficit. Without going into too much detail (Cameron twice avoided Nick Robinson's questions this morning on the scale of the necessary adjustment) the Tories could issue a statement of five principles that will guide their approach to deficit reduction. Here's a first draft of five things that might be said:

  1. Honesty. Four years of pain lie ahead but Britain can be very strong again once the medicine has been taken.
  2. Fairness. Nearly everyone, beginning with politicians but protecting the very poorest, must share in the pain of repaying Labour's debts. All will benefit when the deficit is brought under control.
  3. Growth. A budget will be held within fifty days of coming to power and its primary aim will be to get the British economy growing again. We will encourage taxpayers and job creators to stay in Britain and invest in Britain.
  4. Spending. We will open up the books as soon as we come into office and we will publish a 'Domesday audit' of Labour's legacy. We will incentivise every public sector worker to help us identify waste and unnecessary services. We will work with the public employees and unions to bring about more equity between the pay, pensions and conditions of the public and private sectors.
  5. Taxation. Any tax increases will expire by 2015*. We will cut inheritance tax and family taxation by the end of the parliament and begin a process of simpler taxation in our first budget.

Tim Montgomerie

* Matthew Elliott of The TaxPayers' Alliance has suggested calling these temporary taxes, a Debt Levy; a Levy to be abolished once the debt burden is down.


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