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Good government costs less with the Conservatives, says David 'Sainsbury's' Cameron

Finally, we may be getting closer to clarity on the Tories' economic message. Adapting J Sainsbury's slogan, Good food costs less at Sainsbury's, David Cameron has just told Welsh conservatives gathered at their annual conference in Llandudno that he has a plan to attack Labour's "monster budget deficit". If Labour was in charge of supermarkets their slogan would, he joked, be 'Good food costs more at Sainsburys'.  He continued: "Not “Every little helps” from Tesco, but “Every little Hurts”."  He ridiculed Brown purporting to now be the champion of public service reform. "The truth is," said Cameron, "that he is to reforming public services what Nero was to fire safety; or Tiger Woods to marital fidelity."

The Conservative leader promised a whole new way of doing government and set out three paths to cutting the costs of government while protecting frontline public services:

ToryPound First, tackling the root causes of our social problems so that we can make millions of lives better while at the same time reducing the costs on the state.

Key quote: "Our approach is to tackle the root causes of poverty, like welfare dependency, addiction, debt, poor schooling and above all, family breakdown, so the state is no longer so dominant.  That’s why we have put such focus on school reform, welfare reform and strengthening families, giving people the chance to lift themselves up and out of poverty, breaking the cycles that have existed for generations, and being the ones who will make British poverty history."

Second, reforming our public services so we deliver both choice and efficiency.

Key quote: "Public services work better when they’re driven from the bottom-up, by people on the frontline.  So we’re going to take apart the centralised apparatus of command and control and we’re going to give that power to people who work in our public services – even going as far as giving them the chance to take complete ownership of the organisation they work for in. We’ll also smash open the state monopoly and open the door to charities and private companies who can play a part in the public sector. And we’ll pay them all by the results they achieve. To those who say ‘you can’t do that’, I say ‘of course we can – and of course we must.’ Our reforms will unleash a new culture of public sector innovation, giving higher morale, better results, lower costs and – you’ve got it – more for less."

Third, making government more local and more transparent so we cut waste as well as improve outcomes.

Key quote (my emboldening): "I don’t think people get quite how radical we propose to be.   The next Conservative government will be the first genuinely post-bureaucratic government in the world. We will ditch all the wasteful, costly, old-world bureaucratic methods and instead use post-bureaucratic tools.  And when it comes to cutting waste, nothing is more important to this agenda than transparency.  We’re going to publish every item of government spending over £25,000 online.   And we’re going to publish every government contract worth over £25,000 in full – every clause, every performance measure, every penalty trigger – too. Think what this simple act of throwing things open will mean.  It will mean an army of ‘armchair auditors’ will be crawling all over the books, scrutinising them and acting as a straitjacket on wasteful spending.   It will mean the Minister who lazily signs off a monster contract without checking if he could get it cheaper will be caught out and will have to answer for their actions. It will mean that businesses and social enterprises can compete to offer better government services for less money. I defy anyone to call our plans of changing the way government works timid.  They are bold – and they will make a massive difference.  And they are why we can look the British people in the eye and say a Tory pound will go further than a Labour pound...that good government costs less with the Conservatives."

Mr Cameron makes similar points in the YouTube message that I posted earlier.

My two sources in Llandudno, Matt Wright and John Broughton, say that "this was possibly one of Cameron’s best speeches if not his best." I look forward to seeing some TV clips later.

Tim Montgomerie

3.45pm WATCH: Government must do what business does and get 'more for less', says Cameron


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