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Tory members back stronger trade union laws and (narrowly) a more flexible immigration cap

Tim Montgomerie

6a00d83451b31c69e2013488758bc6970c-200wiI paste below a table summarising 1,757 Tory members' verdict on various pro-growth measures.

In summary, the following measures are very popular:

  • Scrapping the 50p tax band
  • Putting low energy prices before green measures
  • Investment in apprenticeships
  • The Foreign Office promoting British exporters
  • Axeing health and safety laws
  • Withdrawing benefits from people who don't take reasonable job offers (only 2% opposed this measure).

There was particular support for modernisation of trade union laws:

  • 92% agreed with "new laws that will ensure strikes can only be called when a majority of members vote for them" - something Boris Johnson has proposed.
  • 79% agreed with the idea of a "no strike deal in essential public services in return for compulsory arbitration".

In an interview for yesterday's Politics Show, George Osborne didn't rule out new trade union laws but said they would be a last resort:

"We are prepared to consider changes to the law around strikes – as a last resort – but I hope we never get there, because I hope we can have a mature, grown up conversation. I completely understand that trade unions want to represent the interests of their members, but the interests of their members is that jobs are created and prosperity returns to our country."

Interestingly a plurality of Tory members agreed with a more flexible immigration cap so that businesses can recruit skilled workers from abroad (something I've advocated, too).

On last night's Westminster Hour, Richard Ottaway MP suggested a majority of his Conservative parliamentary colleagues would also support modernisation of union laws. I suspect the block on the possibility comes from Liberal Democrat MPs and ministers.

A plurality of Tory members also opposed delaying regulation of banks until the economy is stronger.

There was little support for my belief that the 50p band should be replaced by a tax on high value properties. Members simply want it abolished.

Click on table to enlarge.

Screen shot 2011-01-31 at 12.48.58

 Screen shot 2011-01-25 at 12.21.16

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