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Local budgets are quite different from the national budget, where Gordon Brown's profligacy is just beginning to affect the economy adversely.
I hope that in due course the tories will have a lot to say about cutting and simplifying tax.

Tax cuts have been shown to be electorally dangerous enough times. The new emphasis on enterprise and responsibility in B2L covers the subject of wealth creation and management of society in general terms but from a broader perspective and at a deeper level.

Let's talk about human qualities first, it is saying, which B2L does, and money second. Get the people bit right which takes time to explain and get right. Monetary strategies - like tax, interest rates, government borrowing etc are quick and easy to get across. They can follow. Tax cuts don't create wealth unless people are active and making good use of them.

As for immigration, the continued promise of repealing the HRA is about as good a promise as anyone could give. I don't agree with the doubts expressed above. Let's not go for easy hits. We've got time to get things right and change the fundamental legal and constitutional approach. Once that's right, the specific headine-grabbing measures that we need will become possible.

If a poll was made of voters I am sure that the over whelming majority (70%+) would say that they expect Conservatives to
1. Cut taxes
2. Cut immigration

We have those views firmly cemented in the minds of voters.

At the 2001 election we came undone on tax cutting and lost votes in 05 because of the talk about cutting spending. In 05 we also talked about immigration and had the media round on us as rascists.

What we need to be speaking about are other issues, which is what Cameron is doing well.

PS did Thatcher really spell out all that she was going to do in the 1979 manifesto?

Just where have tax cuts been seen to be electorally damaging? The evidence seems at best mixed, and please do not come out with the canard that we had a tax cutting manifesto in 2005. Our last manifesto promised to cut taxes by less than 1%, voters rightly saw this as pathetic. Worse, our own detailed studies under David James showed considerable government waste. Given we are now not advocating tax cuts at all, we would seem to be accepting large scale waste as the price of a large welfare state.

What is beyond doubt is that a high tax economy (such as our own) is not going to generate much economic growth in the long term What Labour have done, and very skilfully, is to run a Kensyain economic expansion. It can not continue, but our inability to see that is costing us the moral high ground. Where will we be when Brown has to cut spending? Advocating that he not do so? What will we do if Brown cuts taxes? Advocate that he not do so? Do we imagine in our wildest dreams such polices would be credible?

I am pleased the document unequivocally states that unelected regional assemblies will be abolished.
The document, by omission, does not rule out elected regional assemblies - I am taking that as read.
We will need detailed plans for repatriating the statutory planning powers these assemblies now have back to county councils at the earliest opportunity.

Have the savings been calculated? Much of their funding comes from Government grant but some from local authority subscriptions

Cameron is right to avoid promising tax cuts now. With unemployment and interest rates rising the economy could be in a mess when we resume power.

In fact very clear majorities of voters thought we would *raise* taxes if elected in 2005.

Those sort of surveys are little better than asking "Do you like party X?" :-)

Voters should be asked what they think parties would _like_ to do, or what instincts they are associated with. That should depoliticise the answers, at least a bit.

B2L seems to be the way forward and looks good.
However, DC cannot fudge on Tax and Immigration. These two issues are of paramount importance today,tomorrow and the next day. Everybody has an opinion or view on these points and the Cons need to articulate a policy that is going to find favour with a large percentage of the electorate.
To do that will of course mean, that the central ground of consensus politics will have to ditched.
I sincerely hope that DC and Central Office wil be radical, won't be intimidated by the PC Nazi's who want to influence everything to their thought process and also listen to what the people want.

So if we are not to ask people leading questions like “would you favour tax cuts?”, let’s look at how they act.

Has tax avoidance and evasion gone up? Absolutely (remember Francis Maude saying his wife paid the plumber to avoid admitting he too paid cash?). IMF data show that amount of tax evasion has grown from approximately 5% of GDP to close to 15% since 1980. No love of taxes there. Has taxation helped our long term savings culture – nope, indeed taxation can be quite fairly blamed for the destruction of our pension system. Is there a lot of wastage, even Labour felt obliged to admit there was, launching their own investigation into the matter (a pale imitation of the James review).

So some questions to help…

Do we think the present level of taxation hinders economic growth?
Do we think people want to pay less tax?
Do we think that a good deal of government spending is being wasted?
Do we think we should be honest about what we should stand for and believe in?

Good to see that both Lord Tebbitt and Anne Widecombe broadly welcomed Built To Last in the Daily Mail. A nice suprise! And a sign of a growing sense that we are slowly relearning the fact that we need to be disciplined if we are to win the next election.

Fine, Malcolm, as far as it goes....but David Cameron has a lot of work to do to persuade me to vote for him. The leadership of the Tory Party has a very long track record of promising things they have no intention of delivering and implying things they have no intention of promising. The 1980's were only a very partial exception to this rule. Conservative Governments (including the Blessed Margaret) are also largely to blame for the shocking state of education in this country and the overcentralisation of politics.

Section 28 should've been built to last.


Do we think the public want cuts to public services?

Do we think that when a Tory says "tax cuts" the public hears "NHS cuts"?

Do we think "sharing the proceeds of growth between public services and tax cuts" is a nice way of saying tax cuts without the above problem?

I would urge everyone to read the Michael Ashcroft report on the General Election. It is based on substantial research reports and it explains why we lost the election. please download a copy from here.

On immigration it says QUOTE
In fact there is evidence that the Conservatives’ focus on immigration actually cost them support. As Mary Ann Sieghart observed in The Times in March, the people the Conservatives need to woo back if they are to win an election “are not socially conservative, elderly or working class folk, but younger,more urban, middle classes” who were actively put off by the Conservative campaign. She noted that according to the paper’s polls over the preceding month, in which immigration had featured heavily, Conservative support had risen by 5 points among the DE social classes but fallen 4 points among ABs and 8 points among C2s.

It is the ABs and C2s that actually vote....

Cutting immigration will win votes, make no mistake.

I suspect, however, that the powers that be are more cautious about promising tax cuts. The more politically astute voter will have noticed millions thrown at public services that are still failing and they won't believe that cutting taxes will solve the problem.

Without mening to sound the patrician, the less politically-minded won't care and will only see the extra money in their account at the end of the month.

It's an awful position to be in. My instincts say promise to cut them but it would probabally be better to leave the issue open for now.

Whatever happens, they can't go up any more!

So now that Blair and Reid have acknowledged that it's not "racist" to discuss immigration, the Tories have decided not to discuss immigration? Laughable.

Jon Gale

I am well aware we need to be careful with how we market tax cuts, but there is a basic problem. Should we do what many of us believe to be right for the economy and the long term, or do we give people what they perceive they want in the short term. In other words, do we follow economic or political arguments. Obviously we need to win politically, but at the same time, if we want to use our power to effect when we do win, we need to pay attention to economics. My point is that people are a lot keener on tax cuts, and appreciate that the government has wasted billions to no effect, than is generally appreciated – simply looking at their behaviour can tell us that. Moreover looking at the ConservativeHome report from Australia it demonstrates that politicians who spell out their beliefs can gain considerable credibility with the public.

I am not against the vast majority of Build to win, but I am extremely worried that our plans to share the proceeds of growth are going to become dangerously unstuck when there is little to no growth to speak of.

Taxes and immigration -- only the single two most important issues facing this county where a center-right opposition, one might have thought, would have a thing or two to say.

50 years of temporising with the left has left the Conservative Party in the position where (i) its vote share has shrunk from 50% to the mid-30's; (ii) the left dominates the broadcast and much of the print media and the legal profession; and (iii) the left uses ever more heavy-handed methods to control the terms of public debate. You would have thought that pandering to the left (notably, commentators such as Maryann Sieghart) had been tested to destruction. Seemingly not in the eyes of some....

Lib Dems and Labour are opposed to tax cuts. Who will stand up for the low-tax viewpoint? It has to be us.

I think that it's reasonable at this stage that there is no firm commitment to tax cuts. The line which is always rolled out is that we are a low tax party, which is pretty clear. However, it would be wrong to say that we will definitely deliver tax cuts bearing in mind that there is currently a huge buget deficit and the economic position is far from certain. The priority must be sound public finances - over time they inevitably lead to room for tax cuts.

With regards to immogration, I was present at a number of meetings with Michael Howard at the last election. He would speak on a range of themes, with emphasis on the matters which bother most people, such as the NHS. However, he briefly mentioned immigration, and that became the focus of the headlines, with no mention of any other views or policies. The result was a perception that we were only interested in immigration, which didn't actually play all that well with floating voters.

I think it's wise to focus on other areas of policy at this stage. This is, after all, a mini manifesto, published out of election time.

The Conservative Party should of course be committed to letting people spend their money how they best choose.

However, controlled immigration runs the risk of being against what I consider to be another key principles, equality of opportunity.

Don't understand, Tax Cutter ... surely you're not suggesting that we should offer equality of opportunity in this country to the whole world population of 6.6 billion?

It seems to me that there is a very good reason for not focusing on Tax and, as the last General Election starkly demonstrated.

The simple truth is that the Public EXPECT us to cut tax, the problem is that they worry that we will go past their comfort point and cut too much.

Cut's in services, Grannies sofa sawed in half, Grampas false teeth will suffer a few extractions, and the Kids will only get a soggy digestive and a jar of cold water at school meals etc. etc.

Such has been the effectiveness of the New Labour campaign to portray us as ruthlessly tax obsessed, the LESS we talk about it the better.

ps, on holiday at the moment - currently doing my 4 days at the fringe festival in Edinburgh. It's my annual forray into the enemy camp. (ED. will report back any suspicious leftie conspiracy propagated through the medium of dance and comedy).

Surely the money this country now owes we need a spending cut first before any tax cuts?

HF @ 13.46 - I am not quite sure what the Times article of March 4 was getting at - that the AB's & C2's are more in favour of immigration, and therefore against any limitation on principle, AT THAT TIME?? Because if that was the case, I somehow think that a considerable number of them will have changed their ideas even over the last year!

As a moderniser (and by the way, I voted for David Davis but am 100% behind our new Leader - so that must make me a "NeoCam", short for Neo-Cameroon), a tax-burdened 30-year-old and a recent economic migrant (albeit from Ulster), I think Built to Last strikes the right chord in terms of both tax and immigration.

It has, let's face, been assumed that if we bang on about tax and immigration we would win the general election. We didn't do so in either 2001 or 2005 and our message on both tax and immigration were misunderstood by key sections of the electorate. Voters are pretty clear that the Conservatives are 'sounder' on both these issues that the other main parties.

The difficulty is, of course, that in a general election if we say we are going to cut £Xm taxes, key voters in key marginal seats think, 'yes, I could do with the money, but will that result in cuts in public services?'. We need to convince thse voters that we will put economic stability and public services first, and then try to reduce their tax burden. Otherwise 'Lab hold'.

Don't forget demographic change in key marginals. When we beat the drums about immigration during a general election, we put off large sections of the population - not just ethnic minorities - but also many Conservative-leaning white voters. I suspect that we could have taken seats such as Harrow West/East and Wolverhampton SW if our message on immigration hadn't specifically put off Asian voters who represent large sections of the electorate. Let's get the message right otherwise 'Lab Hold'.

I will certainly vote yes to Built to Last as I believe that it forms the basis for a compelling set of policies that could win us the next general election. I also think that it is a lot more memorable and effective than the "10 words + Accountability" from the 2005 campaign, i.e. ESEFEPPO

Social Justice (fight social injustice)
Environment (meet env threats)
First Class Health, Education, Housing
End Global Poverty
Protect our Country
Power to the People
Open, Meritocratic, Forward-looking Party

Built to Last carefully does NOT mention the massive constitutional crisis building up in what is still called the United Kingdom . Face it , the Kingdom is no longer United and the English are massively discriminated against - basically , it is us who pay for it and us who are ignored by it .
The attitude of the Tories has always been that the Union is sacred and must be sustained by any price the English can be forced to pay -depply undemocratic and not in fact , a sustainable position in the medium term , or even in the short term .

This document would have been a marvellous opportunity for the Tories to commit to the idea of a federal UK including an English parliament . Its going to happen anyway in the end . Why do the Tories always have to be in the position of trailing after emerging ideas and never initiating them ?

It's not really the case that "the English are massively discriminated against". There are chronic economic imbalances across the UK which this government has not only failed to address, but has exacerbated - we're still waiting to hear what the Tories would do about that. There have been a few occasions when the government has only been able to impose something on England by using the votes of MPs elected in Scotland. And the English are disparaged and derided. Even so I wouldn't say any of that amounted to "massive discrimination against the English", that would be an exaggeration.

"The two big disappointments in Built to Last come in what is missing: an adequate section on immigration and a commitment to reduce tax."
I was delighted that they were missing from the BTL document. It would be nice to see our other policies being given a higher profile and actually debated, I want to see how the voter reacts to something other than the core vote comfort blanket of tax cuts and immigration.
I know that Labour is suddenly talking about immigration and the Libdems are advocating tax cuts. Those are very real weaknesses for both parties, I think that it would be a mistake to fall into a bidding war with either party. These are two issues that the public already associate with the conservatives. Education, health and crime are the key area's we need to be stronger on.

Lynton Crosby got it wrong, we did not try and fatten the pig on market day, we just kept trying to sell a pig without tatties and veg to a bunch of vegetarians.
BTL has my vote.
PS Just listening to Sky paper review, one headline in the express about immigration. Do they discuss Labour's record, no its "I thought the tories were going to move away from this issue!

Dear Denis ,you say

" It's not really the case that "the English are massively discriminated against".

and then you go to contradict yourself when you say

" There are chronic economic imbalances across the UK which this government has not only failed to address, but has exacerbated - "

- yes , the latest figures are that the British goverenment spends circa £1.5-2000 p a more per head on the celts than it does on the English - and it uses English money to do this .
- er , thats some discrimination surely .

Given that the English have no parliament or indeed ANY specifically English body to represent the English against the British government ( the MP's for English Constituencies in the British parliaemnt have proved spectacularly and pitifully useless at doing this ) it is no wonder that the British government gets away with this .
There is no English Office - why not ?

Many English ministries are headed by MP's for celtic constituencies who have no democratic responsibility to England and cannot be removed by anyone in England . This is not democracy .

This is some mighty form of discrimination surely , or are you still so besotted by the charisma of the dying " United " Kingdom that you find it necessary to blindly utter the " we are one country " mantra when clearly there are four countries in a multi national state - always has been - which same state falls over itself to smarm over Wales and Scotland whilst flinging cold hatred in the direction of the English .
Unless this issue is addressed - with the emergence of a federal type state with country parliaments , therefore including an English parliament , the UK is going to disintegrate .
Face it and stop trying to deny it .

The only way to get this country back on track is to reduce tax because people always spend their money more wisely than politicians.

George Osborne rightly leaned towards a flat rate income tax. That's the sort of policy I want to see in the full blown Tory manifesto in due course.

You see it's OUR money - not the state's, and Tories are in favour of the right of the citizen to spend his own money as he chooses.

If you don't believe that, you're not really a Conservative at all.

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