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Tax is an increasingly important issue with swing-voters who previously voted Labour, however our roller-coaster ride in the polls demonstrates that we have not fully gained their trust, therefore we need to play this intelligently and carefully. And we must not underestimate just how elastic Brown and New Labour have become to maintain power. They will quite readily put the squeeze on spending and take the public sector workers wrath if they see it a crucial to winning. And we must realise that the majority of voters still have an emotional attatchment to the NHS (which is absurd, but there you go), and we would look ridiculous in government if our first 6-months in office consisted of mass strike action over cuts. If this one was easy then we would be in power soon, but its the opposite, tax is a bloody difficult issue in Britain just now and if we are dumb about this, as we have been so often in the past, and Heffer and Tebbitt would urge us to do again, we will be ignored and defeated again.

Targeting waste was a key part of the Economic Competitiveness report last week. It is essential that Cameron places this in the heart of the manifesto. We want more bang for our buck. Of course we have to ensure that whilst doing this we must show that public services can be maintained at their current standards.

I remember the reports about waste and the machinery of government. Cameron should use them as templates for tackling this. We know this is something well within our reach. If Cameron goes for it, he has my support.

Labour's knee-jerk reaction to the slightest hint that the tories might revert to being proud to be a tax cutting party is to claim that we would "slash spending on the public services" (Ed Balls' default position, now backed up by Alistair Darling).

Can we not preface any remarks about tax with the firm commitment that "the tories will maintain the same level of spending as Labour on education and the NHS for at least three years" and increase it if savings have been made by cutting back on Brown's waste?

Can we add that our first priority will be to remove x millions of low paid workers from income tax altogether by increasing the thresholds by well above the rate of inflation? The better off would also benefit but not to the same extent.

Then - and only then - can we start talking about the abolition of IHT etc.

The Tories first made this kind of link during the 2001 campaign with the 'You've Paid The Tax' poster campaign

Step forward The Usual Suspects to declare that the tax cuts poster campaign lost us that election.

Having said that it is important to to put the current tax burden in context and approach the situation with the benefit of that knowledge. The posters seem to hark back to a 'Winter of Discontent' image which, much as we might like it to, does not play in the 21st Century.

People are more prosperous than ever before and as a result many tend to get less worked up about tax. Of course it has nothing to do with the Gordon Brown miracle and everything to do with the growth of IT, the 'bubble' success of the City and the endless supply of cheap goods from the Far East, but you try telling that to the Great British Public.

Traditional Tory | August 20, 09:24
"...endless supply of cheap goods from the Far East, .."

That is a rather leaden remark, in the light of recent quality control issues!

Traditional Tory: You are right, the cleverness of New Labour was to spot the opportunity that acceptance of the Thatcherite revolution would present. By allowing allowing the growth in the economy this would also let them channel the vast increaces in revenue into public services. People don't know they could be better off without this wasted resource because they are better off than they were under the Tories. We do need to move from the winter of discontent to another footing which plays to the longer game, measured commitments and build on this.

TRAINS ? Whatever happened to rail privatisation ?

I don't think posters on trains do Conservatives any favours

I always thought the posters were the best thing about that unwinable election and I agree with the Ed. that a similar campaign would be even more effective now. If we can solve the cuts rebuttal then tax is an immensely important issue for us. If we can get the public to accept that quality is not entirely coupled with cost in the public services then the battle is almost won.

I also agree with David Belchamber that we should take a leaf out of Gordon Brown's book and just as he did in 1996 give an undertaking to keep to Labour's spending totals for the first two years of a new government. It completely takes the sting out of Labour's argument.

We can win the debate over taxes. We just to find a way of convincing the public that high taxes arent necessarily a good thing and in fact can be quite harmful when they get to levels we are stretching towards. The case is there to be made and theres not an enormous wall of public opinion ignorant to this case.

I suspect we will stick to Labour's spending plans for the first 2-3 years. Its a solid start which ensures security for the spending departments. It wont spook the horses as it were. It would fit in with our economic stability argument as well.

Agree (sadly) that politically we should commit to Labour's education and health spending levels. It gives them nowhere to go with that line of 'Tory cuts' attack then.

Naturally I do think we should be pretty ruthless when in office in ensuring that this expenditure is spent more more effectively than now (abolishing all PCT and hospital boards comes to mind) but the totals can stay the same.

Elsewhere there is MASSIVE waste. Yes all parties talk about it but it can be seen everywhere and the public I suspect intuitively believe it.

There may well have been a general acceptance to tolerate higher taxes in 1997 and for some years afterwards in the search for 'quality' public services. I imagine that's much less true today. Constant stresses of the funding increases which have taken place can be set against the current quality being provided should hopefully strike a chord.

The posters above work well in this regard: "You paid the tax, what did you get for it?" etc

Those posters of Rick Nye really were great... just ahead of their time.

In 2005/6 the Government raised £3.3 bn from IHT.

If Cameron, as he pledges, will offset the IHT tax cut with a tax rise for airlines, then based on predictions, this means a tax imposition of around £6bn a year on the airlines by 2020.

All announced in the week that we found out that the hottest period in the 20th century was actually the 1930's rather than the 1990's as used by the green alarmists to justify these high 'green' taxes.

That quangos cost in total three times more than defence could be a useful indication of savings to be made.

Dear Nulab troll - there are other green taxes apart from air taxes. You need banned.

I agree. Waste is particularly attached to Gordon Brown, so it would be particularly effective.

The posters look a bit amateur, but the idea is great. We can't deny that Brown spends alot - what we should do is try to twist that imagine into one that wastes what he spends.

JimJam - The whole tax offsetting argument is a simple scam.

Think about it. If the 'bad tax' changes behaviour as claimed, less people will do the 'bad' thing, and thus less people will be liable for the offsetting 'bad' tax.

However, the same amount (and higher as asset prices increase) of money will still need to be raised to offset the IHT cut to balance the books, so fewer people will be paying ever more, until the whole thing becomes unaffordable and the offset scheme collapses.

Then you will be faced with both a black hole to offset the tax cut, and the fall-out from destroying the 'bad' business.

It doesn't matter if this is applied to just airlines or other 'green' taxes as you note, the effect of a spiral of fewer people needed to pay ever more until collapse is unavoidable with the Cameron 'offset' approach to taxation.

The NHS grieves me as much as it must David Cameron, it is the perfect illustration of how throwing money at problems solves nothing!
We must all have stories that show the incredible waste of resources that occurs almost daily in our hospitals.

If they were operated like competitive businesses they would quickly change their ways, but apparently we don't want that.

Think about it. If the 'bad tax' changes behaviour as claimed, less people will do the 'bad' thing, and thus less people will be liable for the offsetting 'bad' tax.

However, the same amount (and higher as asset prices increase) of money will still need to be raised to offset the IHT cut to balance the books,

You pessimist you.

Taxing things like Carbon emissions is excellent for two reasons.
1) Its good for the environment
2) It effectively locks in tax cuts

If we ever get back into power, its a great booby trap to set for a future Labour government. In order to grow the tentacles of the state, they would need to constantly increase taxes, much more than now.

Pessimist? LoL. It's just basic arithmatic.

If you have to raise x by charging y to z people then as z decreases, y has no option but to increase to maintain x.

It sounds trendy and popular to say 'cut IHT and offset with bad green taxes' but the whole argument is fundamentally flawed, in that it can only succeed by failing to change behaviour and thus maintaining the base of people liable to the bad taxes.

Cutting taxes is essential. Unfortunately, this 'tax offsetting' is a crude, unworkable deception.

There's no requirement to raise other taxes to 'balance' IHT receipts. The tax take from this is relatively tiny and pretty much within the margin of error of overall governmental receipts.

It is useful to know that the Conservative Party, as represented by people on this forum, is a party that believes in high taxation but claims to be better at managing it than the Labour Party is. Butskellism is alive and well. What makes you guys think that is a winning policy?

"There's no requirement to raise other taxes to 'balance' IHT receipts"

I 100% agree. However, we are discussing Cameron Conservative Party policy, and that is to offer *no* overall reduction in the tax take, just to shift costs around by offsetting tax cuts with tax rises elsewhere.

THEY spend YOUR money. Lots of it. Are THEY giving YOU value for money?

One of the changes from the Thatcher years is that Labour has managed to persuade people to part with much more of their hard earned cash to pay for the huge increases in spending on core political projects such as health and education. Rightly or wrongly voters have bought into the simple throwing of money into these areas without asking too many questions as to whether or not it has been well spent.

Whilst people feel that life is OK and that they have enough left over to take themselves from just making ends meet to where they can afford better holidays, evenings out, a new car, moving up the housing market and so on, they tend not to take too critical a view of things. They may also feel that in general that they do not begrudge the improvements to, say, the salaries/income of nurses and doctors. They may have a positive experience of the NHS (and whilst personally I think there must be a better way of doing health than the NHS, I cannot fault it for the excellent care given to my wife who has in the last year been through the whole breast cancer thing) and be one of the lucky ones to have a reasonable Comprehensive that has got their kids into a good university.

But when the burden of tax becomes noticeable to them, even allowing for the concealment effect of stealth taxes and if, as at present, the belt has significantly to be tightened because of substantial interest rate rises eating into their income via higher mortgage repayments and higher charges on their overdrafts, then people will start to look more critically at how that money is being spent and whether their taxes could be better applied and whether genuine savings can be made from waste and things which are simply not necessary for us to have, or just whether we are getting good value for money.

At the moment people still want a high level of spending, whether we like it or not, but we are in a period where many families, especially the lower middle-class (and some working-class families outside the pay-nothing/get-everything free sector) are finding it very hard going indeed. If so, then people will be prepared to ask, as this article in the Mail suggests, do we really need £160-180 billion p.a. spending on a vast unaccountable quangocracy? Do some of these institutions represent good value for money?

Do we really need an agency such as the Milk Development Agency? What value is the Union Learning Fund? Why do we have a Meat Hygiene Agency when we also have a Food Standards Agency? What does a Beef Assurance Scheme Membership Panel add to either of those? Why on earth do we need separate agencies for Veterinary Medicines and Veterinary Products? When we are all worrying about obesity, why do we have a British Potato Council (which funds itself through some public money but mostly via a levy on potato growers and seed merchants, so you end up paying for it when you have your fish and chips) to promote the potato? Others will have similar nonsenses.

Highlighting the significant way in which so many these quangos are headed up by Labour Placemen who are all picking up fat salary cheques as a result could open up another nice little sleaze avenue. Cutting 1000 nursing posts is bad politics but cutting 50 Labour Fat Cats and 950 quangocrats is fine.

On any view £160 billion is a lot of money. Just cutting 10% would be a major victory for the Taxpayer. Money is tight. Now is the time to ask the question: are we getting good value for money? Asked in the right way, most taxpayers would say: “No”.

There is waste aplenty in them there hills which few will notice if it is swept away.

"People are more prosperous than ever before and as a result many tend to get less worked up about tax."

Are they, or they more in debt to a life style than we have ever been?

Take the under 25's who are either unemployed, on a low income or saddled with student debt before they even start earning. These are tomorrows striver's and they are being cemented into a regime of trying to play catch up just to keep their heads above water.

We have to tie in the high burden of tax with the sheer extravagance in waste. Brown has controlled the purse strings and domestic policy in every department in government, he is public enemy No1 when it comes to wasting our taxes yet he has portrayed himself as Mr Prudence. The schemes that have failed and cost billions all stem from his desire to control a strategy of wealth distribution which he won't even trust his colleagues to manage never mind the ordinary tax payer.

One query, did I hear correctly that these community police officers which are not even able to stop a crime, never mind arrest anyone get paid around £24,000??
This is the latest wheeze from the government to try and gives us an illusion that we have plenty police officers on the beat. How much does an 18 year old soldier on the front line in Iraq or Afghanistan get paid? Someone in the Conservative better be getting ready to highlight this!
Take the shortage in midwives that led to that horrific story in the papers last week, the situation with our midwifery services is not new and the warnings have been steadily getting louder over recent years. Just think about how much money was invested in administrators so they could deliver the governments own targets. Then tie it in with the fact they did not/have not invested in dentists or midwives so that we even have the levels we need to provide even the most basic services in the NHS.

And I agree 100% with you Think about it!

Think about it is absolutely right. The objective of green taxes is surely to change behaviour, so ideally over time you'd get less and less revenue from green taxes as less and less people partake in polluting activities. But that means you are still left with a deficit from the cuts you've made elsewhere.

Either that, or the green taxes fail to change behaviour in which case you make up for the cuts elsewhere, but fail to actually help the environment. It's a flawed and deeply irresponsible plan.

Highlighting the significant way in which so many these quangos are headed up by Labour Placemen who are all picking up fat salary cheques


How is it that the HFEA has quintupled its staff since 1997 (and Suzi Leather wants to se if independent schools give value for money !!)

How is it that the QCA proposes modularising GCSE so 110% can pass them and the Chief Executive has boosted his salary from £45,000 to £273,000 for such brilliant debasement off education ?


Suzi Leather of course before she became Charity Commission head honcho was the head of the HFEA!

THEY spend YOUR money. Lots of it. Are THEY giving YOU value for money?


I wonder how people will react when the backroom deal for state funding of political parties is announced?

Yet more Quangos or not?

" wonder how people will react when the backroom deal for state funding of political parties is announced?"

And chief Cameroon Fiona Melville's company is advising them on their state funding media campaign.

Cameron was the first to propose it, and now the Cameroons are working to sell it.

Of course it doesn't matter in the slightest that neither the public at large, nor Tory Party members support the extension of state-funding. It's a done deal, and we'll have to sit back and watch a slick media campaign to sell a policy that most of us oppose but is going to be forced on us anyway.

If Cameron had any genuine small state principles, he'd be promising a 'bare knuckle fight' to preserve democratic and voluntarily funded political parties with *NO* interference from the state or dipping into taxpayers funds via state funding.

It's not going to happen though, is it?

Target the Targetting culture of new labour, thats what we should do, and it would save thousands of pounds. Why do they 'target'?, so they can boast! How many classes in adult education alone have had to be closed, at least partly because of the obsession with targetting and paperwork, together with draining so many areas of funds.

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