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I asked George Osborne a very simple question two years ago. It was: "Even though you are not prepared to talk about cutting tax, will you at least rename National Insurance Contributions 'Jobs Tax' to focus the mind?

He said no, but wisdom has overtaken him.

This is exactly the right move as NI contributions are a tax on employment payable by a company even when making a possibly existence-threatening loss.

Congratulations Mr Osborne. Welcome back. Let us go forward together.

But Labour are cutting taxes by £15bn aren't they?
Why is our tax cut so much smaller?

"But Labour are cutting taxes by £15bn aren't they?
Why is our tax cut so much smaller?"

Scorched earth??

The tax-cuts for business should be backed up with a co-ordinated system of job-matching so that people who are trapped on benefits are fast-tracked into the new job opportunities that open up.

The current New Deal system with its costly army of bureaucratic providors should be scrapped and the money ploughed into further tax-breaks for those that create real jobs.

Some good ideas, but -

A two year freeze on council tax is no big deal. It must be cut.

No alteration in VAT can be made without consent from Brussels.

Why not abolish Regional Assemblies and hundreds of other useless quangos? This would be tax cutting without any pain, except to the thousands of unelected hangers on who collect over-generous "allowances".

I don't think the new cut is that big or exciting but is a solid piece in the puzzle - and just watching the press conference, Cameron was saying he's announcing it to try and get the governement to implement it - that answers well some of labours noises that they aren't trying to work together.

Just watching the press conference. A relatively trivial point, I admit, in the grand scheme of things, but what's the point of Chris Grayling and George Osborne buried in a corner on two chairs? Would look much better if they were at lecterns beside DC, taking questions too, presenting a finance TEAM.

I agree with that SW.

The Times latest poll is an absolute indictment of our leadership [or lack of] over the last 3 months.

We are going headlong into a Labour recession with our opinion poll lead shrinking fast.

How did we manage that, Mr Osborne ?

"Keep Britain Working" - a great line.

I don't beleive most people want the nannying kind of 'help' that brown and blears seem so keen on (intrusive, expensive to deliver and reinforcing social immobility) -- and as long as people are working they don't need it.

Good performance by Cameron on R4 - despite the usual BBC hectoring tone. Mind you, the BAA bloke got it worse! Shame they aren't so hard on labour interviewees.

"How did we manage that, Mr Osborne ?"

Hmmm it takes a genius to turn what should be an electoral liability for this Labour Government to become a major problem for the Conservsative opposition.

Some good ideas. Would be helpful if there were also some guaranteed personal tax cuts so that people could see these policies reflected in their pay packet.

Maybe even introduce tax relief for mortgage payers?

Sloppy logo!

The wheels of the cogs are disconnected with one in front of the other and thus they look good from one view but won't actually work at all.

A bit like the Tory economic policy...

Maybe even introduce tax relief for mortgage payers?

What about people who can't get a mortgage because they don't have a 10-20% deposit? Why the obsession with helping people who already have a foot on the housing ladder?


LondonTory, glad to see you are ignoring the policy statements as usual. No one would want to think that your objections to Cameron/Osbourne are based on their proposals rather than prejudice.

Why is it than when one poll goes down you are there to complain, but not when one poll shows an improvement?

This seems a responsible set of proposals at first glance. I hope they have been properly costed.
If Brown does go for £15billion of unfunded tax cuts then we will know he cares more about saving his own skin than the welfare of the British people. He has already significantly damaged the outlook for those of my generation by his attack on final salary pension schemes, if he borrows recklessly to promote his electoral chances as it seems he will,then the price will eventually be paid by my child's generation.

Sorry but this is just Brownsian nanny state tinkering. You have to go through hoops to get the relief and many companies will be too busy trying to survive to bother. More jobs for bureaucrats as well as they will have to administer it etc.

Why not just cut small business tax or income tax. It's easy to do and easy for the public to understand.

Seems very unlikely that this announcement, which will not make any difference at all to most people, will exactly resonate with the wider electorate.

If Brown does use the pre budget statement today to launch something meaningful to the majority by way of a tax cut then once again we will have been outmanouvered on tax and look like it too.

The only companies who will take advantage of this are those who pay minimum wage and have a fast staff turnover. This is very open to abuse, particularly in the fast food sector, where people are less likely to get to the two years employment they need to be entitled to get redundancy protection. So, McDonalds could make sure they take on unemployed people, pocket the £2500, then get rid of the staff (or just wait for more people to leave). Where you need trained staff, £2500 isn't going to help at all. This is exactly what happened in the States with a similar scheme.

I'd rather it was spent on training and educating unemployed people so they are ready for a job. Oh, wait, that's what the government is already doing.

I read the NI thing as a 'credit'.

So the employer just doesn't pay the first £2,500 of NI for that employee that they would otherwise pay (at the same time the gov't doesn't need to pay out 'benefits' for that person...); I don't think it is a cheque in the post for £2,500 when the person starts work...

And I can't see it actually adding any significant work to the setting up the payroll.

Pretty much every single day the local press here in the North East reports that were are losing jobs at a much higher rate - 10 here, 20 there, short working here and a full closure there, each a tragedy for those involved.

This might be pretty much the same as the rest of the country, but the chances of finding well-paid work in these parts at present is pretty grim.

A good friend worked for a very big company for 20+ years and was made redundant three weeks back, and despite a concerted effort to get straight back to work, he has had to drop from nearly £14 an hour (a very good wage in this area) to £6 and from skilled work to a mundane task.

It might seem popular to offer loads of individual tax breaks, but they are of little use if you're not in work. Far better to skew the system to allow companies some breathing space with tax and training incentives.

The tax incentives need to allow the companies to ride the storm and funded training packages, like business improvement, scrap and waste reduction, need to offered to sharpen the minds of staff from the shop floor to the boardroom.

Reduced production targets means an element of spare time for staff - this time should be utilised to skill staff to a higher level, for when this crisis is over, the world will be no less a competitive place.

It therefore seems sensible to assist businesses to stay open, but to also make them more competitive by training staff.

Total economic nonsense - cart before horse. This policy will be spun by Labour as the Tories helping their friends in the City, not hard-working families.

There needs to be more demand for good and services before firms take on new staff. Tax cuts, or relief, should be focused on individuals and families. The voters are faced with higher fuel bills, mortgage arrears and demands to pay off large chunks of credit card debt.

Some tax relief on interest to promote saving would also help the prudent who, through taxes, will subsidise the profligacy of the bankers and their clients.

Nice try, I think resident leftie has it right. Osborne and Cameron ought to exercise their minds in a bit of game theory or similar thinking to work out the likely reaction of employers. If an employer employs 20 people he is hardly likely to take on a 21st just because of an NI reduction, but when an employee leaves he is more likely to take on a long term unemployed person, but when the NI breaks run out we are back to the status quo. The employer is a little better off, the state a little worse off but it hasn't boosted employment or investment.

Nevertheless a step in the right direction, and the Conservatives are right to concentrate on tax breaks for companies rather than individuals. Giving tax breaks to individuals may win votes but business friendly policies, reducing taxation and simplifying or eliminating buraucracy, will encourage investment and rebuild the economy.

@ Raj

I voted for David Cameron in 2005, and have campaigned for MPs who would describe themselves as 'Cameroons'.

I merely point out that we lack a coherent theme at the moment, and have lost ground. Part of that is due to the announcement of piece meal, reactive policies like this one. We will be banning chocolate oranges next. The other is due to the crass misjudgements of Mr Osborne, not only his holiday arrangements but also his failure to look like a credible Chancellor-in-waiting.

I also suggest that an increasing majority of Tory members would prefer Clarke, Fallon or Redwood in the Shadow Chancellor position.

"No alteration in VAT can be made without consent from Brussels"

Edward Huxley, you are wrong. The UK Government can reduce VAT to no lower than five per cent on anything it wishes provided there is a social goal attached. By this I mean the Government could reduce VAT for building repair and maintenance work to bring empty homes back into use or to make it easier for people to make "green" imrpovements to their homes.

I think resident leftie is purposely inventing their own way that this would never work - of course it will be as pp says and not just a big cheque... but then on the occaisions that labour have taken up ideas from the conservatives they have also implemented them in stupid ways so they would fail

I merely point out that we lack a coherent theme at the moment, and have lost ground.

My point remains. Why do you have nothing to say about this policy announcement and why do you usually bounce into action when the polls are "bad" rather than the other way around?

The new tax cut alongside the nine existing reforms (you could also mention the tax simplification agenda) is beginning to add up to something very worthwhile.

Voters don't know the difference between a £10bn and a £2.6bn tax cut. Today keeps us in the game.

There is no political narrative to these announcements; no coherence and no strong message at all. Cameron and Osborne are looking at an open goal. Labour could have been far more radical in their promises and not commited to Tory spending plans and still got into power in 1997.

Cameron and Osborne are far too fearful of suggesting spending restraint combined with tax cuts. If Labour could stick to Tory spending plans for years, why not a public sector spending freeze in all departments other than the big headliners, combined with a big hike in the tax free allowance funded by the abolition of tax credits, and a very low tax business environment with the removal of all these silly allowances?


You perhaps need a spell in the real world for a while...

I'm mid-40's, the last generation that had an outside netty and a tap in the yard, and my father, working for the Coal Board, spent a full year out of work during the madness of the miners strike. I know all about worrying where the next meal was coming from - I witnessed it first hand, and sent money home whilst serving my country to help alleviate problems.

I'd love the economic position to be able to withstand massive individual tax breaks, but we appear to be way beyond that now - the not-so-prudent chancellor's irresponsible spending put paid to that.

I say again, not much point having massive individual tax breaks if you're not in work.

Of course, if you're a cynical lefty politician and are crunching the numbers, you might wish to disregard those about to lose their jobs as they will still be a minority?

What a load of rubbish.

I'm a taxpayer and a small business owner. This scheme is nothing more than a administrative nightmare. WHO is going to pay for the army of HMRC people administering this (and checking we're not "conning" them???) - answer - ME.

As a business owner I DO NOT WANT "tax credits", I want TAX CUTS. Haven't we already got enough people on benefit without adding businesses to the list?

How will this help businesses struggling under the Brown burden? It won't.

FFS get back so some proper conservatism. Small government, low taxes, less nanny, a benefit system that's a safeguard not a way of life.

I have to say I detest Brown, but he's coming over a damn sight better than the tories who seem like little kids way out of their depth.

So a struggling small company which has been recently forced to lay off a staff member due to the crunch will not be rehire that person (or a similar replacement) thanks to the tax credit (as companies who have laid people off are excluded).

In short, this proposal specifically excludes the companies who need help most.

The rules are so long and complicated, and the benefit so tiny, are you sure Cameron didn't pinch this idea off Brown?

@ Raj

With respect, I have 'bounced into action' as you put it, on many occasions between 97-05 when we were at 25% at the polls and had unelectable mannequins in our leadership positions.

The policy announced today seems sensible, but the fact remains that our whole approach in this area is piecemeal.

Labour has spent the last couple of hours merely repeating the classic Campbell/Mandelson mantra:

'the Tories tax plans don't add up'.

How have we repudiated this ?

Graeme Pirie,

At my present workplace, employees at every level are being trained (and gaining a qualification to boot) to carry out small projects that will save the company money...and hopefully our jobs.

Might I ask what you believe presently hurts businesses, and if a pareto analysis across the nation produced a similar theme from a range of different sectors, then that pareto would determine the areas that need to be tackled, as a priority, to save businesses and jobs.

It is unfortunate that the bigs things can't be carried out without political assistance.

Our unelected prime minister is now planning a huge borrowing binge for which this democratic nation has no voice. Were we consulted over the Nationalisation of the Banks? Do you really feel we will be properly informed of our true economic debts? This bears a strong similarity with the "Weapons of mass destruction" lie which triggered a shameful period in our history. We are in a very dangerous economic time where whatever decision is made will have long term effects on future generations. Yet we are at the mercy of the Prime Minister who has far too much power. Is it not time we had a General Election? But who decides this? Yes.. the unelected Gordon Brown who has spent his entire career spinning and conniving to reach his present position of ultimate power.
Liz Kemp

Camerons theme was not so much about 'what ifs' and 'if onlys'.

Camerons theme was - 'brown you can do this now, there is no reason not to - please do'.

It isn't a complete and final solution, it is some relatively simple, ready to roll, proposals that head in the right directon.

Preserving existing jobs through the recession, simplifying the creation of new jobs through the recession... giving people the tools to look after themselves, rather than relying on the taxpayer. Its the tory way.

Browns response?

Completely vacuous - anouncing that there will be an anouncement about an anouncement that will contain lots of 'serious' things - but no idea what they are yet... Also saying that once the rest of the world have said what they are doing, he will say what he is doing and show that he thought of it first...

Team Cameron certainly can't do anything before they are elected, the state of the UK economy that they inherit depends directly on how much they can influence Brown to do the right things, and not flush us futher down the toilet.

7.Lower fuel duty when oil prices are higher, higher fuel duty when prices fall;

9.Lower taxes on families funded by higher green taxes - both yet unspecified.

How do you square that particular circle?

Richard has made my point for me. We can reduce VAT PROVIDED WE DO SO WITHIN EU RULES.

I fail to see how "A six month VAT holiday" would qualify. Please tell us, Richard, if you know.

London Tory | November 11, 2008 at 11:14:

"I also suggest that an increasing majority of Tory members would prefer Clarke, Fallon or Redwood in the Shadow Chancellor position".

All of these have been on TV in the last few days and each one gives hope that the conservatives can actually talk about the economy with authority and match Vince Cable.

Add to that the excellent pamphlet written by Howard Flight "From Boom to Bust" which should be required reading for all conservatives and we have some real substance. The trouble is, not a single one of those four people is a member of the shadow treasury team.

Finally, has Howard Flight's pamphlet been sent to all political journalists and tory MPs and PPCs?

The Tories are obviously lacking some foresight, they like all others did not foresee the horrendous sub prime risk and the impending recession.

Therefore Mr Osborne is lacking some credibility as Shadow Cbancellor and I believe he will have to give way to another who has a true belief in cutting taxes and spending.

Why are none of our tax proposals funded by 'general reduction of government spending and the elimination of waste' ? We could be far more radical and effective if we start with the question: 'how much can we reduce public spending ?' rather than 'how can we tinker with the tax and allowance system to deliver headline tax cuts paid for elsewhere ?'

And the logo looks like a dreary throwback to the 1970's,rather like the current Keynesian false consensus.

"What about people who can't get a mortgage because they don't have a 10-20% deposit? Why the obsession with helping people who already have a foot on the housing ladder?"

Because getting booted off of the housing ladder because you can't afford mortgage repayments after losing your job is a very harrowing experience. Furthermore 70% of the population are homeowners. Not sure what the proportion of them with a mortgage is but I suspect mortgage relief would go down well electorally.

Indeed David,
I would like to add to those who accuse us who critise the choice of Osborne as shadow chancellor of somehow not supporting the Tory party, the reason I will vote Tory at the next election is because I believe it has the right people within its ranks of MPs to be the best team to run the country.

I just do not believe the best people have currently been selected for the Shadow cabinet.

And that is incredibly frustrating, as the Tories should be kicking Labour's arse right now, have the breadth of talent to be kicking Labour's arse but are just not doing it.

It's like having Rooney in your squad but the captain, for some clearly non-goal scoring reasons, keeps picking Darren Bent to score the goals. He may be talented, he may score the occasional cracker, but there is someone so much better who will bang in those open goals!

You obvously weren't watching football last weekend. Darren Bent scored twice to beat Man City while Rooney missed several sitters (as he did against Blackburn) as United lost to Arsenal.

"You obvously weren't watching football last weekend.."

Yes, amazing what a change of management can achieve but we were talking about replacing Osborne not Cameron! ;-)

@GB£ - goes double for me.

If we had those people on the team I would be out there as much as I was in 2005 when I gave up a job for the Party to get some experience in politics and hopefully to get a job after we'd won the election. Most of the people who are now earnestly Cameroon and berating us for carping were acting as a brake on the campaign when it was clear on the ground that things were much better than they were projected in the media and one senior Tory advisor who visited us - not a household name so not handicapped by his profile in order to be honest with us - said "people know what they want and they know how to get it".

What gets me in this is not the policy itself, it's the fanfare of tax cuts and the reality of the announcement. "Is that it?" comes to mind.

We need radical corporation tax cuts to stimulate the process of wealth creation. While NI is a real burden on employment (the reason Poland had 18% unemployment while I was there in 2003 was that their NI equivalent equated to half as much again on top of a salary; hence a huge grey economy and no legitimate jobs coupled with a huge deficit in revenue and thus poor public services in what should be the Spain of Eastern Europe) this goes nowhere towards job creation and actual stimulation of employment. It is window dressing and extremely disappointing.

If Cameron wants Brown to implement this, why doesn't he go and work in Downing Street or the Treasury as an adviser and forget the Conservatives? We can do much better.

@Raj, if things are going well, then no need to complain. If they're not, then there is something to discuss and argue about.

NOT IMPRESSED! This is a good start but on it's own is not enough. I hate to say it but the Lib Dem policy should be ours as well. Tax cuts for businesses as well as low and middle earners. I fear Cameron and Osborne are doing what MCain did offering tax cuts to business saying it will create/keep jobs whilst Obama offered personal tax cuts. The electorate always have and always will vote with their pocket. Also this policy is too complicated we need something simple and effective.

What happened to increasing substantially the tax allowance? This is a total let down. We need something big that the public easily gets and is actually going to put a decent amount of money into people's pockets and give them a reason to vote Conservative.

What on earth has the Tory party become?? I completely despair of the present Conservative leadership. Can you just imagine for a moment what the situation would be if Margaret Thatcher was now leader of the opposition. She would take this useless Labour government to pieces. Brown would be a broken man within days. Instead we have absolutely nothing but silly PR stunts and cowardly silence. We keep hearing all this crap about how Cameron can’t reveal his hand because Brown would steal his ideas. What complete codswallop, as if Browns going to steal ideas about massive tax cuts and rolling back the bloated public sector. The Conservative leadership needs to get out and sell Conservative ideas just like they did in 1979. There are enough voters out there not part of Labours public sector client state that will vote and bring victory. It worked in 1979 and will work again if only Dave Cameron would get out and show a bit of political courage. He must surely realise now that victory will have to be won, sitting back and waiting for it to simply fall into his lap isn’t going to work, it is time for Dave to get some cojones and start by replacing Osborne.

We really have hit rock bottom, Nick Clegg has just gone on the TV saying that Dave is "timid" when it comes to tax cuts. A LibDem calling someone timid, whatever next?

Clegg is right though. I am starting to think Dave doesn't really want to be PM.

Dave's cunning plan has gone down like a lead balloon with business and right wing bloggers alike.

Nil point Dave. BTW check out Paul Waugh at the Evening Standard:

Business says Cam plan won't work

"FOOTNOTE. In the old days, business groups were quietly squared off by the Tories to check they would weigh in behind their proposals before they were made public. Is this discreet practice now dead?"

Hate to say it but it doesnt sound right. The headline figures sound all lovely, but for some reason it doesnt sit quite right...might have something to do with resident leftie haviong a point for once about the adverse impacts it might have.

What about cutting the hundreds of quangos Labour have set up instead of this pie in the sky guff,we need something with real meat not this namby pamby stuff.Raise tax thresholds for the lower paid that would really help to put money into peoples pockets and start them spending.Their are billions to be saved which could be used to better purpose than this,it's no wonder we are sinking in the polls.

Several months ago I was lambasted on this site for saying that I felt that Cameron and Osborne weren't up to the job. They aren't offering me anything on Europe (I want Britain to pull out of Europe), immigration (I want Britain to shut the door for at least another 10 years to give the country a chance to stablilize and kick out all the work shirkers), on Iraq and Afganistan ( I want Britain to withdraw from both of these wars they are unwinnable and very expensive - nuke the bastards if they keep bombing us) on Taxation ( I want tax free allowances increased to £18,000 and a flat rate of income tax of say 25% and abolishment of NI, IHT etc.,), ID Card and NHS computer systems scrapped and finally I want the BBC to be sold off and the TV Licence abolished. If Dave and George need any further help they should read the Big Book of Government Tax Waste by the Tax Payers Alliance and they should also try running a small business of say 25 people for at least 6 months before they make any more stupid announcements. They are act like a pair of efing idiots.

As Tony Goldsmith at 14.26 so rightly states:

"Can you just imagine for a moment what the situation would be if Margaret Thatcher was now leader of the opposition. She would take this useless Labour government to pieces. Brown would be a broken man within days".

Several people have pointed out that we can't seem to manage any coherent economic message and others that we are not making best use of those people who are well capable of formulating and promoting a coherent plan.

We still don't need to offer too many concrete policies because much will change before we get in. But we do need to cut Brown's self-professed reputation as the best chancellor since the war to shreds and Howard Flight's excellent pamphlet provides all the ammunition.

Who have we got to use it to devastating effect?

Because getting booted off of the housing ladder because you can't afford mortgage repayments after losing your job is a very harrowing experience.

How does giving tax relief to all mortgage payers (which is what you implied) stop someone from losing their job? It doesn't. And if you lose your job and can't get another fast enough tax relief won't make a difference.

Let's assume that more than 50% of adults in the country have a mortgage. Why should we pander to the majority if the minority are the ones that need help the most?

@D Belchamber - your idea is as good as mine. We are going to have to have, in the absence of policies, a full-frontal attack and statement of values from Cameron, not just mealy-mouthed wonkery from a has-been like Flight. He would send Labour scurrying for the machinery anyway, given what happened in 2005, so we use this material at our peril.

Several months ago I was lambasted on this site for saying that I felt that Cameron and Osborne weren't up to the job.

And you should still be lambasted because your list of "I wants" is not practical. I want a lot of things too, but I can't have them all.

Brown is already telling lies about the NI proposals being 'unfunded' (with the full support of the BBC).

Brown is is a tinkerer and rearranger - he has never had a creative idea of his own (which is why he dithers until forced into somehting). Brown has nothing to say for himself of any substance, he just repeats platitudes about 'experience' and 'seriousness' - and he refers to proposals that he says will be made some time in the future.

Brown relishes over-complicated, misleading comment on tory policy - starving him of anything but simple, straight forward, unspinnable policies higlights these flaws in the labour leader.

Anything more complicated, more speculative, would just give brown the opportunity to present a more complex dialog supporting his big-lie - and if people don't understand for themselves, then they may just be daft enough to beleive him.


Jim Tague

Hi Jim, you asked what I thought would benefit us the most.

Less tax & regulation is the simple answer.

In more detail, like you, I provide training as required for the business needs, and I recruit to suit the business requirements.

Employers NI makes no sense to me. We should be paid to employ people & act as tax collectors - not charged for the privelige. I want to see this reduced or abolished. "Credits" is no way to do it, thats just an extension of Browns client state.

Because I deal in the domestic service industry, VAT is a major killer for me - it's effectively straight off my bottom line. Year on year corporation taxes are not very welcome either!

My big objection to all the taxes I pay, is that I see a huge proportion of them being wasted. As an example, I fail to see how RDAs, training initiatives etc benefit anyone except the creation of civil service jobs. I say leave it to the experts (us), close RADs, stop silly training gimmicks and reduce our taxes.

Posted by: Pat Guide | November 11, 2008 at 14:58

Want to be PM? - I'll vote for you ;-)

Everything I asked for on my list could be delivered.

So could 3% of GDP spent on defence, but you don't see me ranting about the leadership because they won't commit to it.

As for your list, it is complete nonsense. People who come to the UK to work...well, WORK. If you get rid of them the workforce gets a hole in it. If the workforce can't sustain them they have to go home. Most of the shirkers are Brits, and you can't send them off to Australia.

On spending, yes just cut the fat. Now why is it that no one ever seems to manage that? Umm, maybe because it's harder than backseat drivers say?

"Brown is already telling lies about the NI proposals being 'unfunded' (with the full support of the BBC)."

Yes, doubly so when Gordon Brown in his press conference sought to bad mouth Conservative proposals as unfunded, when his U turn on the 10p tax rate was unfunded, which he now claims as a fiscal stimulus, then went on to criticise funded tax proposals in his press conference because they weren't a fiscal stimulus.

It seems he wants it which ever way he argues, even opposing positions in the same press conference, which of course the BBC kindly over looks.

"Let's assume that more than 50% of adults in the country have a mortgage. Why should we pander to the majority if the minority are the ones that need help the most?"

Because mortgage owners are disporportionately middle class and therefore more likely to vote.

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