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Forgive me Tim, if I say that I am getting increasingly worried about this sort of obssessing with the 50% tax rate. This obssession with the problems of those best placed to weather the storm is held against the backdrop that the age of austerity will affect ordinary wage earners far more in proportionate terms.I don't like the 50% tax rate any more than you do, but forgive me if I don't believe that everyone by any means on that sort of salary is a wealth creator, for frankly they are not. Many,many of the entrepeneurs are raking in far less than £150,000 p.a.
Forgive me if I agree with Cameron that there are bigger priorities in tax reduction than reducing this tax.You talk Tim as though there is an infallible wisdom - almost a divine right - that the top rate HAS to be at 40%. Sorry but no - if it was so, then why did Maggie wait for 9 years before reducing it to that level.I'll tell you why, because like Cameron she was a realist and a practical politician. Sorry if I sound steamed up about this, but you are asking Cameron to do something that not even Maggie did - namely go to the electorate in the worst crisis since the 1930's and say the first thing we are going to do is to ease the burden on the better off, but by the way expect it to be really, really tough for the rest of you. It ain't on Tim - it really ain't

Very much sharing the concern. When war with Iraq II was looming we honestly believed that there were WMD out there and Bush et al were waiting the expose the true extent of the Iraqi threat once the weapon(s) had been neutralised. So we went along reluctantly with the invasion because we had faith that our great leaders would deliver some shocking truth.

But there was nothing. It was a lie or at best an elaborately embroidered half-truth.

'My fear is Fraser's fear.  I fear that there is no secret plan.  I fear that a Conservative government will do just enough to manage us away from the edge of the cliff but not enough to restore Britain as the enterprise capital of Europe again.'

We need to see evidence that our top team actually does have a solution. We need to know that when we assume power that we have a reason and a plan, a sense of purpose. Or to assume power is to make an ASS of U and ME as the saying goes.

Whatever he says or does now, Cameron is going to get the mother of all poisoned chalices from Brown. When he gets in, Dave will have nothing to offer but blood, sweat, toil and tears. In his quieter moments Cam may question whether the job of Prime Minister will be worth having by the time he gets it.

I agree with Tim and Fraser. I see no sign that Cameron is serious about doing what is really necessary to sort Britain. Whoever wins the election I fear we are back to the management of decline.

Things are going to have to change, and change dramatically at that. One feels that Labour's excessive and unnecessary borrowing was deliberately aimed at pushing Conservatives into being seen as 'cutters' whenever there is talk of tackling government debt. However, that as it may be, the case has to be made for balancing the books.

I agree with the editor in that there appears to be no great plan other than a desire to tackle govt debt. This would be a mistake because the recession has given the Conservative party an opportunity to be more bold and to be ambitious. We should promise to build our economy through manufacturing, support for the greater development of an internal market, and removing the barriers to job-creation such as anti-merger legislation and red tape on 1001 issues such as working hours, wages, and unnecessary H&S or PC practices.

An ambitious plan would completely sink Labour's claims that the Conservatives would be a 'do nothing' government. There is so much room for change and if there is a huge Conservative government there will be a visible mandate for change.

Change ought to mean change and not more of the same only better managed.

Having a plan involves working out what needs doing then identifying the most experienced people to deliver that plan and putting them in place.

If Cameron did have a plan, Osborne would not be Shadow Chancellor.

" I fear that there is no secret plan. "

Yes, there doesn't seem to be any evidence of one for you would have thought tha, in light of the budgetary crisis we are facing, some of the thinking to confront it would be hinted at, for it will take wholesale changes to the services that state delivers and the means of delivery to get on top of the problem. Yet I see no evidence of the Conservatives doing any of the detailed planning. Look at tax credits, that is the state subsidising poor wages, so on that basis you might have thought the Conservatives would by opposed to the concept, let alone the fact that is nigh on impossible to administer without losing billions. Yet Osborne intends to keep it.

First win the election! Our victory cannot be taken for granted until about 3am the day after polling day!

I am sure that Cameron does have a plan - I am not sure he'd want to share it. The more people know about something, the less likely it is to remain secret!

I suspect Tory MP's circa 1979 had the same concerns to be honest. I would like the 50% rate to be reversed, but i think it would make more electoral sense not to do it until something like year 2 of the administration.

Iain, you are spot on over tax-credits. The entire tax-credits system is designed to keep working people dependent on the state, with a resulting influence on voting patterns. Are those receiving tax-credits likely to vote for a party proposing to scrap them? Therein lies the problem. The Conservative team must make the case for an alternative based on taking the lowest earners out of taxation altogether.

"The Conservative team must make the case for an alternative based on taking the lowest earners out of taxation altogether."

Yes that is the most efficient tax credit system of all, don't take the dammed tax in the first place. No administration costs, no need to try and claw overpayments back, no state dependency, and employers made to pay a living wage. This is the sort of efficiencies the Conservatives should be looking to impliment. Another is NI, its an an income tax, so make it a bloody income tax!

"but i think it would make more electoral sense not to do it until something like year 2 of the administration.

Or you could simply ridicule Labour boldly by saying something like "to think that simplistic tax hikes to 50% will actually result in the govt successfully collecting 50% of existing people's incomes is as naive and dangerous as thinking that raising the tax rate to 100% will raise twice as much.

High tax rates actually result in a lower overall government revenues as high earners are the most mobile, and most likely to leave the UK, which at this time of record government debt is economic suicide.

It may be tempting to bash the rich but this small group of just x% actually contribute xx% of the total govt tax revenue, so scaring them off will actually lead to significantly higher taxes for everyone."

Places like this seem determined to do Brown's work for him! The 50p is a trap, clear and simple. Cameron's dealt with it brilliantly, answering that he is against it but moving the terms of debate onto NI rises for the lower paid, saying repealing that is a priority. Do what you suggest with 50p and Labour's general election campaign will have written itself.

The Conservatives share the same problem as both Labour and the Lib-Dems in that they are all led by professional career politicians, who tend to see things from the same perspective. We may have some innovative and radical thinkers amongst the Tory MPs, but, with the possible exception of Micheal Gove, they do not feature in Cameron's shadow cabinet.
Cameron is certainly a skilful political operator, and will probably win the election, but that does not necessarily mean that he will make a good Prime Minister.
He will face a critical energy shortage, almost certainly during his first term of office, yet he has shown little awareness of the seriousness of this and is still wittering on about green energy and having to comply with the totally impractical and unachievable EU emissions targets.

Whatever we choose to do it will be a battle to gain acceptance.People posting on this site should keep in mind who the enemy really is.It is not George Osborne who has given this country a public debt which consumes 12% of GDP it is Gordon Brown.He and he alone pored millions into public services without insisting upon any reform.

It is absoluely imperative that we obliterate this Government and no other consideration comes close to this.Please temper your critiques with this simple fact in mind.We are on the brink of the opportunity to end Labour for good!!

"The 50p is a trap"

LOL. Of course it is, but leaving cheap politics out of it, it is actually much, much more than a political trap, it is a dangerous policy that will lower government revenue.

Cameron needs to be bold enough to step above political fighting and do what is right for Britain.

David @ 11:06,
Who's to say the taxodus of people will return after 2 terms of a Tory govt if they lower it in the future? Britain may be losing a permanent stream of revenue, and to let this happen for fear of standing up to political tricks displays a weakness that is not compatible with running Britain at this time of economic crisis and sterring it to recovery.

In September 2007, George Osborne pledged to match Labour's spending totals until 2010/11, committing a Conservative government to increase spending from £615 billion in 2008/09 to £674 billion in 2010/11.

In September 2007, David Cameron was still praising monetary authorities for delivering stability!

I think it is safe to say there is no secret plan.

I expect they're probably playing it safe for the time being, as every time they announce a policy, Labour steal it and claim it as their own!
Most recently, "Gordon Brown" announced a Community Service style arrangement for the under 19's. Sound familiar? You bet it does.

Cameron's decontamination of the Tory party has been achieved because he has had the good sense to ignore this kind of thinking. He hasn't splurged out policy announcements full of true conservative 'red meat' because he knew Labour would either steal such policies or denounce them to Kingdom Come as nasty Thatcherism.

Now is the time to leave the spotlight on Brown and let the anger of the media and public tear him apart. But for us to come out with a huge programme of specific public spending cuts would be the only thing that could save this most disastrous of Prime Ministers.

Hilarious that Cameron is saying Brown is a spendaholic. Until 6 months ago he was pledge to match Labour spending.

Cameron needs to leave the 50p rate where it is. There are bigger fish to fry. The 50p rate will not come in to effect until April 2010 and with 2 months (at the most) there will be an election. If Cameron believes the 50p rate is damaging he can ditch it straightaway.

The 50p rate may be very short lived. It may stillborn if Labour go belly up later this year.

For now, forget 50p unless you frame it in the same style that they have done over on PB.com - a brilliant example of how the 50p rate affects many lower earners.

The 50p issue is almost an irrelevance in the overall scheme of things. It would be comforting to think that the Conservatives would be able in the manifesto to outline a complete overhaul of the tax and benefit system based on simplicity and common sense that might well do away with the need for a 50p level immediately.

As Tony Makara suggested at 10.27, echoed by Iain immediately afterwards:

"The Conservative team must make the case for an alternative based on taking the lowest earners out of taxation altogether."

This is equitable and so morally right that it should be brought in without delay. It would give the Conservatives a moral advantage over Labour (though already announced by the Lib Dems) that even the left wing media would have difficulty in arguing against.

"Cameron needs to be bold enough to step above political fighting and do what is right for Britain."

Maybe he will. But why do you want him to announce in advance that he will? That is precisely what Gordon Brown wants - his last throw of the dice is that the Conservatives will fall into this trap, allowing him to portray them as the enemies of the masses and thereby cling to power by his fingernails.

If you really believe that getting the 50p tax rate reversed is best for Britain then you must also conclude that allowing Labour a fighting chance to stay in power is not. It should be enough for you for DC to scrap the 50 p rate, he doesn't have to lose the f*ing election over it.

For goodness sake, it wasn't long ago that the Editor was advocating a "wait and see" strategy to the public finances. Now he's done a volte face and demands a fully fledged shadow budget. It's getting ridiculous.

If you're not sure that the leadership has a plan for cutting expenditure then you simply haven't been bothering to listen. Cameron went on Radio 4 this week and was about as clear as could be expected about his spending cuts strategy:
Drop unaffordable big ticket projects (ID cards, Contact database etc.)
Reform transfers (tax credits etc.)
Reduce public sector pay (especially in the 'quangocracy')

Given that we're going to be digging ourselves out of this godawful mess for the next 20 years, this means that how we get the best out of what remains becomes very important (no-one these days would be impressed with public services stuck in a 1985-timewarp). Hence, you've had Clarke, Hammond and Cameron talking about empowering frontline staff and decentralising control - in order that efficiencies and improvements can happen at the 'coalface' by trusting the professionals to do their jobs.

How are people who supposedly follow British politics professionally not keeping up with this?

"he doesn't have to lose the f*ing election over it.

ROFTL! Well with the latest YouGov poll showing the public rate Osborne as low as Darling, you can hardly argue that the Tories are winning the economic argument.

While I think the Chancellor is an idiotic socialist and deplore the proposed 45% and 50% rate on high earners, ccrrect me if I am wrong, but surely these people do not pay the higher rate on all their earnings - they get the same allowances and lower tax bands as the rest of us.

With regard to people like Michael Caine threatening to leave the country, well if he wants to go and live somewhere like Switzerland just to save tax, that`s up to him. And the so called high fliers with great talent, where are the opportunities abroad today I`d like to know?

Best thing is stay here, grumble and try to get things changed.

Oh please 'secret plans'. I didn't realise this site had become one of those ludicrous, hysterical conspiracy sites.

I really can't be bothered to give a considered response to this hysterical nonsense. Nelson is running around like a headless chicken (we need a plan!, we need a plan!).

Thank God Cameron and Osborne are not panic ridden as Nelson seems to be. There are TWELVE MONTHS before the likely General Election and much can change (just imagine a gilt strike for example). If a plan was announced now, chances are it would need to be torn up before the General Election. What does that achieve? The Conservatives can’t do anything for at least 6 months yet in campaigning terms.

If I were the Nelson I would not give up his day job (as pitiful as his current offering is) because he evidently knows little about politics, nothing about planning and nothing about strategy.

As for the reversal of the 50p tax hike - Cameron has made it clear he will get rid of it when he can but it does not take priority over things which affect the majority such as the reversal of the NI rises. That is the right approach - the many over the privileged few.

Now I'm sorry that the rich kids are going to be squeezed for a while, and I'm sorry if they feel they are too cash strapped (effectively just plain selfish) and have to run away to some tax haven but their complaining doesn't stand up to scrutiny when there are people losing their jobs, their businesses and their homes through little or no fault of their own!

The rich will just have to wait for a while and feel the pain like the rest of us. Now is that too much too ask?

Well, I certainly hope that all those bods working at CSJ and other Think Tanks, funded by Party Donors, have cunning plans. If they don't, I can see a flight of funds. I have argued for more disclosure of policies, but do accept the huge thievery of Labour as mitigating against it.

50p Tax: My favourite line of the day is on BBC Teletext:
Bra boss withdraws Labour Support


On a more directed note, the link below says Darling and others are saying the 50p tax rate is really on a temporary measure. In which case I think it possible to argue that killing it off after a suitable period is well on the agenda, no problems. Harping on about it is a waste of a time and energy.


With Tony Makara and Iain, I am in full agreement that the tax credits in particular, and the tax regime as a whole need a thorough examination to re-align goals and outcomes. I hope that George and the boys have been looking at this.

NI is no longer a hypothecated tax, and hasn't been for years. I agree it should go so that the deceitful shenannigans practised by Labour in claiming they are not implementing tax rises go with it.

Simplicity and transparency to be the watchword of the Tory Party going forward, as opposed to the complexity and obfuscation of Labour.

Shouldn't that be Comrade William Blakes Ghost?

"Now I'm sorry that the rich kids are going to be squeezed for a while, and I'm sorry if they feel they are too cash strapped (effectively just plain selfish) and have to run away to some tax haven but their complaining doesn't stand up to scrutiny when there are people losing their jobs, their businesses and their homes through little or no fault of their own!"

You apear to be mistaking ConHome for the Socialist Worker forum. The chip on your shoulder and bile directed at the successful will go down well there.

All these folk suggesting that we should trust to the good sense of Cameron & Co, and of course they'll do the right thing but it would be unwise to say so just yet, are precisely the target market for double glazing salesmen. Talk about the triumph of hope over experience...
I'm sure we're all waiting with bated breath to hear that Cameron speech in Cheltenham.

"I'm sure we're all waiting with bated breath to hear that Cameron speech in Cheltenham.

He does deliver great speeches though. Cameron speeches are political poppers; they deliver an instant high that fades equally as quickly.

I'm sure we'll see many Roons delirious later having inhaled too deeply.

ToryBlog, your pessimism is overpowering. Why do you even bother coming here? You judge David Cameron without even hearing him, thats not passing a judgement, thats pure prejudice.

"ToryBlog, your pessimism is overpowering. Why do you even bother coming here?"

#1 Hannan.
#2 Carswell.
#3 To laugh at your loony tunes socialist friendly balanced economy ramblings.

Peter Buss:
I accept your arguments. But I think Gordon has acted in a very malicious scatter-brained and scatter-gunned way that has not perhaps been addressed.
People think anybody on those sums are Bankers or work in the Finance Industry and in being squeezed are justifiably being punished for their hubris and carelessness. The Rich are, in this scenario, the Bankers and only the Bankers. That is why it is a demagogic elephant trap to make it a priority for repeal.
Over the next few months I would like to see a Conservative argument put forward highlighting the vindictive and demagogic nature of Gordon's response , and also highlighting the fact that many entrepreneurs , Doctors, Lawyers, Manufacturers were not part of the Banking Crisis and that in fact taxes here will affect jobs directly. Small practices will employ less support staff, or more part-time workers. Once that message gets across and is accepted by the general public. then the elephant trap goes away.
If Gordon wants to punish the bankers, the employees who are not wealth creators as you rightly point out, he needs a different mechanism than the scattergun and scatterbrained malice his budget(and if the papers are to be believed today, it really was Gordon's budget) has delivered.

This lack of a clear plan has been my concern as well for some time. To be far to G.O. and D.C. it is only now becoming apparent just how bad our national situation is. Even the darn media is starting to ask awkward questions. May was pressed today but was unable to give anything more than very vague hints of cuts. I will grant that she admitted that Job notifications are low, and although she didn't say so it undermines welfare reform in the short term. Some of the problem has been down to the dishonesty of the Labour administration that gave the impression that all was well with our economy right up to the moment it came so close to terminal collapse. I say to the leadership that we must have figures and soon, and they should be willing to trust the public to back them. Talk of austerity measures is a good start but excatly what we mean has to be defined. I know D.C. has been given a set of very bad breaks indeed, but unless he can come up with concrete figures all then talk of cuts will start to sound like hot air. I hope W.H. has given up his outside interests because we really are going to need our best people to work 100% of the time on sorting out the mess Nu-Labour have left for us. Trust the public with the bad news, that way we will have a mandate for real action.

Tom H

Care to mention something else that happened in September 2007? Clue: Northern Rock.

Did change the equations somewhat, perhaps you will agree.

So, if you do then yo can stop trying to make political capital about the Tories changing their budgetary policies to meet circumstances. It would be hardly competent to publish a budget 3 years in advance and stick to it through thin and thinner.

Tony Makara:
"You judge David Cameron without even hearing him.."
We just heard him. Told you so.

Further to my post at 13.02, I do hope that the Conservative plan is to go forth and simplify.

I hope they will aim to raise the initial tax threshold to the current subsistence level (even if over a few years), simplify the benefit system so that benefit claimants receive in effect a weekly wage or monthly salary instead of a number of dribs and drabs (all of which require horrendous forms), amalgamate NI with IT and then look at introducing a flat tax to cover the lot.

David Belchamber, good idea. We should make the unemployed waged and offer either structured public works programmes or short-term periods of waged work with local MBCs. No-one should be allowed to suffer continual unemployment, we must do this if we are to tackle poverty.

The benefits system is too complicated and has too many loopholes. How bizarre it is that under this government a person can claim more in benefits such as tax-credits than they could claim as JSA if unemployed.

The benefits system under Labour is literally upside down.

"Tom H
Care to mention something else that happened in September 2007? Clue: Northern Rock.
Did change the equations somewhat, perhaps you will agree."


My point is that Cameron and Osborne have shown themselves to have been behind the curve again and again and again.

Thus to expect them to have a secret plan, would presuppose that they are somehow ahead of the curve. Past evidence demonstrates that this is unrealistic.

And Northern Rock in Sep 2007? Well Victor, there were people warning about crazed monetary policies, asset bubbles, rising debt levels and a looming correction, long, long before September 2007.

People like Bill Bonner at the Daily Reckoning, the guys at the Mises Institute/ LewRockwell.com, Ron Paul - all these people were sounding such warnings in articles and speeches, day in, day out, for years. The evidence is on their websites.

I'm not an expert but I was aware of what they had been saying. I don't expect Cameron to be an expert either, however, if he had just possessed even a vague awareness of what people outside Establishment circles had been saying about the West's financial situtation over the course of many years, then he would have been unable to talk about monetary stability in Sep 2007.

As for me making political capital. Well, let's just say that I obviously have a completely different idea of what politics should be about from you since the concept is meaningless to me.

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