06 June 2007

Your Most Wanted Policies

Gordon Brown in a blizzardIt is now just three weeks until Gordon Brown becomes our Prime Minister, so it is time for an update on our short term campaign to compile a list of suggestions for the policy blitz that David Cameron is planning to unleash to prevent the new PM from dominating the political scene. Since the survey was launched, 1250 visitors have left just eight ideas—more of a drizzle than a blizzard... So, don't be shy, tell us in the comments what policy you would most like to see the Conservatives introduce (or re-introduce or repeal, perhaps). Feel free to comment anonymously if you don't want to admit treasuring an idea that might be out of vogue—you might discover you're not the only one!

Don't forget, the six categories are:

  • Making our economy more competitive
  • Improving our quality of life
  • Public service improvement
  • Protecting our security
  • Social justice
  • Globalisation & global poverty
Evening UPDATE: Tax-News.com claims that the average Briton is effectively paying ten pence more on the pound in income tax as a result of Gordon Brown's ten years reign at the Treasury and notes "The government’s own figures show that 3.5 million taxpayers now pay tax at the higher rate of 40% - a 58% rise since the Labour government came to power in 1997." Sadly, simply moving Brown out of Number Eleven probably won't make our economy any more competitive without more drastic change right across Westminster.


Power to the People said...

From today's Democracy Taskforce proposals for Parliamentary reform:
Enhanced scrutiny
- An End to Sofa Government, decisions to commit British troops to combat, and treaty ratifications (including ministers' actions in the EU), should require prior parliamentary approval
- There should be more scope to link petitions to debates in Westminster Hall whereby if enough people sign an online petition in favour of a particular motion, then a debate is held in Parliament, followed by a vote

Anonymous said...

The Party has to give more positive encouragement to people to make provision for their retirement through pension schemes. Confidence has been badly eroded by Gordon Brown's taxation of pension dividend income - a measure that we did not oppose nearly strongly enough - and by the near collapse of pension providers like Equitable Life where there was a failure of the regulatory authorities. There is a generation (mine!) who will be badly hit by the effects of Labour policy and are now too far advanced in their working life to make alternative provision for their old age. Their children are also aware of this and that affects their view of the need to save for retirement. Helping those who can help themselves must be at the kernel of Tory policy, so that we are better able to help those who genuinely cannot.

From Sir Michael Hirst, former MP and Scottish Party Chairman

Rory Anderson said...

Go even further than Gordon Brown in bringing Income Tax and National Insurance closer together - merge them. Given the different treatment they currently receive (e.g. relief on giving and pensions contributions from Income Tax but not from NI) it's clearly not a trivial task and the eventual rates would need serious thought, but successful implementation would leave the system simpler and leaner.

Donald Burling said...

My wife and I bought our first house in 1971 for 7,000 pounds, which was about what we could afford on my salary. Soon after that the then Conservative government relaxed restrictions on lenders, with the effect that by the end of that year the price of homes had almost doubled. From then on ability to repay mortgages has been assessed on the basis that husband and wife will continue to be in paid employment. This deprived married women of the choice of staying at home to devote themselves to domestic duties.

Any attempt to remedy this will need to be carefully thought out, but I submit the following scheme for consideration:

1. Lenders on mortgage to a couple buying jointly should be forbidden to lend more than a given multiple of the man's earnings. This should bring down the price of homes, even if initially it causes problems for first-time buyers.

2. When a house or flat is sold, the mortgage should be deemed to be cleared from the proceeds of the sale. This should relieve borrowers of the worry of negative equity. There would need to be some safeguard against fraud, e.g. sale to a friend or relative at less than the market price.

3. Estate agents should be required to charge a fee based on the amount of work required rather than a percentage of the sale price. They would then have no incentive to push prices up.

4. Lenders should be forbidden to demand repayments at any time when the borrower is registered as unemployed.

5. For people starting small businesses, alternative sources of finance should be made available that do not require putting the entrepreneur's home at risk. On the continent, particularly in Belgium, that is achieved through "Mutual Guarantee Societies" - this should be investigated.

The scarcity problem will have to be faced. Funds could be made available to any person or organisation - local authority, housing association or business - that submits satisfactory plans for building social housing with a minimum of amenity damage. There could also be grants for bringing unused or under-used properties into occupation.