In my speech to York University Conservatives last week I pointed out that the UK coalition government is now halfway through its anticipated 5-year term. The first half has been dominated by the need to rescue the nation’s finances from the disastrous black hole into which Gordon Brown and his Labour government had sucked them. The second half should stress essential reforms and a pro-growth agenda. I set out a programme that might just fall within the range of what the coalition might be able to put through.
I started by suggesting that income tax and National Insurance should be combined, recognizing reality, and that the minimum income for paying income tax should be £12,500 (which is roughly the minimum age). The most pro-growth reform would be to allow small businesses to treat their employees as self-employed, removing nearly all the non-wage costs of employment and thereby boosting job-creation.
On education I suggested they might allow for-profit schools (as in Sweden) in order to bring in investment to increase the numbers of free schools established. I called for research funds to be accessible by universities that choose to go private and free from state direction.
On the environment they should allow houses to be built on ‘brown’ (previously used) land within the green belt, and that subsidies for renewable energy should be phased out as we move to more gas-fired power generation.
I wanted the cap on skilled immigration lifted so international firms can bring in essential employees. And on welfare I suggested there might be a time limit on unemployment benefit and a lifetime limit on the amount that can be claimed. I suggested that policies such as these would get the economy moving significantly ahead of the next general election.
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