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The Conservative manifesto launched earlier today is a document that tries to please everyone.
Economically, it is a definite lurch to the left. There are commitments to the national living wage and more workers’ rights. There are attacks on businesses with the Government thinking it is its job to interfere in executive pay, and new powers to effectively block any takeover of a UK company from overseas investors. George Osborne promised in 2010 that the deficit would be eliminated by 2015. Now we are told that the deficit will be eliminated by 2025. Don’t bet your house that it will be! A commitment to keep “taxes as low as possible”, is about as woolly as it gets. Expect tax rises.
As has been previously announced, a Conservative Government would cap energy prices. This interference in the market will only result in fewer, cheaper deals for customers. What we need is a freer energy market with more competition.
It is disappointing to see that the Conservatives plan to continue with the policy of spending 0.7% of GDP on foreign aid, however, we welcome the commitment to spend at least 2% of GDP on defence.
We also welcome the commitment to end the triple-lock on pensions and an end to winter fuel payments for those pensioners who can comfortably afford their energy bills.
This manifesto talks of fairer markets, rather than freer markets. Freedom doesn’t really get a look in. Theresa May, though, is guaranteeing a proper Brexit, with the UK leaving both the Single Market and the Customs Union, which in itself frees the UK from the stranglehold of the European Union.
Whilst the manifesto acknowledges the advantages of the gig economy, it is extremely woolly in its response on how it will seek to regulate it. We hope that a future Conservative Government will not go over the top and accept that for many people, the gig economy presents a useful way to supplement their income.
It is also disappointing to see that the Conservatives have ditched their long held policy of removing us from the European Convention of Human Rights.
For us, this manifesto is like the curate’s egg. Theresa May needs to be careful that she doesn’t put too many pressures, regulation, and costs on business, as this will slow down the economy and inevitably slow down job creation. At a time when we need to be firing on all cylinders, this is the last thing the country needs.