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IEA - Focus on the economy, not planning our lives

Reaction to the launch of the Conservative Party's Manifesto

Commenting on the launch of the Conservative Manifesto, Mark Littlewood, Director-General at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

This manifesto promises us that the Conservatives have a plan for every stage of our lives. It’s highly doubtful that there are many voters who want David Cameron and George Osborne to plan their lives from cradle to grave. This is a missed opportunity by the Conservative Party to put forward a strategy for a growing and successful economy which allows individuals to make their own plans for their own prosperity.”

“Given the Conservative Party’s moderate success in restoring much-needed economic growth to the UK, it is surprising to see this manifesto focus on giveaways rather than their relative economic competence.”

On the extension of Right to Buy, Mark Littlewood, said:

"All of the evidence suggests that when you transfer the housing stock away from state ownership and into the hands of individual citizens, they feel a greater stake in society. This proposal does, though, dodge the real issue with the high cost of housing. What Britain needs is more housing, which can only come from a significant relaxation in planning laws.”

“Given the UK’s high proportion of housing in the state sector compared to our continental neighbours, we should be taking a leaf out of the book of our European partners who have almost all housing in private hands."

On the Conservative Party’s announcements on tax, Mark Littlewood, said:

“The Conservative Party’s plans on tax are good news for people across the UK. Growth, saving and investment are all strengthened when people are allowed to keep more of their hard-earned cash, so commitments not to raise VAT, Income Tax and National Insurance should be welcome relief for taxpayers.

“The rise of the 40p tax threshold will make up for years of under-indexation which has unfairly dragged millions of middle-earners into the rate, whilst an increase in the inheritance tax threshold is long overdue and a great principle. Bequests encourage investment and enterprise, although this is a missed opportunity to simplify, and ultimately abolish the tax.”

On the maintenance of the pensions triple-lock, Mark Littlewood, said:

“Maintaining the triple-lock is completely unjustifiable by any standard economic rationale. It’s hard to defend this policy on the grounds of fairness when working-age welfare has been increased much more slowly. Ultimately, the retired shouldn't be the main beneficiaries of the hard work and efforts of the young.”

On the extension of free childcare to 30 hours a week, Mark Littlewood, said:

“The Conservative Party have correctly identified the problem of skyrocketing childcare costs, but today’s proposal abjectly fails to understand the reasons behind this. Heavy state regulation on staff qualifications and safety measures has resulted in childcare becoming more unaffordable than ever. Childcare in the UK is already subsidised to the tune of £7 billion and counting.

“Further subsidies will do nothing to address the underlying causes of the high cost of childcare in the UK, but merely transfer more of the cost to taxpayers. Deregulating the sector as well as shifting the emphasis away from childcare becoming a form of pre-primary education would bring down costs considerably.”

Notes to editors:

To arrange an interview please contact: Stephanie Lis, Head of Communications on  0207 799 8900 or 07766 221 268.

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.
 

The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.

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