BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom – Prime Minister David Cameron has used his final party conference speech before next year’s general election to launch a tax cutting agenda designed to win over the wavering voters the party needs to cling to power.
In a wide-ranging speech to the Conservative Party conference at Birmingham, the Prime Minister pledged to raise the income tax threshold, taking the majority of workers on the minimum wage out of income tax all together, while also raising the 40p tax rate threshold from £41,900 to £50,000.
In a speech designed to put the Conservative Party on a campaign footing for the next general election, the Prime Minister also promised that Britain will have to most competitive corporate tax rate in the G20, although he called on multinational companies to stop tax avoiding schemes.
The most emotional moment came when Cameron spoke his disabled son, praising the NHS for his care and condemning Labour for claiming his party will attack Britain’s nationalised health service. In a moment of anger, he strongly criticised Labour’s claims and exclaimed “how dare you” in a clear attempt to show that his party can be trusted to manage the health service, one of its weakest areas according to polling.
In a further attempt to distance the party from its rich-man image, Cameron also pledged to increase home ownership by building 100,000 new houses that will be 20 percent cheaper than normal, and ban buy-to-let landlords from purchasing them.
Although he shied away from mentioning the MPs who have defected to UKIP, and spoke relatively little on Europe, he did pledge to take on the European Court of Human Rights, accusing it of misinterpreting the original European human rights charter and imposing unacceptable judgments on Britain. He promised to scrap the Human Rights Act and replace it with a new British “Bill of Rights”, a pledge that receive warm applause from the delegates.
In terms of foreign policy, the Prime Minister reiterated his support for air strikes against the self-proclaimed Islamic State, describing the organisation as “evil, pure and simple” and saying that Britain “cannot opt out” of taking on the terror group. If the country didn’t act, he warned, IS could bring “terror and murder to our streets”.
As the next election approaches, the Prime Minister will be hoping that this speech will make him seem like a credible leader and boost his party in the polls.
Despite the Labour Party’s conference last week being largely seen as a disaster, with Ed Miliband’s speech widely mocked, the party continues to lead in the polls, making it highly likely they will win the next election under Britain’s system.
Cameron now needs to hope that more defections to UKIP do not distract from his message today.