BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom – David Cameron used his party conference speech to pledge his party would be the “trade union for the hardworking”. He promised tax cuts, more starter homes and the lowest level of corporation tax in the G20.
Cameron promised to increase the income tax threshold to £12,500, meaning that anyone on the minimum wage would be exempt. The policy of taking people out of tax was started by the Liberal Democrats, when they promised to raise the threshold to £10,000.
It was a policy that most Conservatives felt they should have advocated in 2010, so the Chancellor has already raised it to £10,500 to exceed the Liberal Democrat pledge. Raising it further will take millions out of tax, but crucially it is a tax cut for everyone.
Cameron also pledged to increase threshold for the top rate of income tax to £50,000. The two tax cuts taken together will not be cheap but the Prime Minister claimed the “long-term economic plan” had delivered enough to make it possible. The increase in income tax threshold alone will cost £8bn. He also claimed to be confident about cutting £25bn in public spending in the next parliament.
He also promised more homes for first-time buyers, a total of 100,000 new homes. His hope will be that offering tax cuts and more homes he can galvanise middle England into sticking with the Conservatives.
On Europe he repeated his pledge to give the British people an in out referendum on the EU. Along with a commitment to scrap the Human Rights Act in favour of a British Bill of Rights. This would deny judges in Strasbourg the ability to dictate to the government how they run the country.
There was also a couple of shouty moments when he maintained that ISIS terrorists would not be allowed back in the UK. He said: “You are an enemy of the UK, and you should expect to be treated as such.” He was also visibly angry about the Labour suggestion that he would dismantle the NHS.
Ultimately Cameron has framed the election as the competent Conservatives versus the risk of Labour. However, before anyone jumps for joy about the pledges, they are highly unlikely to be brought in until the books are balanced in 2018.