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Conservative conference: George Osborne tells Tories he is not for turning

8 October 2012

8 October 2012

 

George Osborne began his conference speech by pointing out that two years into government, Ted Heath had flinched on the economy and lost while Margaret Thatcher had kept on and won. Osborne’s message was, I’m determined to be Thatcher not Heath.

The Chancellor’s allies clearly knew this was an important speech for him. Several times, Michael Gove — probably, Osborne’s closest friend in Cabinet — started to clap before the applause line had finished been delivered.

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One strategic objective of the speech was to try and win back the ‘one nation’ mantra that ‘we’re all in this together’ for the Tories. Osborne delivered one of his most robust defences yet of his decision to cut 50p, arguing that ‘it’s a completely phony conception of fairness’ to stick with a tax that you know raises no money. He wanted to show he’s striving for fairness at the top and the bottom. There’ll be a further clampdown on tax avoidance and evasion and a possible new tax on the wealthy combined with another £10 billion of welfare cuts.

The new policies Osborne announced in the speech were tax breaks for growth. One is a clever way of fusing together the Beecroft changes to employment law with the Lib Dem interest in employee ownership. It’ll see employees able to trade various of their employment rights for shares in their company. No existing employee will be able to be forced to take up this offer. But companies will be able to hire on this basis from next April. The scheme will, I expect, be popular with fast-growing small and medium sized enterprises.

There’ll also be a new, more generous tax regime for shale gas in an attempt to encourage more fracking. It’ll be intriguing to hear what the Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey, no shale enthusiast, makes of this.

The Tories’ big argument this week is that the world has changed and Britain needs a government that has grasped what that means which Labour hasn’t. Osborne praised the ‘silent revolution’ that the coalition is undertaking to make Britain more competitive for the future—education and welfare reform, improving infrastructure and structural change to the economy. But this revolution is going to need to be more audible if the Tories are going to win a second term.


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Show comments
  • dalai guevara

    Deficit cut by 25% as per leaflet? Lies Lies More Lies!

  • David Lindsay

    “Workers can have ownership or rights, but not both.”

    So says the Coalition.

    The alternative to this piece of pernicious nonsense could not be more obvious.

    Ed Miliband and Jon Cruddas, over to you.

  • David Lindsay

    “Workers can have ownership or rights, but not both.”

    So says the Coalition.

    The alternative to this piece of pernicious nonsense could not be more obvious.

    Ed Miliband and Jon Cruddas, over to you.

  • dalai guevara

    George Osborne is catching up with reality – companies are urged to hand out shares of their businesses in return for employment rights. Is that what he means when employees in their 10s of thousands have been sacked left right and centre over the past years, only to be re-employed as self-employed ‘consultants’, and circumventing PAYE?

    Lightweight.

  • philip sayers

    this is one sick and twisted man. the majority of this rags readers should hang their heads in shame for voting this imbicile in.

  • El_Sid

    Shale gas needs tax subsidies? But all the WeVils keep telling us that shale gas is cheap gas!
    Could it be that in the real world outside the Westminster village shale gas isn’t quite as economic as it is hyped to be?

    • Daniel Maris

      Er, yes…like new nuclear it could prove an expensive bequest to your children.

      Fracking in the big open USA is one thing…fracking in Blackpool, Liverpool and Manchester is quite another matter in terms of cost.

      I don’t say no, but I do say proceed with extreme caution.

  • Chris lancashire

    Osborne is quite right, stick to Plan A and ignore the mid-term wobbles. Oh, and cut a bit more.

    • Daniel Maris

      At what point would you admit that Plan A isn’t working. If, for example, our average growth rate 2010=2015 was much lower than the average growth rate of Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, Denmark and Germany – to take countries in our neck of the woods, would you accept it wasn’t working?

  • Sweetpea

    It’s all gone wrong. It’s a real shame he’s not for turning.

    • telemachus

      Dull
      Dreary
      No message
      No inspiration

      • El_Sid

        But enough about you telemachus, what did you think of Osborne?

        • telemachus

          Not only dull and dreary but Osborne is shifty

  • L’Arse

    So Gove is Osborne’s barking seal – how apt.

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