Balancing Act – UK Conservative Party Conference 2012

By DeusExMacintosh

Tory conference 2012

The government is determined to cut a further £10bn from the benefits budget to fight the deficit, Chancellor George Osborne has told the Tory conference.

One idea he suggested was limiting the number of children in a family that should be supported on benefits.

He said the better-off would pay more in taxes, but the budget could not be balanced “on the wallets of the rich”.

He also unveiled a plan for workers to give up a string of employment rights in return for shares in their employer.

The new owner-employee contract allows owners to award shares worth up to £50,000 to their staff, in return for the employee giving up their unfair dismissal, redundancy and training rights and also the right to ask for flexible working.

He said there would be no capital gains tax on the profits from the shares, so it would be “owners, workers and the taxman all in it together”.

Mr Osborne’s speech comes with the UK economy in recession, hitting the government’s tax takings and its plans to reduce the deficit (the difference between the amount spent by government and the amount it receives from tax etc).

In his speech in Birmingham, the chancellor made clear he was not planning to change course and said a further £16bn of savings must be found by 2015/16 to meet his target of balancing the budget within five years.

This, he said, would include cutting £10bn more from the welfare bill by 2016-17, on top of the £18bn announced in 2010.

BBC News

9 Comments

  1. L-Plate Lawyer
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Wha?

    That’s just cray (to quote Kanye West).

  2. Posted October 9, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    Word on the conference circuit is that the plan is to stop housing benefit for the under 25’s and end the statutory annual uprating that used to keep benefits in line with inflation altogether. This is despite already swapping to a less accurate index in the last spending review.

    Labour did this to state pensioners last decade and they were impoverished within five years in a booming economy. Britain is now on the third tranch of multi-billion pounds in Quantitative Easing ie. printing money and there is going to be wholesale disaster when the resultant inflation finally kicks in.

    Am trying to remember whose was the old quote about “hunger being man’s earliest and best motivator”. It seems to have become the new Conservative mantra.

  3. Mel
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Eat the Rich.

  4. Nigel Davies
    Posted October 10, 2012 at 4:38 am | Permalink

    Hello, all those who can’t see the inevitable…
    The welfare state is supposed to be a safety net, not an unlimited credit card (see Greece…)
    The reason all sides of politics will have to cut back is called demographics. Five taxpayers per retiree works, two doesn’t. End of story.
    Yet you are outraged by cuts to subsidised housing for students!
    How about the idea that dwindling funds are spent on vital things, not ‘gold plating’ of benefits (bribes for rusted on voters)?
    Have a look at what even Australia’s disastrously spendthrift govt is looking at in ‘reforms’ (cutbacks to single mothers etc), and think about what a substainable (non-Italian) style economy might look like, instead of bemoaning the loosening of ‘secure’ employment terms that are headed down the Spanish route of eventual 50% youth unemployment.
    ‘Labour impoverished the elderly… Conservatives will too…’ No, an overgenerous welfare state impoverishes the nation, and the result is Greek style cutbacks, not British style trimming.
    Australia’s turn is coming, no matter how much you squeel.
    (There, a little bit of outraged pomposity to balance things, have a nice day.)

  5. Posted October 10, 2012 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Dear Nigel, very funny. FYI full time students haven’t been eligible for Housing Benefit in the UK since the 1980s, from memory.

    I’m annoyed by the blanket withdrawal of housing benefit from anyone under 25 regardless of their circumstances or whether there is a “family home” to go to. Perhaps we actually need to be more like the Italians and make parents financially responsible for their children until that age? Make it illegal to kick out the kids before then, perhaps? You think the NEETS (not in education, employment or training) are feral now? Just wait until they’re homeless as well.

    The uprating actually worries me more, although I was wrong as it happens and the initial severance of the state pension from wage rises was a Conservative innovation but then went uncorrected under the next decade of New Labour despite a manifesto commitment to do so.

    If what we needed was to reduce the welfare budget by 20% then what should have been done was a flat 20% reduction a la Grecque in every type of welfare rather than gold plating pensioners (who account for over half the welfare spend) whilst eviscerating the disabled (who account for less than 10%).

    Irritable Duncan Syndrome keeps claiming he wants to “make work pay”, well the fastest way is to TAKE LESS TAX.

    kthxbai

  6. Posted October 10, 2012 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    However you look at it, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. And that’s not suggesting another French Revolution but rather providing incentive to those on the dole to become gainfully employed, for starters. It is true, Nigel, that ‘an overgenerous welfare state impoverishes the nation’. Not only that, but it breeds dependence on others rather than encouraging creative (and honest!) ways to earn a living. And yes, I am an Australian.

  7. L-Plate Lawyer
    Posted October 10, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    @Elizann: umm.

    Just no.

  8. Posted October 10, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Elizann, you’re talking about social mobility, which until relatively recently the UK at least had plenty of. There was considerable “churn” in social and financial position, often as the result of deliberate policy choices (inheritance tax pretty much wiped out the landed aristocracy in a single generation last century, grammar schools took working class students to Oxbridge and onto the Establishment) and economic/military history.

    I’d agree that theoretically “an overgenerous welfare state impoverishes the nation”, but then I don’t think anywhere in the real world has ever produced such a mythic beast, although nations have been girding themselves against this basilisk since the Elizabethan Poor Laws!

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