Sunday, April 10, 2005

Election Manifesto

In the weeks leading up to the General Election, I am going to try and create an election manifesto that attempts to resolve some of the problems that seem to be facing the UK. Walking the Streets is in the process of creating a similar one over the next few weeks. The policies will be in no particular ranking of importance, just as I think of them!!

  • Withdraw from the European Union, a policy that Tony Blair agreed with at the 1983 General Election, when European influence in the UK was far less than it is now. I fail to understand why any politician wants to give power away to a third party. It is said that we need to be in Europe to influence it, but there is no call to become the 51st state of the US to influence US foreign policy.

  • Ensure that NHS dentists are available for everyone in the UK. Everyone pays tax so you should expect something in return.

  • Scrap means tested benefits. Benefits should be available to everyone regardless of the level of personal savings. It's wholly unfair and unreasonable that there should ever be a perverse incentive that not saving for a rainy day is ever better than saving.

  • Housing benefit should be reviewed with a view to scrapping it. I cannot think of many benefits that encourage you to try and find the most expensive house that you can find to live in as all the rent is paid for by the state. If it is to be retained, it should be a fixed amount per week regardless of the size of the house. That way, people can choose whether to live in a larger house that cost more or a smaller one where they can use the money for other purposes

  • People should always be better off by working than by remaining on benefits. I propose that total household benefits should be capped at 60% of the annual average income of £24,000. I fail to see why anyone should ever be better off by not working.

  • National Insurance should be scrapped and absorbed into income tax. There is no reason to have two state tax collectors with different rules for employers and employees. This will reduce the burden on employers and reduce the number of civil servants required to manage it. It is just another tax at the end of the day. Scrapping NI would also save the 2003/4 £315.3m cost of administering it (Hansard,22 March 2005,vol 432, no 59, col 709w).

  • Aim to reduce the subsidies to train companies to zero over the next ten years. I fail to understand why subsidies to train operators have increased so much since 2000. Far more people use the roads than ever use the railways, improvements to the road infrastructure would be a far better use of the subsidy.

  • Reintroduce Grammar schools. It seems to be the best way to improve standards in school on the basis that not all children are identical, some are academic, others are not, trying to find a comprehensive solution for all children seems to be quite wrong

  • Scrap the higher tax rate and move towards a flat tax rate. It's only purpose seems to be to punish personal success

  • Raise the personal tax allowance to £10,000 and scrap many of the tax credits that target "specific needy groups". The reduction in administration costs would be worthwhile whilst trying to simplify the overall tax code. The total cost of income tax administration in 2004/4 was £1,671.4m (Hansard,22 March 2005,vol 432, no 59, col 709w)

    Serf said...

    I like the manifesto.

    We are bit late for this one, but lets start a Serfs party for the next one.

    Snafu said...

    Serfs or peasants party!?!