Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Laura Perrins: Dave’s Promised Land of tax cuts and migrant curbs. It will never happen


When looking at the David Cameron bonanza speech the question you must ask yourself is not, do you like what you heard? But is it deliverable?

It is highly likely that even if David Cameron ‘is the guy in 10 Downing Street’ he will need the help of the Liberal Democrats to put him there.

This means – making an educated guess – the following.

Renegotiating the free movement of persons in the European Union, immigration in another name. This is never, and I mean never, going to happen in any meaningful way. The Germans, rightly, would see this as a total disintegration of the Union, and would fight to the death to prevent it from happening. I refer you to this.

A Conservative government may attempt to sell a very minor change to you as radical change, but it will not amount to anything of significance. See above.

I leave it to you to decide whether you really believe you will be offered a referendum on withdrawing from the EU. Do not be surprised if you are faced with an excuse – that was promise we made on the basis of the Conservatives governing alone and not in Coalition. We heard this one before.

Cameron promises to abolish the Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights. If the coalition is with the Liberal Democrats this will not happen – the Lib Dems are wedded to it.

But even if the Conservatives had a majority, do not underestimate the level of opposition within the legal establishment to this kind of move. It is ferocious and Cameron cannot defeat them all.

Raising the tax-free allowance. This probably will happen as it benefits double-income families and the Liberal Democrats also support it.

Raising the threshold to £50,000 on which the 40p tax rate will be paid. This is very, very unlikely to be implemented in the foreseeable future. There is already talk – before the autocue stopped rolling – that it will not be brought in until after the deficit is clear. Currently, Britain is on course to chalk up another £100 billion plus annual deficit in 2014/15, the sixth in a row so I would not hold my breath on this one.

Remember the marriage tax allowance promised well before the Conservatives formed the Coalition Government? Well, British families are still waiting to benefit from this allowance.

I expect this promised 40p tax cut to be in the same vein. Namely, the Conservatives will implement ‘when we can afford it’ -I.e about two minutes before the close of the next Parliament. I certainly would not rely on this tax cut when planning the weekly budget.

In my humble opinion, it is not a straight choice between Cameron and Red Ed. It is a choice between the policies that are realistically deliverable. There may be other policies that you think tip the balance towards the Conservatives – and certainly for me, education is that policy. But do not expect a tax cut, reform on the free movement of workers in the EU (immigration), or a British Bill of Rights. Never Going to Happen.

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