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Time for Tories to drop ‘half-baked’ Thatcherism, says former economic adviser

07 Nov 2022 3 minute read
Margaret Thatcher picture by Israel Press and Photo Agency (CC BY 4.0).

The Conservatives should abandon “half-baked” Thatcherism and acknowledge that growth will be slower, an adviser to two former chancellors has said.

Ahead of the Autumn Statement on November 17, Tim Pitt – who advised both Philip Hammond and Sajid Javid at the Treasury – warned that the Conservatives risked retreating to the “comfort blanket” of 1980s orthodoxy rather than setting out a new approach geared towards the UK’s present problems.

Mr Pitt said: “The Conservative Party has veered one way then another on economic policy, driven at different moments by political expedience, economic necessity and raw ideology – with Trussonomics simply the latest iteration.

“The immediate task facing the new Chancellor is to put the public finances back on a sustainable path. More broadly, it is to restore the Conservatives’ shattered economic credibility.

“Yet in seeking to restore that credibility, the risk now for the Conservative Party is that, desperate for stability and some kind of economic narrative after years of uncertainty, it simply reverts to the comfort blanket of Lawsonian orthodoxy.”

Instead, he argued that the Government should be pragmatic and accept change while protecting the most vulnerable.

Think-tank

Mr Pitt made these arguments in a paper published today by centre-right think-tank Onward, whose director Will Tanner was named deputy chief of staff at Number 10 at the start of November.

Arguing that an ageing population and greater reliance on services meant lower productivity, Mr Pitt said the Conservatives needed to accept that growth would now be slower than it was before the financial crisis.

He also said the Tories should not set an “arbitrary” limit on the size of the state and stop “obsessing” over the size of the overall tax burden, but instead focus on fairness and providing services and support “across society”.

He said: “The Chancellor should consign to the history books the Trussonomic nonsense that raising taxes is un-Conservative. The history of Conservative economics over the last 200 years is littered with Tory chancellors willing to raise tax to put the public finances on a sustainable path.

“Instead of obsessing about the overall tax burden – which has no link to growth rates – the task facing the Chancellor is to raise revenue in a way that both makes the system more efficient and ensures those most able to bear the burden do so.”

This would include reforming the tax system to raise more from wealth through levies such as capital gains tax, something Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is thought to be considering.


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Steve
Steve
1 month ago

The reason why the current Conservative party hates rising taxes, particulary for the more wealthy, is because it, as the saying goes, it would be like turkeys voting for christmas. To become a politician, these days, you need bags of money. Your average person on the street, even with political party help, still needs a few quid in the bank to become an MP. Are there any MPs who were formally cleaners, shop workers or support workers I wonder? (Nothing wrong with these jobs – I’ve done them!). So the majority of MPs are not poor, certainly in the Tory… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Steve
The Original Mark
The Original Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Long gone are the days when you would see a sponsored Labour MP elected to Parliament, these days they’re more likely to be from the world of finance or the legal profession or worst of all from within the cesspit world of politics itself. The political system is broken and until that is sorted, the UK will just flounder in a downward spiral of corruption and sleaze.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Yes, spot on! There is an interesting book by Isabel Hardman called “Why we get the wrong politicians” that explains clearly what is wrong with the current system Interestingly she is the wife of a Tory MP (not sure if he is still and MP) so she knows what she is talking about. Additionally, we need to ditch First Past the Post as that seems to ensure that there are ‘safe seats’ which will always engender bad behaviour.

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
1 month ago

Time for Cymru to drop the half baked Union more like

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