Archive for April, 2010

Free bus passes are safe with the Conservatives

I would like to reassure residents that, contrary to the completely misleading literature being pedalled by the Labour Party locally, the Conservatives would not scrap free bus passes for pensioners should they form the next Government after May 6th. This has been made perfectly clear, and put on public record, by David Cameron in his ‘Pensioner Pledge’ which can be found on the party website. And I was delighted that he took Gordon Brown to task over this during last Thursday’s Leaders’ Debate. This sort of scaremongering is grossly irresponsible and does absolutely nothing for the reputation of politics at a time when it can ill-afford to lose any more credibility.

Their claims become even more ridiculous, coming in the week we learn that more than three million older people will now be forced to wait up to five years longer for their free bus pass after the Government changed the rules in order to comply with new EU regulations. Talk about hypocrisy! I bet this hasn’t been included in their leaflets.

And as if this wasn’t enough, we learn that they are now sending alarmist leaflets about Conservative health policy to cancer sufferers. How low can the Labour Party sink in their general election campaigning tactics? If this is all that they now have to offer the British people then quite clearly it is time for a change.

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National Insurance hike would hit Brighton & Hove Hard

The Government’s proposed 1% rise in National Insurance would not only hit residents hard, it would also be another body blow for businesses in Brighton & Hove, at a time when they can least afford it.

At the City Council we have calculated that if it goes ahead, the rise will cost us – as the City’s largest employer – an extra £1.5 million a year. That is £1.5 million of local council tax payers money going straight back into Treasury coffers to pay off the massive debt they have racked up over the last 10 years or so. And at a time when our budget is under such pressure, it is £1.5 million we can ill afford to lose.

Councils wouldn’t be the only public sector organisation to lose out – nationally, the NI increase would cost the NHS £208 million, schools would have to fork out £66 million (equivalent to something like 2,000 teachers) and the Police would face an increased tax bill of £43 million.

Paying off the national deficit has to be the top priority for whichever Government is at the helm next month. But bringing in another tax on jobs (which would hit both private and public sector employers and employees) is surely not the way to go about it. The only long-term way of addressing the underlying structural deficit is to make it easier for businesses to set up and expand. The private sector generates the wealth which enables us to have an NHS, state schools, policing and roads. Sadly, the parties of the Left seem unable to grasp this most basic of economic truths.