Derek Van de Ven,
The latest opinion polls in the UK suggest that the Conservatives are 9 points behind Labour, with only 28% of the British population prepared to vote for them. The damage austerity measures have caused to their popularity has been well documented. The Institute for Fiscal Studies’ report on the government’s current budget predicts that at the end of the financial year 2015-2016, the hardest hit group will be single, unemployed parents. The UK’s economy went into a double-dip recession which many economists attributed to the effect public sector cuts has had on consumption, and thus overall growth. Governments in times of economic trouble always do less well at the polls, and the government of the day is no exception.
With George Osborne’s budget due on the 20th of March, he is under real pressure to deliver something that will not just rescue the Tories, but do some good for the British economy. An economy which provides the greatest liberty of the individual will not just do good for our nation’s wealth but expand personal opportunity and give the Tories a much needed boost at the polls. Whilst the 2015 general election is still two years away, David Cameron cannot continue down this road and expect to still be the party’s leader in 2016. There are many reasons why Brits would find a libertarian budget in their interest.
Tax reductions are something the Tories would be most associated with, but rather than taking down the highest tax bracket, it would be very beneficial to raise the national minimum on paying income tax. At the moment, HMRC is not allowed to take a penny off of you if you are under 64 and pay less that £8,105 (which will go up by £1000 in April). It would also be beneficial if the UK had as low corporation tax so that we could bring business back to Britain. This would convince the voter that Cameron really does care about the average person and help bring business back to the country. If this fosters economic growth, it will certainly help the Tories’ popularity.
Housing must be left to the market. Examples of crashed economies such as Spain and Hong Kong shows that when the government builds too much housing, as one may expect, the property market crashes and the knock-on effect to the rest of the economy is catastrophic. A strong property market is always matched by a strong national economy. Cameron and Osborne must let the amount of houses built must be left to the market or all home-owners will find themselves in negative equity. Housing must affordable, but profitable. A booming property market will stimulate national growth, and thus improve Cameron’s popularity.
If inflation gets too high then the money people earn will be of much less use to them as everything will get more expensive. This will obviously curb freedom for all Britons, with those at the bottom being hurt more. It is vital the government spends no more than it earns and keeps national debt to a minimum. By lowering debt, Osborne will save global belief in our economy, ensuring the government can spend its revenue more wisely. In order to stop inflation, we need to stop printing money and preserve the strength of the pound. A strong currency comes before all else in a strong economy.
A libertarian budget should ensure that free trade is allowed to flourish. Whilst the UK should help foreign economies develop, it is going to be much more beneficial for everyone if businesses across the globe can freely exchange goods and services with each other. It is important that developing nations do not build up a policy of dependency on aid and learn to profit from their own enterprises (this is the only way true progress will be made). Free trade will also ensure that all involved parties benefit, thus where British firms are involved, our economy will grow too. The Tories have spoken about the ways in which global business will help foster global development, and done in the right circumstances it has the possibility to eradicate a lot of poverty, as China has shown. Thus if the Tories continue this policy, they will sure gain many votes at the polls.
It is important that in this time of economic crisis, any government spending is not wasteful. Any time the UK goes to war, it costs the tax payer an awful lot. As of 2010 the UK spent a combined amount of £20 billion on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The invasion of Iraq was controversial as it was proven they didn’t have WMDs and thus the war was not necessary to ensure we were not attacked by Saddam Hussein. The war was another example of wasteful spending, and put our economic security at risk. Any future war effort, unlike Iraq, must not waste the public’s money. The Tories voted in favour of invading Iraq, and must acknowledge their mistake and ensure we only go to war when absolutely necessary; this will boost the government’s popularity to no end.