The Conservatives could go into the next general election with a plan to introduce regional benefits which would vary according to living costs around the country.
Days after the Government pushed through measures to cap benefits at one per cent for the next three years, a group of senior Tories have proposed the controversial move as part of the blueprint for the party’s 2015 manifesto. Other ideas include abolishing the retirement age, extending the school day by up to three hours and working towards a flat rate income tax.
The policies have been put forward in a paper by members of the 2020 Group, a panel of 70 Conservative MPs including Cabinet ministers, such as Michael Gove and Justine Greening, as well as rising stars within the party such as Nadhim Zahawi and Matthew Hancock, the Chancellor’s former chief of staff.
The 2020 Vision: Agenda for Transformation report is designed to address concerns that the Conservatives’ message has been blunted by its Coalition with the Liberal Democrats, and that the party has struggled to articulate what it stands for beyond cutting the deficit.
George Osborne asked the group last year to draw up a range of policies for the party’s next general election manifesto.
Greg Barker, the energy minister who oversaw the report, described it as a “blueprint” for the next Conservative manifesto.