The Conservative Party in Blackpool: Lamont's public spending cuts hark back to 'golden age'
The former chancellor also contradicted John Major's assertion last July that there never had been 'a golden age' in the 1980s, during Margaret Thatcher's tenure.
Mr Lamont set out his ideas on cutting the pounds 50bn public deficit in a speech at a Blackpool cinema, minutes after Kenneth Clarke had addressed the conference.
Some of those arguing for further increases in income tax did not understand the full extent of the increases already in the pipeline. His March Budget would raise pounds 10.3bn over three years, with taxes on income rising by pounds 5bn - equivalent to raising the basic rate by more than 3p in the pound. 'While it is possible to have such a large tax-raising Budget once in a decade, it is unrealistic to have two in the space of nine months . . . Further substantial tax rises would retard recovery, slow growth, abort job creation, penalise success and stifle endeavour - and we should reject them.'
Cutting public spending meant reduced funding in the 'citadels of the welfare state' - social security, health, education, and Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. These areas had seen rises totalling over pounds 19bn in the last four years.
Mr Lamont commended the 'excellent suggestions' of the Thatcherite No Turning Back Group of MPs - and the MPs themselves as a 'splendid bunch'. The proposals included giving people the opportunity to contract out of unemployment and invalidity insurance, to contract out of the basic state pension, making employers insure employees against industrial injuries, equalising the state pension age at 65, and eventually 67, and phasing out the earnings-related element of invalidity benefit. The benefit should also be taxed. 'These are propositions and policies which we must address if we are to be in power as well as in office,' he said, reworking his resignation speech criticism that the Conservatives gave the impression of being in office but not in power.
He said that 2 per cent off spending programmes across the board would yield pounds 5bn. 'Does anyone really believe that programmes cannot be cut across the board by two percentage points?'
He hoped that capital gains tax would be cut during the lifetime of this parliament, repeated his call for an independent Bank of England charged with fighting inflation, and said the Royal Mail should follow British Rail into the private sector.
Though Mr Lamont said he had no doubt that with John Major the party could win the next election, he made plain his disagreement with the Prime Minister's recent verdict on the Thatcher years - in an unguarded remark, taped by accident, Mr Major said the party was 'still harking back to a golden age that never was'. But Mr Lamont said: 'The 1980s was a golden decade.' Though there were times of great unpopularity, 'we always knew where we wanted to go'.
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Wreckage could be found within a week as search reaches 'very critical juncture', says minister
Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
Royal Tour 2014: Is the Duchess of Cambridge the only person ever to climb into a fighter jet wearing a dress and high heels?
Kim Jong-un, crowds and contraband: Inside North Korea with the Pyongyang marathon winner
Cover up! Mother told to show less cleavage during Disneyland family trip: 'Are we supposed to wear turtlenecks our whole lives?'
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 1 'Natural' energy drink banned for containing erectile dysfunction drug
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Dylan Tombides: West Ham confirm 20-year-old striker has died after battle with cancer
- 4 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 5 Angus Steakhouse: How does tourist staple continue to thrive in today's gourmet market?
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...