If I were Prime Minister: I would take Britain out of Europe

Our series in the run-up to the General Election – 100 days, 100 contributors, but no politicians – continues with the philanthropist and founder of Phones 4 U

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The Independent Online

Fiscal management would be my top priority, along with redistribution of wealth to the poorest members of society, but in a way that the wealthy would find more tolerable, primarily by running the country in a much more effective way. I would endeavour to raise the minimum wage, but at the same time would be extremely concerned about pricing unskilled workers out of the market, and ultimately increasing the core unemployable in the country.

For the absence of doubt, a low tax culture would be a crucial part of my strategy to make Britain prosperous, grow the GDP and help finance the less well off. 

A large part of creating wealth and well being for the less wealth off would be achieved by driving efficiency throughout all areas of government services, creating a carrot and stick culture around tax avoidance and leaving Europe. Leaving Europe alone would I believe make every family in Britain about £2,000 a year better off and would remove the burden of inappropriate legislation rolling into Britain from a group of countries all with disparate interests.

Crime would be very high on my agenda.  The victim would be far more considered than the accused.I would look towards increasing penalties for all crimes substantially. My message to criminals would be, if you break the law then expect a harsh penalty. Even with our wonderful law and order system, many innocent people are found guilty. It may be a majority guilty verdict from a jury, but it is quite possible that many members of the jury only felt on balance that the accused was guilty, and there was a lack of certainty. Where this lack of certainty existed the penalty would be reduced. There can be nothing worse than being punished for a crime you did not commit, but at least lessening the punishment where there was not complete proof would lessen the dreadful impact on the innocent. The prison population would be reduced as a result of these policies, not increased, because I believe criminals would be deterred more effectively by the harsh sentences.

Energy and the environment would be the third key focus.  Our planet is heading towards an extremely severe crisis, which in my estimation will occur in the next 20 – 50 years.  This is not a global warming argument. This is about desperate water shortage primarily, rising sea levels, population increase, the loss of arable farm land and, of course global warming.

I would make it very clear that any fuel damaging the environment was going to be subject to an increasingly severe tax regime over the next 10 years, and that all extra monies raised in taxes would be poured into intelligent subsidising of renewable energy sources in a way to encourage the creating of world leading businesses in this area.  I would deregulate planning on renewable energy generation to make it much easier and, at the same time, apply tax breaks and subsidies if necessary to create the right behaviour.

John Caudwell is the founder of Phones4U and supports the Caudwell Children Charity

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