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Conservative Party conference: David Cameron promises tax cuts and new 'British bill of rights'

The party would also raise the amount people can earn before paying tax at all to £12,500 – the current full time minimum wage

Oliver Wright
Thursday 02 October 2014 00:47 BST

David Cameron put the promise of tax cuts at the heart of the Conservatives' bid to win the next General Election today as he pledged to “build a Britain that everyone is proud to call home”.

Mr Cameron said if the Tories are re-elected they would raise the threshold at which people pay tax at 40 per cent from £41,900 to £50,000.

At the same time the party would also raise the amount people can earn before paying tax at all to £12,500 – the current full-time minimum wage.

Mr Cameron said raising the £10,000 current tax threshold to £12,500 would take one million of the lowest paid workers out of tax altogether and give an effective tax cut for 30 million more.

Mr Cameron did not say when the tax cuts would take effect and insisted his priority was still to cut the deficit. But the move was clear attempt to appeal to the so-called ‘squeezed middle’ who have seen real terms income fall significantly over the last five years.

Combined with George Osborne’s announcement on Monday that the Conservatives would freeze tax credits for two years the Tory strategy is an attempt to make a clear ideological divide with Labour – between cutting taxes or providing top up support for low paid workers through benefits.

Mr Cameron slammed Labour for “pontificating about poverty” while leaving a “generation to rot on welfare” when they were in Government.

“With us, if you work 30 hours a week on minimum wage you will pay no income tax at all. Nothing. Zero. Zilch,” he said.

“Lower taxes for hard-working people, that is what I call a Britain that everyone is proud to call home.”

Mr Cameron also announced that if the Conservatives are re-elected they would scrap Labour’s Human Rights Act and introduce a new British Bill of Rights.

Mr Cameron also directly took on the Tories' Achilles' heel of the NHS, attacking Labour for “scaremongering and lies” over its claims that the Government is privatising the health service and cutting its funding.

“From Labour last week, we heard the same old rubbish about the Conservatives and the NHS,” he said.

"I just think how dare you. The Labour Party which gave us the scandal of Mid Staffs, elderly people begging for water and dying of neglect.

"For me, this is personal: I am someone who has relied on the NHS and whose family knows more than most just how important it is, who knows what it is like when you go to hospital night after night with a sick child in your arms knowing that when you get there, there are people who will love that child and care for that child just as if it was their own.

"How dare they suggest I would ever put that at risk for other people's children. How dare they frighten those who rely on our National Health Service."

His wife Samantha looked visibly moved as he spoke about his personal experience of the NHS and pledged the Conservatives would continue to protect the NHS budget from spending cuts, ring fencing it through the next Parliament.

Mr Cameron did not spend long talking about the threat of Ukip following a string of recent defections but made clear he believed that a vote for Ukip could deny the Tories an outright majority at the next election.

“Next May you can go to bed with Nigel Farage and wake up with Ed Milband,” he said to laughs from the conference audience.

Mr Cameron also touched on the threat of Isis at the start of his speech and issued a stark message to young British jihadists who have gone to fight in Syria and Iraq, saying they could not expect to return to a normal life in Britain.

“You are an enemy of the UK,” he said. “And should expect to be treated such.”

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