Conference 2010 – Together in the National Interest

This week Birmingham was lucky enough to host the Conservative Party Conference, the first in government for 13 years. It was an exciting and vibrant conference with members humbled by the task facing our party in government due to the budget deficit but still excited about what 5 years with a Conservative Government could achieve for our country. BUCF were at the heart of the Conference and we started on Saturday attending the City Branch Drinks event followed by an entertaining evening with our good friends from Yorkshire CF and Liverpool CF.

Sunday marked the official start of Conference 2010 and a busy day for the BUCF team. We attended Baroness Warsi’s speech who as Andrew Stephenson commented is a fantastic supporter of our Party in the good and bad times. She thanked Party activists and voters who made this Government possible and who are responsible for putting Cameron in Number 10, and hit home that Labour had abandoned the Working Class with the gap between rich and poor the widest it has been in forty years and the longest recession for almost a century, what a legacy they have left for our country. In 1997 we left Government with a thriving, booming economy and the protestors have the nerve to blame us for taking the difficult decisions necessary to clean up Labour’s mess, if they were looking for someone to blame they should have taken their protest up to Manchester last week and demanded an explanation from Red-Ed! The Coalition is taking the hard but essential policies to secure Britain’s future, a theme which was continued later in the evening when BUCF joined the Bow Group for their Conference Reception with guest speaker Rt Hon. Ken Clarke, Justice Secretary, where he reinforced the good which can come from the Coalition.

Sunday evening kicked off with the Boris rally, amusing as always and the West Midlands Reception where we ran into the Prime Minister who congratulated BUCF for our high membership and the hard work we continue to do for our party. Monday, potentially the most exciting day for BUCF at Conference due to our event in the evening where we joined by numerous freshers, old BUCF members, CF members from around the Country, Tim Loughton MP and Chloe Smith MP. The event was a great success with a brilliant turnout and since the event we have had some fantastic feedback so a massive thank you to everyone who attended.

On Tuesday evening BUCF were invited on Newsnight to take part in an audience discussion with Paxman and Home Secretary Theresa May on issues such as Child benefit reform, Terrorism and the Criminal Justice System. During the show our very own Ed Newland commented on the need to introduce the changes suggested by Ken Clarke due to the fact that our prisons are not working and are instead creating serial criminals rather than rehabilitating criminals back into society.

Wednesday was the day which everyone at Conference had waited for, Cameron’s speech, the first speech to Conference a Conservative leader has made as Prime Minister in 13 years. And what a speech it was, I really believe that Cameron has come into his own after this speech. He has shown that he has the strength necessary to lead this country through the deepest recession and worse debt crisis we have ever faced, while showing the compassion to reassure the British people who are rightly concerned that we will always protect the most vulnerable in society. He drilled the reasons why Labour had failed the people of Britain;

“They left us a legacy of spinning, smearing, briefing, back-biting, half-truths and cover-ups, patronising, old-fashioned, top-down, wasteful, centralising, inefficient, ineffective, unaccountable politics, 10p tax and 90 days detention, an election bottled and a referendum denied, gold sold at half price and council tax doubled, bad news buried and Mandelson resurrected, pension funds destroyed and foreign prisoners not deported, Gurkhas kept out and extremist preachers allowed in”

However, he kept the message positive and optimistic for the future of Britain. He emphasised the progressive steps we had already taken in the 5 months of the Coalition to clean up after the 13 years of Labour incompetence;

“200 new academies, 10,000 university places, 50,000 apprenticeships, Corporation tax – cut, the jobs tax – axed, Police targets – smashed, Immigration – capped, the third runway – stopped, Home Information Packs – dropped, Fat cat salaries – revealed, ID Cards – abolished, The NHS – protected, Our aid promise – kept, Quangos – closing down, Ministers’ pay – coming down, A bank levy – coming up, A cancer drugs fund, vitally important, – up and running, £6 billion of spending saved this year, An emergency budget to balance the books in five years, An EU referendum lock to protect our sovereign powers every year, For our pensioners – the earnings link restored, For our entrepreneurs – employees’ tax reduced and for our brave armed forces – the operational allowance doubled”

The Prime Minister ended this Conference with a call to arms, stating that we are all in this together and how we need to work together for the National Interest. Our Party along with the Liberal Democrats have already answered that call. The question that remains is, will Red-Ed answer that call or will he more likely bow to the vested interests of his Trade Union masters, ignoring the National Interest?

Tim Hasker

BUCF Vice-President External

W.Midlands CF Deputy Regional Chairman

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26 thoughts on “Conference 2010 – Together in the National Interest

  1. You forgot to mention that families who have a stay at home Mum or single parent families are being punished, while families earning 80k a year get to keep child benefits.

    I wouldn’t call 200 academies a positive. There are a lot of useful bodies being scrapped; the UK Film Council for one. As for the NHS being protected, shame that the BMA, Unions, Nursing bodies and the public don’t agree.

  2. Praguetory says:
    09/10/2010 at 23:25
    Cool down on the rhetoric, Mark. Any family who has a higher rate taxpayer does not need benefits.

    So why are they still getting them then?
    2 parents on 44k a year (household total = 88k) – Child benefits
    1 parent on 45k a year, one stay at home Mum – no benefits
    A single parent on 45k a year – no benefits.

    Explain the fairness there.

  3. Why are there no blogs on defence? Has it something to do with the fact that the Tories are now in government and are ‘attacking the military’?

  4. Ok Mark whats the alternative? Say we give “family thresholds” instead of individual. A combined threshold of £45k per family that would solve the problem wouldn’t it? But wait… doesn’t that “discriminate” against families? Is it fair that one person on their own earning just below 45k is entitled to child benefit while two people earning just under 45k are entitled to the same amount of benefit? The press would be up in arms with charges of “Cameron is penalising marriage” and contributing to the breakdown of society.

    Also what happens if the “family” separate? What happens if the mother or the father leave and those parents become single parent families but BOTH share custody and thus both have equal expenditure in raising the child, what happens then? Are they entitled to two seperate benefits (as long as they earn below 45k) or is their “family” benefit divided between the two of them? Is that fair?

    Im obviously being flippant but my point is the system is complicated and their isn’t one single fair way to operate it because when you apply “thresholds” there will always be someone who just misses out or someone who just “sneaks in”. For example if a family has a annual income of £43k while another family has a combined income of £46k, then the second family is *slightly* better off in terms of annual income but that same family misses out on the benefit that the one on £43k can claim despite their standard of living and annual income being pretty much the same. One could argue that isn’t fair.

    But the real issue here isn’t the thresholds its the differing party policies; The Tories policy, while obviously imperfect, is FAR better and FAR more constructive in dealing with the deficit because the fact of the matter is that families earning double the national average DO NOT NEED government subsidy. This is coming from someone whose familiy will be affected by this government policy as both my parents earn above the 45k threshold.

    I actually admire and am impressed by Cameron and the Conservative leaderships ability to take the right decision for the nation even when it flies in the face of the will and interest of his core vote. Because lets face it its predominantly higher earners and predominantly Conservative voters who will be affected by this. Labour by contrast are putting the party interest before the national interest when they claim they want “unversal child benefit”. Rather than recognising what a mess they’ve left us, they are continuing their deficit denial and refusing to support a policy which is, in principle, blatantly fair and right. Of course its imperfect in practise and there are “technicalities” which Im sure will be looked at as the policy comes in to force but the **direction** the government is taking the country in regard to child benefit; preserving it for the poorest and taking it away from the richest, in my opinion is absolutely right. If Labour were a responsible and credible opposition they would be supporting this but instead they prefer to woo miffed Tory/higher earner voters with promises they can’t keep and the country can’t afford. Its playing politics and I hope the country can see through it.

  5. Is every set of parents ‘entitled’ to free money? What will be the opportunity cost to new parents on the lowest income to no longer receive the child benefit – I would suggest it will not be essentials, rather the car/holiday region. Do I think it is fair to take away child benefit from higher rate taxpayers in current circumstances? Yes. Would I claim it if I were a higher rate tax-paying new father now? Yes.

    Great photos from conference by the way. Nice to see Ken with BUCF again.

  6. What a really weak argument Dan. It doesn’t dsicriminate against families at all. It is saying to people, if you have an income over a certain amount coming into the household, you don’t qualify for benefits. It’s as simple as that, and something that I would support. If you didn’t want to discriminate against families, then you could set the bar a bit higher for families where both parents work up to a certain age, because you need to pay for things like child care. I’d also stop childcare payments altogether when a child reaches the age of 11.

    What Labour are rightly against is the idea that single parents and single working families are penalised more than double working families. That is what is unfair and what the Tories are incapable of understanding. I’m yet to hear a single argument that defends this unfairness successfully.

    The argument that “it’s complicated” is just another excuse for “I can’t be bothered”. I have no vested interest in this as I have no kids and my partner doesn’t currently work (if anyone calls her a sponger I’ll wipe the floor with them) so I’m nowhere near the threshold.

  7. You severely underestimate the complexity of the system Mark. You say Tories are giving excuses but the fact is Labours alternative is an expensive blanket approach which the country simply cannot and should not afford. Are you seriously trying to tell me that you think the current system, where a household income can exceed £100,000 and still get child benefit, is right? If not what is your proposed alternative?

    I also want to ask you something about this “single” parent idea; what about a woman with a child who lives with her boyfriend but technically he isn’t “responsible” for her child. In that circumstance there could be up to 3 incomes supporting the child; the mothers, the biological fathers AND the boyfriends. Does the mother qualify for the single threshold or the family threshold you suggested? If its single why? She could have up to 3 incomes coming in and if its the family threshold, why? Techbnically the boyfriend has no financial obligation to the child.

    My point is the system IS complex which ever way you spin it. The difference between Labour and the Tories is we are rejecting the easy way; a blanket approach where even millionaires recieve state funding, and are trying a new way where only those that really need it get it. Of course there are loopholes and technicalities but the principle of this change is that rich people should not recieve state subsidy. As I’ve stated before this is something that will affect my family personally so technically I have a “vested” interest but despite that vested interest I and many other fair minded people are squarely behind the government on this one. Technicality or no technicality.

  8. I’m not sure why they didn’t go for household income. Given that the whole point was the make the government look fair handed it would surely have been better to avoid this rather obvious loophole.

    One wonders how off the cuff this policy announcement was for them not to consider such a glaring issue.

  9. If anyone listened to IDS you would realise that in terms of benefits they are going for single household benefit which would have to be calculated based on household income. How his revolutionary plan to merge all benefits into one got overshadowed by a minor change affecting a small number of parents I don’t know.

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