In a document published today, called A New Economic Model, Shadow Chancellor George Osborne (pictured) puts forward eight benchmarks for Britain by which he wants a future Conservative government to be judged.
The document outlines a number of changes the Tories would make to increase the nation’s savings rate, including creating “Britain’s first free national financial advice service”. The Conservatives say they will work with employers and the industry to support auto-enrolment into pensions and restore the link between the state pension and average earnings to counter the effect of means-testing. This will be paid for by raising the state pension to 66 earlier than planned by the Government.
The Conservatives have repeated previous manifesto commitments to scrap forced annuitisation at age 75 and a previous pledge by Osborne to raise the IHT threshold to £1m. The Tories say they would take nine out of 10 first-time buyers out of stamp-duty by raising the threshold to £250,000.
Under Conservative proposals, the party would also set up a new Consumer Protection Agency to replace the FSA, which would be responsible for protecting consumers of financial services.
To ensure bank stability, the Conservatives would pursue an international agreement to apply an insurance fee on retail banks and prevent retail banks from engaging in large-scale proprietary trading.
Osborne promised to inject more competition into the banking industry by commissioning a competition review, which would inform their strategy on selling the Government’s stakes in nationalised banks. He outlined proposals for a National Loan Guarantee Scheme, using government guarantees to create affordable sources of credit for SMEs.
The Tories also say they would create Britain’s first green investment bank drawing on money currently divided across Government initiatives and private capital to focus on green technology start-ups.
The eight benchmarks against which the Conservatives want to be judged are: to ensure macroeconomic stability, create a more balanced economy, get Britain working, make Britain open for business, ensure the whole country shares in rising prosperity, reform public services to deliver better value for money, create a safer banking system and to build a greener economy.
Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable said Osborne’s eight benchmarks are “motherhood and apple pie politics”.
He says: “We all want to see a stable, growing economy. The question is how we get there, and on this the Tories have no answers. The Liberal Democrats want to split up the banks so that taxpayers no longer have to underwrite reckless risk taking.We will create a fairer tax system with an income tax cut which will make work pay for those on low incomes.”