The wealthiest bear the greatest burden of taxation and that resources are targeted at to those most in need. That to me is compassionate conservatism. For 13 years under Labour the top tax rate was 40%. It is now 45%. And on the specificvs of how the state spends its money we are targetting resources:
Take nursery education: the spending round confirmed that the government will continue to fund free childcare places for 3 and 4 year olds and that it will extend this to the most disadvantaged 2 year olds later this year. What a contrast to Labour’s legacy of unaffordable childcare, where working mothers would only break-even on childcare costs after working for 4 months.
The pupil premium: which is being protected in real terms. This allows schools to provide targeted support to disadvantaged pupils. The conservative element is that headteachers get to decide how best the £900 per pupil is spent.
Apprenticeships: and again the government is directing funds to give young people the skills they need to succeed. Locally apprenticeship starts have increased by over 50 per cent in the last year.
Real terms growth in the NHS and social care budgets show a commitment to the social contract with the British people. This is a social contract, not a socialist contract. Increased NHS spending is being combined with stripping out unnecessary tiers of management and bureaucracy, and enhancing patient choice.
Pensions: Towards the end of the life cycle, the triple lock guarantee that the basic state pension increases each and every year by the highest of earnings, prices or 2.5 per cent.
Compassionate Conservatism is not just about spending. The chancellor’s cradle to grave conservatism is matched by tough reforms to the welfare state, the introduction of Universal Credit, and getting 1.5 million people back into work. Wealth has been redistributed from the rich to the poor by raising the tax threshold to £10,000. The rich have been taxed more every year under this government than they ever were under Gordon Brown, confirmed by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
Cradle to grave conservatism is not a left-wing agenda. It is in the great tradition of conservative social reform. It is possible to be a compassionate government without saddling future generations with debt