Taxation, Unemployment, Defence, Ownership, Retirement
Mrs. Thatcher's Alphabet Spells “Policy”
Using a novel method of illustration, Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, the prospective Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Finchley, outlined concisely the five basic points of present day Conservative policy, to a meeting at East Finchley Library on Monday evening.
“T” —For “Taxation”
Because she was speaking in Tudor Ward, Mrs. Thatcher took the five letters of T-U-D-O-R as a means to explain Conservative policy. She began by saying that “T” stood for “Taxation” .
This was the time of the year when all sorts of wild guesses were made about the coming Budget, said Mrs. Thatcher.
As far as taxation was concerned in the coming Budget, this should be put foremost: nothing less than a reduction in the standard rate of income tax. This would have a great effect in the country and abroad.
Last year the Chancellor had concentrated on indirect taxation by reducing purchase tax. Over the recent years of Conservative rule most forms of indirect taxation had been reduced. The standard rate of income tax had come down from 9/6 to 8/6.
In her view, said Mrs. Thatcher, she would like to see a 1/- off, but that would cost £250 million. In one swoop it was a great deal for one item of the Budget.
Then there was the Schedule A tax on house-owners. The chances were that this problem would be dealt with in the Budget.
It seemed as if the Government would have a special interest in reducing Schedule A tax. Not everyone knew that by collecting the receipts of work done and sending them to the Inspector of Taxes, one could get a maintenance relief, if the house was built before 1936.
“U” — “Unemployment”
The “U” in Tudor stood for Unemployment said Mrs. Thatcher. Further developments in the problem are that we now have one or two more ideas as to the steps that the Board of Trade have taken to alleviate the rise of unemployment.
There is a drive to attract new industries into areas of unemployment. In some areas new products have displaced old one's, and old industries are no longer required.
The second way was by persuading men unemployed to move to other areas where there are jobs. This seemed to be a slow process.
They are given financial assistance when they move, but so far only two hundred have applied for it. It is open for anyone.
The third way was to extend the capital works programme in all directions.
By next year relaxations on hire purchase and credit would have stimulated demand enough to be able to get over the recession.
“D” —For “Defence”
“D” stood for Defence and Disarmament, said Mrs. Thatcher. This was the time of the year when new white-papers on defence problems came out. They always differed from the last year's because of changing conditions.
“O” said Mrs. Thatcher stood for Ownership. There was going to be a Bill before Parliament that would extend considerably the principle of house ownership.
There were at the moment 4½ million owners of occupied houses in Britain. The Conservatives are very anxious to see an extension of that number. It was thought very desirable that where people want to own their own property they should be able to do so. This Bill was designed to help them.
The Government would persuade Building Societies to lend money to people who wished to buy their own houses. This would be at a low rate of interest.
“R” —For “Retirement”
“R” the last letter of Tudor stood for Retirement—otherwise “pensions” .
The Conservative Pension Scheme, as it was being put through Parliament, is based on the need to alter the existing scheme. If the present contributions went on and the number of persons taking pension rises—as it will during the next few years, it just cannot work.
It meant stepping up contributions very considerably, or finding more money out of direct taxation. By 1980 the Government would be spending hundreds of millions extra just to keep paying out pensions at the present level.
The Conservative scheme was based on graduated contributions. The person earning under £9 a week would get a basic pension, and the person earning over would have to pay more for his, which would ‘correspondingly be higher. It was not quite so extravagant as the Labour Party Plan but it was more practical.
The number of old folk who carried on working after 65 when they could collect a pension was very surprising. It was not generally realised that they can earn 3/- for every year up to 72, if they do not collect their pension till then.
(On Tuesday, this week, the government announced that folk who wish to go on working after retirement will be able to earn up to £6 a week before forfeiting their State Pension.)
Mrs. Thatcher ended her hour-long talk by advising all present in the hall to test Socialist promises by their deeds. They never tallied.
Sitting with Mrs. Thatcher at the head of the hall were Mr. C. H. Blatch (Chairman of the Division); Mr. Denis Thatcher; Mr. R. W. Clark (Chairman of Tudor Ward); and Mrs. Humphreys (Vice-Chairman of the Ladies Sub-committee).
Many questions were fired at Mrs. Thatcher by the enthusiastic audience.
One questioner stated that he would like to know how Mrs. Thatcher equated Conservative policy with the 200,000 old folk throughout the country who were “dreading the postman's knock” because of eviction orders.
Mrs. Thatcher said that she did not believe the figures quoted, and would like to know where they were taken from.
When told “the National Press” she said that they were just not true. The landlord had to prove that his case for the house was greater than that of the tenant.
Many other questions were answered by Mrs. Thatcher before Mrs. Nevard rose to thank Mrs. Thatcher for the way in which she had given her address, and for the way in which all the women present in the audience could share in the reflected glory of the fact that a woman could give such a masterly exposition of Conservative policy.