Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

1959 General Election Address

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Source: Thatcher Archive
Editorial comments: Item listed by date of adoption meeting; MT’s election address was usually published shortly after her adoption.
Importance ranking: Key
Word count: 788
Themes: Conservatism, Defence (arms control), Education, Employment, General Elections, Taxation, Housing, Social security & welfare

As Conservative Candidate for Finchley and Friern Barnet, this is my opportunity to put before you a broad outline of Conservative Policy for the next five years.

Conservatives do not believe in making extravagant promises to secure votes. Nor do we believe in election stunts! The measures we propose for the next five years have been worked out in the light of our experience during eight years of successful Government.

The Country as a whole is more prosperous than ever before, but we do not intend to stop here. We are ready to start on the next stage in the path of progress.

Your Money

We are concerned not only where taxes are going to, but where they are coming from. The money Governments spend, has to be made by the efforts of individuals. We believe in men and women keeping a larger share of what they earn. In the past we have reduced the rate of taxation in seven out of eight years. We intend to continue this policy and to reduce, wherever possible, the level of taxation.

Your Home

We shall continue to encourage people to buy their own homes. Up to £100m. will be advanced by the Government to Building Societies for loans.

We have already much improved and expanded grants for modernising old houses.

Priority in our housing programme will go to providing homes for the older folk and clearing the slums.

In the next Parliament, we shall take no further action to decontrol rents.

Your Job

For the first time we have got stable prices together with full employment. But patches of local unemployment can arise from changing markets. In our view the powers available to the Government under existing legislation are inadequate to deal quickly with this problem. Our first major Bill (which is already drafted) in the new Parliament will be to strengthen the powers for coping with this type of unemployment.

Your Children

Progress for the Country, as well as for the children, begins at school. During the next five years we shall concentrate on developing educational opportunity at every level. We need more teachers, so we are building more training colleges. More scientists and technicians are required, so we are spending £100m. on technical education. The accommodation in many of our schools is poor so we plan to spend £400m. by 1965 on improving school buildings. The cost of this programme is high but we believe it to be a fine investment in the future. [end p1]

Your Retirement

The rates of retirement pensions, which we have increased three times, now have a real buying power over ten shillings higher than in 1951. We pledge ourselves to ensure that pensioners continue to share in the good things which a steadily expanding economy will bring.

Our new pension scheme which is due to start in April 1961, will concentrate the Exchequer subsidy on those with the lowest earnings and enable men and women with higher earnings to make increased provision for old age.

The weekly amount that can be earned without deduction of pension by those who have retired or by widowed mothers will be further increased.

Your Defence

We believe that disarmament in atomic weapons must be accompanied by disarmament in conventional weapons. If this were not so then the Western Powers would be curtailing their nuclear deterent while the force it deters—Soviet superiority in conventional arms—remained as great as ever.

Further, we think that a disarmament agreement is worthless unless there is a control authority which can ensure that what is promised, is in fact carried out.

Your Vote

Your vote for me on October 8th means that you want a Conservative Government led by Mr. Harold Macmillan. A vote for any other person is a vote for a Socialist Government. Do not shirk this issue.

I believe that it is by emphasis on home life, greater educational opportunities and liberty under the law that National character can be strengthened and moral standards upheld.

As your Member of Parliament I may not always be right; but you can be sure that I shall be honest and fearless: I shall do my best to serve my Country and my Constituency. Margaret H. Thatcher.

Life Is Better With The Conservatives

Taxes Down

Income tax down from 9s. 6d. to 7s. 9d.

Purchase Tax Cut

Benefits Up

Retirement Pensions from 30/- to 50/-

Widowed Mother's Allowance from 40/- to 70/-

Family Allowances from 5/- to 8/-

Earnings Up

Average earnings for men in industry increased from £8 6s. to £13 per week

Standard of Living Up

More money to spend—More Savings

Twice as many people own cars

Nine times as many people own TV sets

Building Up

Two million new houses

Nearly four thousand new Schools

More factories - New Roads