Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

Party Election Broadcast (Housing)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: Unknown
Source: Thatcher Archive: BBC transcript
Editorial comments: Broadcast at 2100 on BBC1; filmed that morning. Peter Walker and Willie Whitelaw appeared.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 1302
Themes: General Elections, Monetary policy, Housing, Labour Party & socialism

Mrs. Margaret Thatcher

Conservative plans for helping with homes are quite specific. They are a firm, unshakable promise. I've said it before and I'll repeat it. There are nine-and-a-half per cent mortgages by Christmas for all home buyers and also later help with the deposit for the first-time buyer. I know the Labour Party have called me a liar. That's the natural reaction of a Party that has no constructive plans of its own.

And also it's absurd to call someone a liar before they've had the chance to carry out their promises. They know they can't fault the plans. They're feasible and they know the cost is modest. What they're really hysterical about is they know I will carry them out and they know there's nothing like it in the forseeable future [sic]. Now we've said what Conservative plans for spending money will be and that our top priority will be homes.

Let's have a look at Labour's plans.

Voice Over

Well, luckily the latest issue of THE ECONOMIST, the country's leading financial journal, provides the answer Labour seems a little shy about. The programme set out in Labour's manifesto will set Britain back by two-thousand-million pounds in the first year and that's a firm commitment. Now, is that a lot or just about what you'd expect in these inflationary times?

Well, let's look at the Liberal proposals. What do they cost? The Liberal Party provide their own figures—four-thousand-million pounds for the first year, just double. So what about the Tories? Those irresponsible spendthrifts according to Labour. Eight-thousand-million pounds? Ten-thousand-million pounds? In fact, it's less than a thousand-million—only seven-hundred-and-ten-million pounds, less than half Labour. [end p1]

But just let's look at these Labour bills again. What it doesn't show is the amount of your money Labour's put aside for nationalisation. In the next few years, they're planning to spend another eleven-thousand-million pounds, more than five times their annual programme. That's a lot of money. And, because Governments don't have money, that's your money they're spending. And for what? What will Britain get back for it? Does Britain need it? Does Britain want it?

Unidentified Speaker

Personally, I disagree entirely with nationalisation because it … it's breaking some small firms down, it's all for the Government.

Peter Walker

If you vote Labour in the Election, you'll be voting for nationalisation. It doesn't matter what else you think you'll be voting for, because that's what you'll get. And, to be fair to Labour, they are not making any secret about it. It was in their manifesto in February and it's still there. They really believe they should control British industry.

So it's only fair you should ask yourself, is it a good idea? What's involved? Well, all the parties are agreed that the most important thing we have to do is to fight inflation. Will nationalisation help us to keep down prices? At the moment, prices are rising by something like twenty per cent. Mr. Healey would like us to believe eight-point-four per cent. But every housewife knows that's not true. She can tell by the prices in the High Street and she can tell by all the other bills that land on the mat.

The coal bill—up by £2.50 a ton. The electricity bill—up by 30p in the pound. The telephone bill—up by 15p in the pound. And even the stamps on the envelopes have gone up. All this in the last seven months of Labour Government. All of these, nationalised industries. And, of course, that's not the end of it. Far from it. There's a lot more big increases coming through just after the Election.

Do you travel by train? Fares have just gone up by 12p in the pound haven't they? And did you see in the papers that British Rail want to put them up by another 12p in the pound within six months? And there's another bill. The hidden bill. Another bill you have to meet. It's for the losses on the nationalised industries. It doesn't come through the letter-box but you pay it nonetheless. You pay on your VAT, on your income tax, on the tax that goes on a pint of beer or a packet of cigarettes. Last year, the bill came to sixty pounds for every family and you can't do a thing about it. You can cut down on most of your bills by using less. But you can't cut down the hidden bill for nationalisation. The more nationalisation we have, the more prices rise and the worse inflation gets. So it doesn't help inflation. [end p2]

But perhaps there's a case for it because it keeps people in jobs. I am afraid not. The facts shew that in the six years when Labour were last in Government, four-hundred-thousand jobs in nationalised industries were lost. Miners, railwaymen, steelworkers, they all lost jobs. So, nationalisation will do nothing to stop unemployment. The best way to look after jobs is to keep British industry alive and well. At the moment, it's on its knees. It won't be long before it's flat on its back. Instead of bleeding it white with increased taxes, as Labour have been doing, a Conservative Government will see that industry is allowed to get on with the job.

So there are the facts and they're worth thinking about. If you vote Labour, remember you'll be voting for more nationalisation, less efficient industry and higher prices, because that's what nationalisation means. If you vote Conservative, you'll be voting against nationalisation. It's up to you.

Unidentified Speaker

I know in my own heart and soul it's not for the good of the country. You know, as far as I am concerned, it won't help the country in any way by taking over these firms.

William Whitelaw

This country of ours is facing a difficult time. There are considerable economic problems ahead of us and they affect us all. But we shall overcome them because we are determined to overcome them. We always have in the past. We shall again. But surely we all know in our hearts we shall only do so if we tackle those problems together. We may have different political views but, at a time like this, I don't believe there is no meeting point between us.

And that is why it really saddens me we should have to be even talking about nationalisation when there is so much to be done to put Britain back on her feet. You know nationalisation won't help. It won't solve inflation. It won't safeguard your job and people don't want it. If there's something you're not happy with, wouldn't you rather have a word with the man you know instead of being told: “Don't ask me, I only work here. They make the decisions” ?

So why do Labour want nationalisation? Because their Left-wing wants it. As we've seen time and time again, Labour's Left-wing always get what they want. And that's precisely my point. At a time when we must unite to stand together, Labour are quite prepared to go out of their way to divide us. Surely this is the time to put aside policies that divide and agree on policies that unite? We have done just that. Labour have not. We have stated our priorities, so in a way have they. Ask yourself which party has got its priorities right. Isn't owning your own home more important than the State owning ICI? Isn't a better pension better than the State owning a dockyard? You must decide. But I'll tell you very clearly where the Conservative Party stands. [end p3]

We shall put money where it matters. We shall bury this nonsense about nationalisation. We shall make sure the firm you work for is allowed to get on with the job it does best. Labour has destroyed the confidence of business. It has taken away the money business needs to live, let alone invest. And, because we can't produce more, none of us can be better off. Instead, a Conservative Government will encourage our industries to hope and think and plan. We shall put money back to work. We shall invest in you. There will be a future once more. We believe in this nation, not nationalisation, and that is what we mean by putting Britain first.


Voice Over

The only way you can say no to nationalisation is to vote Conservative.