Well, I'm all right Jack. It's the same as everybody in this country. We're all out to fill our own beds. It's the cold hard truth. We all want to earn our own money. If that man over there is earning £50 a week and I can take home £120—I'm all right Jack.
But are you all right Jack? If you haven't got a strong Trade Union behind you, digging its heals in, pushing through a large wage increase for you, the chances are you're anything but all right. So nobody listens to you. And if nobody listens, what are they going to do for you? Now, we don't think that's right. That's why a Conservative Government is going to introduce a National contract. One with all the people in this country, not with just some of them.
On Election Day you elect your MP—you expect him to look after the interests of all the people—not just his Party. It's the same with a government—it has a contract with all the people. It cannot, and must not, serve just one section. People have to be protected. Inflation's a killer. It's because we're determined to protect people that we put homes and jobs and pensions slap bang at the top of our list of priorities. Of course we've got to protect the pensioners. And we've already said very clearly what we shall be doing.
Yes, we are going to do four things for pensioners, and we're going to start doing them straight away. First, we're going to increase pensions twice a year, and pay the first increase as from February at the latest. Second, we're going to pay the £10 Christmas bonus again this year, just as a Conservative Government did in each of the last two years. Third, we're going to scrap the earnings rule as soon as we can and start relaxing it straight away. Fourth, we are going to raise the starting point at which people over 65 begin to pay tax. Now these four measures really do add up to a new deal for old people. [end p1]
So that's straightforward. But it's going to be much harder to protect people's jobs and that's where these big wage increases don't help at all. They simply feed inflation. They make employers, State, private—doesn't matter who they are—it makes them say, “Well, if that's what it costs to employ people, I can't afford to employ so many of them,” so you get unemployment. That's happening now. You've got the ridiculous situation of firms with full order books, and they haven't got the cash to pay the wages. So they have to lay people off. So Labour's policies are actually causing unemployment, and more nationalisation will only make things worse. And nobody wants it anyhow. But these wage increases are also doing something else that I find very worrying. They're creating new divisions in our society that were never there before. We used to talk, and I'm afraid we still do, about rich and poor, the haves and have-nots. Today it's not that simple. There really are a lot of people who have got nobody to protect them. There are millions of them, they've no Trade Union, they've no voice, and you could be one of them.
Well, I think that we were brought up as working-class children… .
… . and we have tried to improve ourselves, educationally, and look to better things than our parents had, and we seem to be penalised for it.
I feel bitter in terms of what we've achieved so far and instead of being able to progress, we're held back. I think we're typical of a large number of people who want to be independent of the local authority, want to be independent of large labour unions, who have found it very difficult to survive over the last six months—nine months. And it's not a case now of us thinking how our standard of living is going down, it's already gone down, and we've seen that happening. And I think there are lots of young people now who have, to some extent, gone out on a limb to buy a house, who are finding things very very tight. And the children suffer. We don't push for anything particularly brilliant in terms of a life-style, but we do feel that there ought to be some reward at the end of the line for people who are prepared to work hard.
Mortgage payments at the moment are very high—we're paying here 11¼%;—if that rate of mortgage interest went up any more than that, frankly, I don't quite know what we'd do about it, because 11¼%; when we took it out was fine, but with inflation and everything else at the moment, if it goes up much higher we could have a big problem.
It's not only a question of the mortgage repayments, There's also the rates, which at the moment are very high.
Mr. and Mrs. Mayberry were only saying what a lot of people are thinking. Nothing is more important than the security that comes from knowing you've a home of your own. And it's becoming more and more of a problem to get that home. And when you've got it, to meet the cost of running it. We're determined to make it less of a problem and we've said how. [end p2] Just let me repeat it—9½%; mortgages from Christmas and that's not just for new mortgages. It doesn't matter what rate you're paying now, from Christmas down it comes to 9½%;. And then special cash help for people trying to get a deposit together for their first home. And people who have been council tenants for at least three years will have the right in law to buy their home at two-thirds the market value. But what if you've started to buy your home and then find you can't afford the running costs? What about the rates? For many people, what was difficult has become almost impossible. But of course the whole system wasn't really fair to begin with. You can have an old retired couple living next door to a family with two or three wage earners bringing in say £80 a week. And next door again there's a young married couple with small children just starting out at say £40 a week, and yet they all pay the same rates. It's just not fair. The Conservative Government is going to put an end to this, and we're going to make a start straight away. Next year we shall take teachers' salaries off the rates and have them paid by the government. That means there'll be immediate relief, and you'll be able to see the difference in the first rate demand you receive next year. That's just a start. Within the next five years, and soon if we can manage it, we shall get rid of rates altogether. The bills will be paid through the ordinary tax system and that must be a fairer way to do things.
Maybe one man's 40—30-40 per cent wage increase is another man's 30–40 per cent cost increase … and it's those who have got power and the might behind them with the unions that certainly seem to be getting the better end of the deal at the moment.
We've just got to put an end to ‘them and us’. There's no need for it—there's no time for it. We've got to start working together for all our sakes. The problems we face today are too severe for anyone party to solve on its own. That is why we have to get together. That is the only way we have a chance to beat inflation and avoid another winter of strikes. I don't believe that the Trade Unions will refuse to work with a government which represents all the people of this country, a democratically elected government. We want a clear majority so that we can form a government of national unity of all those who put Britain first, and that is a firm promise.
A week today you cast your vote, Thursday October 10th—on Monday 14th we shall be making a start. We shall sit round that table—all of us—and start working together. A National Government of all the people. That's what this country needs. And the only way it's going to get it is to vote Conservative
… has started off in a very small way in purely asking for a basic standard of life, which at the moment seems to be in continual jeopardy.
People have to be protected. The only way to protect all the people is to vote Conservative.