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1974 Oct 9 We
Margaret Thatcher

Written Statement on housing and rates

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Document kind: Written Statement
Venue: Conservative Central Office, Smith Square, Westminster
Source: Conservative Party Archive: CCOPR GE 235/74
Journalist: -
Editorial comments: Embargoed until 1030.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 263
Themes: General Elections, Monetary policy, Housing, Local government, Local government finance

HOMES AND RATES

Our five pledges are:

1. To reduce the maximum mortgage interest rate to 9½ per cent by Christmas and see that it goes no higher. This will not affect the rate of interest paid to depositors. Those handful of people who have very large loans will only get the benefit of the 3½ per cent ceiling on the first £25,000.

2. To help first-time home buyers save for the deposit with a £1 grant for every £2 saved regularly, up to a maximum of £5 weekly, over two years.

3. To give council tenants of at least three years' standing the legal right to buy their house or flat at two-thirds of the market price.

4. To give immediate help to all ratepayers by transferring the cost of teachers' salaries and more of the cost of the police and fire services from the rates to the Exchequer as from next April.

5. To abolish the unfair system of household rates altogether over the normal 4–5 year period of a Parliament and replace it by a fairer and more broadly based system of taxes. [end p1]

These are five firm pledges which a Conservative Government will carry out.

Mr. Harold Wilson has accused us of making “irresponsible promises” and of bringing the electorate. This is precisely the sort of language Mr. Wilson used during the 1951 General Election when he described the Conservative pledge to build 300,000 houses a year as “an electoral trick” and “a cruel deception” . We kept our promise then and we will keep our promise now.