Pre-2008 Tory Policy on Financial Regulation and Public Spending

In the course of the budget debate, I’ve had the teeth-grinding experience of listening to a que of Tory MPs stand up and denounce the lack of regulation on financial services and increased spending under the last Labour Government. Of course, the Labour response to this has always been to point out that prior to the banking crisis the Tories weren’t arguing for more regulation or spending cuts- in fact they were arguing for less regulation in the mortgage sector and increasing public spending overall.

Having just heard one Tory in the chamber flatly deny this was the case, I thought it was worth digging out the report on which this claim is in-part based.

Freeing Britain to Compete: Equipping the UK for Globalisation was written by John Redwood and welcomed by the Shadow Cabinet in August 2007.

Here are some insightful excerpts:


Mortgage Regulation. We see no need to continue to regulate the provision of mortgage finance, as it is the lending institutions rather than the client taking the risk.


10.3. Sharing the Proceeds of Growth
David Cameron and George Osborne have also stated that they would share the proceeds of growth between tax reductions and increased public spending. This formula commits the Conservatives to increasing the total of public spending by more than the rate of inflation, but not by as much as the overall increase in the UK’s economic output across the economic cycle. This not only explicitly rules out spending cuts, but will mean a substantial increase in the amount that can be concentrated on those public services which are most valuable and important to all of us; and it will also mean a redoubling of efforts to improve productivity and efficiency throughout the public service, so that each pound spent goes further.

The impact of such a refreshing approach should be significant, as an incoming Conservative government would be able to maintain and improve the quality and funding of public services, and to reduce tax rates. To make this possible, a Conservative government should reform the public sector, and emulate the success of the private sector by delivering more efficient service each year, although with the added benefit of more money, which the private sector (such as the UK’s manufacturing industry) often has to do without. We should ask the public sector to deliver more with more. The manufacturing sector has to deliver more with less each year.

And here’s what George Osborne said about the report on August 17th 2007:

“The Policy Group Report we launch today is the most impressive and comprehensive analysis of the state of the British economy produced by any political party in recent times.

“And the Report offers us a set of imaginative policy proposals directed at improving the competitiveness of our economy, rescuing our pension system and ensuring that more Britons and more parts of Britain share in the global prosperity of our times.”

Here’s my question.  Why on earth have the Tories still got all this on their website?


Posted on March 23, 2012, in Economy. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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