The first campaign – against ‘the Tosser’ of debt – on the Tories’ Sort-It website was praised by ConservativeHome but widely criticised elsewhere. The second campaign offers advice on how to live life for 10% less. The ‘Live life for less’ campaign encourages readers to ‘name and shame’ a cowboy tradesman (I hope the party has its lawyers on stand by) and lists a whole range of websites that offer advice on such things as cutting energy bills, locating the cheapest petrol, avoiding being ripped off by tradesman and getting the best prices on food. The ‘getting the best prices on food’ link with its focus on the biggest supermarkets doesn’t quite fit into the wider Tory message on encouraging shopping at local stores and farmers’ markets but is part of the very welcome new year Tory campaign to understand the pressures on ‘strivers’.
In an article for The Sunday Times, David Cameron lists the four forces that mean that prices are now raising faster than incomes:
- Stealth taxation: Gordon Brown’s taxes are up by 81% while pay is up by just 47%.
- Utility bills: "Gas bills alone have risen by 71% since 2003 and electricity bills have nearly doubled. These rises in necessities hit the most vulnerable hardest.. The number of households who cannot pay for their heating has increased by 1m in the past three winters."
- Housing costs: "Since 1997 mortgage payments have risen by 78%, reflecting the trebling in house prices. The number of first-time buyers is falling faster here than in any other leading country."
- General inflation: "Be it in the cost of basic home maintenance such as plumbing, to last week’s rail fare increases, which mean that an open return ticket between London and Manchester now costs £219, it is unsurprising that people are feeling financially squeezed."
David Cameron concludes:
"In its complacency over the economy, the government has neglected the working people of Britain, who try to provide for themselves and their families but find it is increasingly difficult to do so. They want a party that will fight for them and keep the cost of living down. They want a party that will work with them to get their quality of life up, Today it is the Conservative party which is making sure that their voices are heard."