By Tim Montgomerie
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On Majority Conservatism I've argued that we need a 'Conservatism for the little guy'. An 'outsiderism' on behalf of consumers, taxpayers and small business entrepreneurs was also one of four big ideas from an FT series on the future of US conservatism.
Dom Raab MP has responded with a paper for the Centre for Policy Studies in which he advocates ten policies which, in his words, "promote the great British underdog". The Conservative Party, he writes, "ought to be the party that breaks down glass ceilings and monopolistic vested interests. Above all, this agenda ought to appeal to those who prize the work ethic as a value that transcends class, ethnicity, faith or other social differences."
He advocates ten policies:
- "Extend Open Access, the scheme that sponsors talented children from all backgrounds to go to independent schools.
- Fast-track Troops to Teachers, to encourage more schools staffed by veterans to be set up in areas of deprivation.
- Give VAT tax breaks to charities such as Fight for Peace which help turn round the lives of disaffected youngsters.
- Re-instate Young Apprenticeships, so that non-academic children have a better range of vocational options.
- Expand opportunities for “legal executives”, to encourage wider non- graduate entry into the profession.
- Give start-ups and micro-businesses tax breaks, such as exemptions on employers’ NI contributions and cuts in business rates.
- Extend the 0% band on stamp duty to £250,000, to help first time buyers get a foot on the housing ladder.
- Release ‘dead equity’ for tenants in social housing, to incentivise home ownership and finance new social housing.
- Teach refugees English on arrival, so they can find work and integrate into the community.
- Introduce a simple tax allowance for employers of disabled people to cover the cost of workplace adaptations."
Mr Raab calculates that these policies would cost £1.6 billion to implement. They should be financed, he says, by trimming Britain's "intrusive nanny state and bloated bureaucracy". He wants less money spent on machinery that redistributes wealth and more money spent on programmes that turbo charge mobility.
Important stuff from Dom Raab, confirming him – alongside people like Liz Truss, Amber Rudd, Sajid Javid, Jesse Norman, Andrea Leadsom and Chris Skidmore – as one of the party's most interesting new thinkers.
More at the Centre for Policy Studies.