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Local Lib Dems challenge Conservatives on Economy

September 28, 2008
Liberal Democrats in Hastings & Rye have thrown down the gauntlet to the Conservatives at the time of their conference by demanding answers to questions about the economy.
Nick campaigning with Vince Cable MP on rising food prices

Nick campaigning with Vince Cable MP on rising food prices

Leading the charge for the local Liberal Democrats is Nick Perry, the party’s parliamentary campaigner.

He said that with the credit crunch biting hard, residents in Hastings & Rye have a right to know what the Conservatives would do to restore the economy to health.

“The credit crunch started last year but so far, the Conservatives have said a lot about how badly the economy is going, and very little about how they want the economy restored to health,” said Nick.

“If the Conservatives want people in Hastings & Rye to vote for them, they need to say what they stand for. It seems to me that the Conservatives are either clueless about how to solve the economic problems or have policies that they want to keep hidden.

“I am therefore challenging the Conservatives in Hastings & Rye to tell us how they would tackle the big issues facing local residents.”

Nick has written to the local Conservatives calling for answers to the following:

Will the Conservatives make the richest pay their fair share of tax?
The only tax proposals announced by the Conservatives are to cut Inheritance Tax for millionaires, abolish Stamp Duty on shares and introduce a marriage-based tax system which would penalise widows, those escaping domestic violence and anyone else who is not married.

Will the Conservatives continue to defend the behaviour of fat-cat City speculators?
The Conservatives have refused to criticise the City hedge funds, which have significantly worsened the recent financial crisis.

What do the Conservatives mean by sharing the proceeds of growth, and how will they do it in a recession?

Why have the Conservatives nothing to say about council and other social housing?
The Conservatives brought council house building effectively to an end when they were last in government. Now council housing is badly needed but the Conservatives have been silent about this.

Do the Conservatives now admit they got it wrong on Northern Rock?
The Conservatives failed to see the Northern Rock fiasco coming. When it did arrive they kept changing their position on how to deal with it. Now that other banks are facing difficulties will they continue to oppose state ownership on ideological grounds?

Why did the Conservatives ignore the dangerous boom in lending and house prices?
Whilst the Government let the boom in credit get out of control, the Conservatives sat idly by. Now that the housing bubble has burst, the Conservatives are happy to make political capital. Their frontbencher Andrew Mitchell MP said that the economic problems besetting the country have created ‘an incredibly good moment’ for the Conservatives. How can taxpayers believe they will do anything to tackle the problem were they in government? (Source: ePolitix.com 26/9/08)

What is the Conservative view on house prices?
High house prices mean many people are unable to get their foot on the first rung of the property ladder. However, the Conservatives have so far failed to accept that prices needs to be more realistic. They were the first to propose a Stamp Duty holiday to get first time buyers into the market. Yet that same policy completely failed when they introduced it the last time they were in office. People did not want to buy homes which a few months later would be worth a great deal less than they paid for it.

Why do the Conservatives still support Council Tax?
The last Conservative Government introduced the unfair Council Tax in the wake of the disastrous Poll Tax. 15 years on and after it has doubled under the current Government, the Tories have still failed to tackle this flawed tax, which disproportionately hits pensioners and poor families.

Nick said, “So far the Conservatives have failed to say how they will resolve the problems facing families today.

“Their empty words have got them through until now, but they are no substitute for actual proposals when it comes to tackling the serious problems facing our economy. The Conservatives must stop dodging the tough choices if he really wants to establish any economic credibility with voters.”

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