The Rt. Hon Theresa Villiers: Delivering a Strong Economy

My greatest goal in politics is a strong economy. Without that, it becomes almost impossible to deliver any other political goal. We need sound public finances and a strong economy to fund the NHS, schools and all the public services we value. I believe that this issue is central to the choice facing voters at this election.

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In 2010, Labour left us with the worst deficit in our peacetime history. Last year, UK economic growth was better than all but one other major advanced economy. We have cut the deficit by almost two thirds – dealing with our debts to help secure stability and prosperity for the future. In cash terms, the deficit is down from £151.7 billion in 2009-10 to £51.7 billion in 2016-17. As a share of GDP, it is down by almost three quarters.

An astonishing number of jobs have been created since we took over, around 1000 for each day we have been in office. Employment is up by 2.8 million. That’s 2.8 million more people with the security of bringing home a regular pay packet. There are now more women in work than ever before. We have also cut income tax for 31 million people.

A coalition of chaos led by Jeremy Corbyn propped up by the Lib Dems and the SNP would put all that at risk.

Since the start of the election campaign, Labour and the Lib Dems have been making more and more spending commitments without credible plans for how to pay for them. Jeremy Corbyn thinks the last Labour government ‘actually spent too little’. A cautious analysis of the Labour manifesto indicates that Labour have a £58 billion black hole in their spending plans. This would have to be paid for by every family in the country with higher taxes and more debt.

The hardship faced by countries around Europe during the banking and sovereign debt crisis shows what happens when governments lose control of the public finances and borrow more than they can afford: our public services suffer, people on low incomes suffer, jobs are lost, and living standards fall.

A Labour-Lib Dem coalition led by Jeremy Corbyn would wreck the economy. That would mean less money for our schools, less for the NHS, less for policing, less for our armed services, and less for all our other priorities. Only a strong and stable government led by Theresa May and the Conservatives can lock in the economic progress we have made.

 

Theresa Villiers was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland under David Cameron and is the Conservative candidate for Chipping Barnet, a seat she has held since 2005.

 

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  • commented 2017-05-23 08:28:46 +0100
    Of course, a strong economy founded on sound public finances should be at the heart of all political parties’ calculations, especially during this election season. But notwithstanding the efforts made by politicians to educate citizens about these issues, the fact remains that most voters are pretty ignorant about policy, politics and economics.

    This lies at the root of all that has gone so badly wrong with our model of democracy, which is completely reliant on an informed public making choices in the field of politics, on the basis of established facts and what is commonly known to be true.

    It would also explain why there is little confidence in the ability of big government to fix market failures or use the instrument of regulation to curb anti-competitive behaviour.

    But it is not only voters who are ill-informed about current affairs – this failing extends to people who are in the pay of the State too. After all, they are drawn from the same array of ordinary citizens to perform the functions of government (and regulators), which means that there is nothing special about their skills, qualities or capabilities. Indeed, their reputation is further undermined by the fact that their ability to innovate, solve problems, learn from past mistakes and adapt to change, which is a distinctive characteristic of people in the Private Sector, has been erased in the Public Sector due to incessant conditioning of the mind from an early age.

    However, what is especially worrying about people in the pay of the State is that they haven’t got a clue about what it is that drives the behaviour of for-profit organisations in the free market – not least, because they have not spent a single day of their lives in the Private Sector – and yet they have been put in charge of spending taxpayers’ money to buy goods, services and labour from non-public sector organisations.

    Worse still, in specialised markets such as that in military equipment for the Armed Forces, the role of the regulatory authority and sponsoring agency has been combined in one department of state – the Ministry of Defence – which means that the independent scrutiny function, free from political interference, is non-existent.

    So, successful capture of a department of state by the Defence Industry amounts to capture of both roles!

    Which would probably explain why the Defence Industry has failed so miserably to deliver equipment to the Armed Forces which is fit for purpose, adequately sustained in-service and constitutes value for money through-life for as long as anyone can remember.

    Instead of doing the decent thing and educating people in the pay of the State about the ways of the Private Sector, Defence Contractors are busy exploiting their ignorance, for one purpose only – relieving them of taxpayers’ money – which has, in itself, left the public finances in pretty bad shape.

    It’s not so much a lack of skills in Whitehall that is the problem, but a surplus of people with the wrong skills. Some people say that they can be retrained to equip them with the necessary skills which will enable them to deal with today’s challenging public service tasks. But the inescapable truth is that these people are simply beyond repair!
    @JagPatel3 on twitter