Election 2010: Tories' biggest financial
Author: Laura Miller
*Warning: The following may stir some unhappy
Some of these gems are from back in the Tory
heyday, but being out of power for more than a decade
hasn't stopped them fumbling with the figures.
8. Poll tax
The last day of March this year marked the 20th
anniversary of the 1990 poll tax riots, when 200,000
British citizens protested in Trafalgar Square against
probably the most unpopular tax in British history
(outside the FSCS interim levy?).
The 'Community Charge' shifted focus from house
price to the number of people living in it, moving the
tax burden from the rich to the poor.
By November, the Tories had forced Prime
Minister Margaret Thatcher to step down, with her still
defending a tax opinion polls showed had just 2%
7. Lord Ashcroft
on Tory economic policy - do as I say not as I
The annual tax-saving of the Tory party's
biggest donor, who took his seat in the Lords in 2000 and
so has been involved in setting UK law for a decade, is
£12.76m, according to Lib Dem research.
That's £127m in unpaid British tax.
Ashcroft, who has given millions of pounds to
Tory campaigning, confirmed last month he was
non-domiciled for tax purposes after years of
Nice of him to pop back from time to time to
vote on how us domiciles do pay tax, though isn't
6. Nigel Lawson's
pensions holiday from hell
In the 1986 Tory Budget, then Chancellor Nigel,
now Lord, Lawson introduced an effective 5% cap on the
surplus of an employer's pension fund.
Employers could use surplus assets to improve
member benefits, or take a contributions holiday.
Otherwise, assets above 5% would be heavily taxed.
Predictably, employers opted for the holiday.
But the holiday is now over. In a report last
year, actuaries Lane Clark & Peacock (LCP) said the
pension black hole at FTSE 100 companies has hit a record
£96bn, up from £65bn in 2003.
5. Boris Johnson
on Tory economic prudence
In a Telegraph article in 2007, London Mayor
Boris Johnson analysed the worst recession in 70 years,
and what to do about it: "This isn't the Black
Death....The boom-slump cycle is a natural part of our
history... It is like love.....there is no need to go
into mourning for capitalism....and there is nothing
remotely impolite, in these circumstances, about spending
money and being seen to spend money. Far from
As every financial planner knows, people lose
the £1m which would secure their and their family's
future £50 at a time, buying stuff instead of saving and
investing it. But at least according to Johnson, they
will be the most polite people at the homeless
reinvents mathematics (part 1)
In 2007, Osborne proposed a flat rate levy of
£25,000 on non-domiciled workers, which he said would
generate £3.5bn and allow him to cut inheritance
But only non-doms with over £62,000 in yearly
foreign income would pay the charge and according to
Treasury costings then, only 15,000 non-doms received
income at this level. Osborne's proposal would raise a
maximum of £650m - £2.9bn short of his total.
Another ‘number problem' with the plan was it
assumed 150,000 resident non-domiciles. HMRC figures at
the time recorded only 114,000.
3. Boris (again)
on 'ends justify the means' economic
In an interview with the BBC in September, Tory
Mayor Johnson told Britain: "Bankers are the scum of the
earth at the moment but they contribute huge sums of
revenue to the Exchequer."
Not exactly in the spirit of TCF, is
reinvents mathematics (part 2)
At the Tory party conference in October, Osborne
claimed he would save £13bn by upping the state pension
age from 65 to 66 from 2016. The respected think tank the
National Institute of Economic and Social Research
(NIESR) disagreed, saying not only would the savings take
five years longer, they would fall £3bn short. And they
should know - they provided the figures Osborne based his
Reams have been written about 16 September 1992,
when the Tory government was forced to pull sterling out
of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) after the
currency sunk in value below the agreed lower limit. But
all you really need to know is:
1. Black Wednesday cost Britain
2. Trading losses in August and September were
estimated at £800m.
3. Taxpayers lost out most because better
management of devaluation could have turned a profit,
around £2.4bn if the government had kept $24bn in foreign
currency reserves. Instead the Treasury spent £27bn
propping up the pound.
4. Interest rates rose from 10% to 12% (and
stayed that way even after Britain exited the
ERM.....great news if you had a mortgage).
5. Guess who was 'Special Adviser' to Tory
Chancellor of Exchequer Norman Lamont at the
time......... David Cameron.