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The Conservative administrations elected since 1979 are among the most successful in British peacetime history~ A country once the sick man of Europe has become its most successful economy. A country once brought to its knees by over-mighty trade unions now has industrial peace. Abroad, the cold war has been won; at home, the rule of law has been restored. The enterprising virtues of the British people have been liberated from the dead hand of the state. There can be no doubt that we have created a better Britain.
Why, then, do we still need a Conservative Government? Because resting on what we have achieved is not enough. To stand still is to fall back. Our goal must be for Britain to be the best place in the world to live.
We live in a tougher, more uncertain world.

A fast-moving global free market is emerging.

New economic powers are rising in the East.

Family life and social attitudes are changing.

Europe is adjusting to the end of communism.

The European social model is failing. The nation state is under threat. We must respond to these challenges.

We have turned around our economic fortunes. We have fewer people out of work and more in work than any other major European economy. British people now have the opportunity of a prosperous future. But that prosperity cannot be taken for granted. We have to compete to win. That means a constant fight to keep tight control over public spending and enable Britain to remain the lowest taxed major economy in Europe. It means a continuing fight to keep burdens off business, maintaining our opt-out of the European Social Chapter. If we relax for one moment, our hard won success will slip away again.

We have strengthen ed choice and personal ownership for families, and rolled back the state from areas where it was intefering unnecessarily in our lives. But we now have the opportunity to achieve a massive expansion in wealth and ownership so that more families can enjoy the self-respect and independence that comes with being self-sufficient from the state. Our far-reaching proposals for personal pension funds are central to achieving this -so too are our plans to increase support for the family in our tax system. Our aim is to spread opportunity for all to succeed, whoever they are and wherever they come from, provided they are prepared to work hard. To turn the '~have nots" into the ~'haves". To support the family in providing security and stability.
We have modernised and reformed many of the areas where the state still has a vital role. But we now have to build on these reforms to deliver even better services. We must continue providing the resources to invest in our modernised health service. We can now provide parents with a hard-edged guarantee of standards in schools. We need also to widen choice in areas where state bureaucracy has constrained it.
We have pioneered new ways ofbuilding partnerships that engage the private sector in areas previously dependent on the public purse. We now need to capture private sector investment on a massive scale to regenerate our cities, transform our crumbling local authority housing estates and modernise other public assets.
The only way to secure this future of opportunity is to stick with the Conservative programme of continuing reform. Now would be the worst possible moment to abandon the pathway to prosperity on which we are set. We must keep up the momentum.
At the same time we must maintain the security that a stable nation provides in an uncertain, fast-changing world. We must protect our constitution and unity as a nation from those who threaten it with unnecessary and dangerous change. And we must stand up for our interests in shaping a free-market Europe of sovereign nation states.

There is, of course, an alternative on offer: to load costs on business while calling it "stakeholding"; to increase the role of the state, while calling it "the community"; to succumb to a centralised Europe while calling it "not being isolated"; to break up our country while calling it "devolution".

To risk this alternative would be a disaster for our country. We have come a very long way. We must be sure that we do not throw away what we have gained, or lose the opportunities we have earned.
You can only be sure with the Conservatives.

There is, of course, an alternative on offer: to load costs on business while calling it "stakeholding"; to increase the role of the state, while calling it "the community"; to succumb to a centralised Europe while calling it "not being isolated"; to break up our country while calling it "devolution".

To risk this alternative would be a disaster for our country. We have come a very long way. We must be sure that we do not throw away what we have gained, or lose the opportunities we have earned.
You can only be sure with the Conservatives.

Our Vision for Britain
The Enterprise Centre of Europe 5
1. Doubling Living Standards
) Jobs and Business

Opportunity and Ownership for Individuals

and Families 13

3. Choice and Security for Families

4. Education and Opportunity

World Class Health and Public Services 25

5. Security in Health

6. Better Public Services

A Safe and Civil Society 33

7. Law, Order and Security

A Confident, United and Sovereign Nation 39
8. The Best Place in the World to Live
9. Europe and the World
10. The Constitution

A Choice of Th,o Futures 52

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1. Doubling Uving Standards

The free market is winning the battle of ideas the world over. From Russia to Vietnam, from China to Romania, people are realising that the socialist model has failed. This is not just an economic triumph. It is a triumph for human freedom. Britain helped to secure it. We should take pride in it.

The spread of the free market heralds a new age of global competition. That means new markets for British goods and services, but new competitors for British companies as well.
If we try to protect ourselves from these challenges with more regulations, public subsidies and a cosy dependence on government then Britain will fail. But if we boldly embrace these new opportunities by pushing forward the economic revolution we began in 1979, then we will enter the next millennium with boundless prospects for growth and prosperity.
That choice - between stagnation and dynamism - is the choice which faces Britain at this election. It is a stark choice between the British way - of trusting the people and unleashing enterprise - and the failing social model, practised on the continent, which the Labour Party wants to impose on us here under the guise of "stakeholding".
Hard economic evidence shows how great is the divide between these two strategies. Britain is now in its fifth year of growing faster than France or Germany. Unemployment in Britain has fallen to less than two million, while it rises across Europe. Britain attracts nearly forty per cent of all the American and Japanese investment in Europe. Our aim now is to safeguard these achievements and build on them, so Britain becomes the unrivalled Enterprise Centre of Europe.

A Low Thx Economy

For enterprise to flourish, the state must get out of the way of the wealth creators. We are the only party that can cut taxes because we are the only party which is serious about controlling public spending. The choice between the two economic philosophies is clean In the years before 1979, public spending in Britain kept pace with the average for Europe as a whole. Since then, it has continued rising on the continent, while we have restrained public spending here. Now, public spending takes about 40% of our national income as against an average of 50% on the continent. We have broken free from a trend in which the rest of Europe is still trapped.

Conservative government will keep public spending under tight control and ensure that it grows by less than the economy as a whole over the economic cycle. At the same time we will continue to spend more on the services which matter most to people - hospitals, schools and the police.
Over the next parliament, we will achieve our goal for the government to spend less than 40% of our national income

That means we can reduce the amount government borrows too, and meet our aim of moving towards a balanced budget in the medium term. Our plans show how we can virtually eliminate public borrowing by the year 2000.

Thanks to our success in controlling public spending, Britain is now Europe's low tax economy. This is one of the reasons why we are becoming the Enterprise Centre of Europe.
Our aim is to ensure Britain keeps the lowest tax burden of any major Eumpean economy.

In the election manifesto of 1992, we promised that "We will make further progress towards a basic income tax rate of 20p". Since then, we have cut the basic rate of income tax from 25p to 23p, and extended the 20p band so that over a quarter of all taxpayers now only pay income tax at the 2Cp rate. Achieving our public expenditure goals will mean we can sustain permanently low tax levels.

Over the next parliament, our aim will be to achieve our target of a 20p basic rate of income tax, while maintaining a maximum tax rate of no more than 40p.

Stable Pdces

Inflation has to be kept firmly under control for an economy to thrive. Britain is now enjoying the longest period of stable prices for almost fifty years. We are on target to reach our goal of 2720/0 inflation this yean

Low inflation has delivered lower interest rates whilst preserving the value of people's savings. Homeowners are now enjoying mortgage rates at the lowest levels for 30 years.
It has taken tough decisions to break free from our reputation as a high inflation economy. No Conservative government will jeopardise this achievement.

During the next parliament, we will maintain an inflation target of 2½% or less.

Rising Living Standards

The only secure base for rising living standards is a strongly growing economy, low levels of public spending and taxation, and stable prices. That is exactly what Britain is achieving. People are reaping the rewards of their hard work as their take home pay increases. Between 1974 and

1979, the take home pay for a family on

average earnings rose, in real terms, by just

£1 a week in today's prices. Since 1979 it

has increased by £100 a week; this year

alone it will increase by £7 a week.
The goal whkh we set ourselves in 1995 is to double living standards over 25 years.

We are on course to achieve our goal.

2. Jobs and Business

Our priority is to create jobs. This is not just an economic priority, but also a social and moral one. Jobs and enterprise are the best ways of tackling poverty and deprivation.

Britain is succeeding. 900,000 jobs have been created over the past 4 years. By contrast the European social model is stifling job creation on the continent by imposing regulations and burdens on business. In the United Kingdom unemployment is much lower than in the rest of Europe and falling whereas in Germany, France, and Italy it has risen to its highest level for a generation. This is no accident. It is because we have pursued very different policies from those on the Continent.
Curbing the power of trade unions, opening up markets and cutting red tape, have given us a low strike, low cost economy: and as a result Britain is the number one location for foreign investment in Europe.
Never have such policies been so important. For the first time this century we face a world full of capitalist competition. The only way Britain will be able to compete and win in world markets is by sticking to the Conservative policies that are delivering success. We can earn prosperity as one of the world's most successful global trading nations. We should not risk this progress by adopting the very policies that have made the continent uncompetitive and have increased unemployment in Europe by 4.5 million over the past 5 years.

Small Businesses -Britain's Risk-takers

Governments do not create jobs. Businesses do. The source of tomorrow 5 jobs will be small businesses, the seedcorn of Britain's prosperity. Over the last 15

years, small businesses have created over 2 million jobs. By the year 2000, over half the workforce should be working in companies which employ fewer than 50 people. Back in 1979 only a third of the workforce did.
Entrepreneurs often risk everything when they set up their own business. We have already helped them: raising the VAT threshold, cutting employer's national insurance contributions, simplifying audit requirements and much more besides. Now we intend to go further, tackling the remaining problems they face.
High taxes and rates deter enterprise. Our low tax structure has been crucial to our industrial revival. We already have the lowest corporation tax of any major industrialised country. As we want small businesses to flourish, we will go even furthen

We will cut the small companies rate of corpomtion tax in line with personal taxation as we move towards a 20p basic rate

Investment and enterprise are deterred if the taxman takes too much of the capital that is built up by a successful business. Capital is ever more mobile, flying around the world to places where the tax on it is low: Britain must be one of those places.

We will continue to reduce the burden of capital gains tax and inheritance tax as it is prudent to do so.

One of the heaviest burdens small businesses face is business rates. At the moment, this bears more heavily upon small businesses than large ones.

In the next parliament, we will reform business rates to reduce the cost that falls upon small businesses.

No businessman has time to fill out reams of forms. We will continue to

simplify the administration of NICs and PAYE for small firms, allowing them to concentrate on satisfying customers not bureaucrats. We are also tackling a problem that hits small businesses particularly hard

- the late payment of bills. On top of our programme to ensure government departments and local authorities pay on time we have legislated to require companies to publish their payment policy and to report their record on how quickly they pay their bills to small businesses.

We have already abolished over a thousand regulations. New regulations must only be introduced if it is clear that their benefits exceed their costs and they do not place an undue burden on a small firm.

We will introduce "sunset" requirements into new regulations whenever appropriate so that they are automatkally reviewed or dropped after a specific period.

Many businessmen suffer regulatory burdens imposed by local government and quangos.

We will therefore insist that the whole of the publk sector adopts the same stringent rules that we require of central government in justifying the benefits of new regulations against their costs.

Reducing the Burden on Companies

Jobs depend on British firms winning orders: the difference between success or failure can be wafer-thin. Any extra burden on business will destroy jobs.

Britain is enjoying more jobs and record investment, thanks to the competitive edge we have over other European countries. We are a low cost economy But that does not mean we are a low pay economy. Our competitive

advantage comes from the lower costs facing

our businesses. It can be measured by the social costs an employer has to pay on top of every £100 of wages: in Germany it is £31, in France £41, but in Britain, it is only £15.
Many countries in Europe have tried to cocoon themselves from global competition behind layers of red tape and regulation -such as the Social Chapter and a national minimum wage. This provides a false sense of security, playing a cruel trick on working people. It also excludes the unemployed from work. As companies in the rest of Europe have grown more uncompetitive, employers have found it too expensive to employ new workers, investment has gone elsewhere, and the dole queues have lengthened. The European social model is not social and not a model for us to follow. But if Britain signed up to the Social Chapter it would be used to impose that model on us - destroying British jobs.

No Conservative government will sign up to the Social Chapter or introduce a national minimum wage We will insist at the Intergovernmental Conference in Amsterdam that our opt-out is honoured and that Britain is exempted from the Working Time Directive: if old agreements are broken, we do not see how new ones can be made

We will resist the imposition of other social burdens on the work place through a new European employment chapter.

Welfare into Work

Although governments cannot create jobs, they can help people train and find work. We now have in place a battery of schemes working with Training and Enterprise Councils to provide targeted help and training, including remedial education in literacy and numeracy. We are also developing new incentives, alongside Family Credit, to help people move off benefit into work.

We will always help those in genuine need: in r&turn, the unemployed have a responsibility to look for work and accept a reasonable offer That belief underpins our new Jobseeker's Allowance which ensures that no-one can refuse reasonable work opportunities and remain on benefit.
As unemployment falls, we want to focus on those who have been unemployed for some time. At present, Project Work is helping 100,000 people who have been unemployed for more than 2 years in cities around Britain. They are first given help in finding a job - which includes giving employers incentives to take them on. Those who do not find jobs are then required to work for a specific period on a community project. This helps them regain work habits and ensures they are available for work.

As Project Work succeeds and demonstrates that its costs can be met by the savings from getting people into work, we will extend the programme to cover the long-term unemployed nationwide

We will also develop an innovative "Britain Works" scheme whkh uses the experience and ingenuity of private and voluntary sectors to get people off weffare into work.

Britain has one of the most mobile economies in Europe. People move on, and up, into better paid jobs more easily than on the continent.

The Information Society

Britain is at the forefront of creating tomorrow's information society Already we have exposed domestic telecommunications to competition and stimulated investment in cable and satellite entertainment systems. And by opening up international telecommunications we will continue to encourage companies

worldwide to base their global operations here. We will make sure that the digital revolution comes to Britain first.
We are launching an ambitious programme with industry to spread "IT for All", giving every adult the opportunity to try out and learn about new IT services. We will work with industry to ensure that all schools are connected to the information superhighway.

We will use the Millennium Lottery Fund to transform the computer fadlities and information links available in schools, libraries, museums, voluntary organisations and other public places after the turn of the century.

This will give the public much wider access to information services in the years ahead. We will also take advantage of information technology to transform the way government provides services to the public.

We will keep Britain in the vanguard of new mobile service development -including mobile telephone and information services - by introducing a pricing system for the radio spectrum to achieve more efficient allocation of radio frequencies.
We will maintain a strong, free and competitive broadcasting and press environment at both national and local level, while continuing to be vigilant in monitoring whether action is needed to curb breaches of standards, and prevent unacceptable press intrusion.


British science enjoys a worldwide reputation for excellence and cost-effectiveness, which makes Britain an attractive base for many domestic and overseas companies. We will continue to invest in science and target funds at basic

research, which would not otherwise be funded by industry. At the same time we will provide an enterprising environment which encourages firms to invest with confidence in applied science.

2020 Vision

There is no part of the globe which has not been reached by British enterprise and British culture. We have always looked out beyond these shores, beyond this continent. Our language, our heritage of international trading links, our foreign investments - second only to America's -are historic strengths which mean we are ideally placed to seize the opportunities of the global economy.

Thanks to Conservative policies of liberalisation and privatisation we are strong in industries of the future such as telecommunications, financial services, and information technology~ These are the industries that will benefit from opening up trade around the world. We will push for completion of the European Single Market and continue to pursue the objective of transatlantic free trade against the background of world trade liberalisation.

Our aim is nothing less than tariff free trade across the globe by the year 202~

Free competition is important for free markets. Companies should not make agreements that restrict competition and hence result in poor value for consumers. We have set out proposals to give companies greater protection against price fixing, dumping, and other restrictive practices by larger competitors.

We will introduce a Competition Bill to take forward these proposals in the first session of the next parliament

We are committed to pushing forward our competitiveness agenda which is making Britain the Enterprise Centre of Europe.

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