I want the best for our country, and everyone who lives here.
People from all backgrounds should have the opportunity to achieve their full potential. A reformed education system, with Grammar Schools playing an important role, is at the heart of this. I made it from a state primary school, to a south London Grammar School and then to Oxford. I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to achieve their full potential like this – no matter where they live or what their background happens to be.
But with opportunity comes responsibility. The responsibility to work hard. To obey the law. To rely on your own initiative, and not rely on the welfare system. There are five million working age people in the UK today who rely on benefits and do not work. This has been the case for the past 15 years, even during the boom time, and it continues to be the case despite millions of new jobs being created. Of course people who need help should receive it, but long term welfare dependency at the expense of hard working taxpayers is not acceptable. That’s why I proposed – and the Government is looking to adopt – “Work for the Dole” whereby able bodied people who have claimed out-of-work benefits for more than 2 years would be required to do 35 hours a week of community service.
Here is a Channel 5 Interview covering the policy: http://youtu.be/0MqeShK32Z4 and here is an interview I did on Radio 4’s Today programme on the topic: https://soundcloud.com/taxpayersalliance/bbc-radio-4-today-work-for-the
I set my first business up when I was 24. I want the Government to encourage business as much as possible. Businesses create jobs. They create prosperity. And they pay the taxes which fund essential services like the NHS and schools, and pay for nurses, doctors, teachers, Police, the Fire Service and the armed forces. Encouraging business and enterprise is good for everyone.
The current Government has been reducing the deficit and encouraging businesses to create jobs. The deficit is down by a third and 1.4 million extra jobs have been created since 2010 (even after accounting for job losses in the public sector). Unemployment is tumbling down. The Government should tax as little as possible and should also balance its own books – otherwise we are just sending today’s bills to our children and our grandchildren. The economic plan is on the right track, but there is still a long way to go and we cannot risk a change of course derailing the recovery.
The NHS saved my children’s lives when they were born prematurely in April 2013. I want to see the NHS protected and encouraged. Of course it must work efficiently and without waste (and there is still a lot to do here), but its mission to offer world class care quickly and effectively must never be forgotten.
I have always believed in British sovereignty. The EU, as it was constituted prior to the February 2016 renegotiation, did not allow the UK to adequately run its own affairs and needed urgent and radical reform. The new deal secured for Britain achieves many of the things that are needed - confirmation that the Euro is not the only official currency of the EU and that the £ is safe; confirmation of the UK's special status having opted out of Schengen; an explicit exemption from "ever closer union" that will be enshrined in the next round of treaty change; special protection for the City of London outside the Eurozone; and explicit agreement that financial regulation will remain with the UK. Restrictions on in-work benefits and child benefit to migrant workers are also welcome steps forward. More still needs to be done to reduce regulation and return more powers to nation states, but the February 2016 renegotiation moves a long way in the right direction.
Reform is also needed to apply to the European Convention on Human Rights – which often prevents us from quickly deporting known terrorists and foreign criminals. I look forward to the planned British Bill of Rights which will replace the Human Rights Act.
Controlling our borders is essential. We should be happy to allow people to come to settle in this country if they can make a real contribution – for example, if they have advanced qualifications. Those with good qualifications who come here and work hard, pay their taxes and obey the law are welcome – provided that the numbers are strictly limited to a sensible level. Those who come here and commit crime should be immediately deported.
I love our country. It has a proud past, and can and should have a bright future. I believe that we can continue to play an important role in the world. Our outstanding Armed Forces deserve our full support. They guarantee our safety in an increasingly uncertain world.
These are my beliefs. I’m in politics to make them happen – by helping to elect a majority Conservative Government in 2015, and by making sure that Government delivers.