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Posted by: Andy - 04-18-2018, 08:32 PM - Forum: Rules and Announcements - No Replies

2002 General Election Rules

Campaigning will last for four days: Friday 20th April to Monday 23rd April. Each campaigning day lasts from midnight-to-midnight, UK time.

Campaigning takes place in two forms: the National campaign and the Regional campaign. The National Campaign affects the overall vote share each party receives. The Regional campaign affects each parties' performance in that region.

National Campaigning

Party Political Broadcast – 2 during the campaign – FREE
These are blocks of 5 minutes of free television airtime given out to each party. Each party can make two PPBs. We recommend using one near the start of the campaign and one near the end. You should provide a script detailing what is being said and what images are being shown. Celebrities may only be used if pre-approved by the A-Team.

High Profile Events – 2 per day – FREE
These events will have significant press exposure, and will be seen on the news by many voters. Use them to highlight a particular policy area, show off the problems with your opponents, or launch your manifesto. You may make two of these events per day. Each should feature one or two senior members of the party (i.e. player characters). HPEs are more effective when focused on one issue. You should provide a speech of at least a few paragraphs.

Manifesto – only needed once – FREE
The party's platform of election promises should be placed in the Manifesto thread. Revealing it early on will allow you to reference back to it during the campaign. The public will take a very dim view if a party doesn't have one. You should provide, as a minimum, a bullet point list of promises in each policy area.

Regional Campaigning
You may use materials in more than one region, paying separately each time. However, using the same materials multiple times in the same region will suffer diminishing returns.

Leafleting – See each region for costs
Going round putting leaflets through doors. Use leaflets to show off your policies and explain why you're great and the other parties aren't. You should provide either the text of the leaflet along with a description of how the leaflet looks, or a image of the leaflet.

Canvassing/Mainstreeting – See each region for costs
Knocking on doors or wandering about in a town's high street, talking to anyone who'll listen. Talk to voters about your policies and about your opponents. You should provide a bullet point list of at least three talking points, plus a leaflet to hand out. This may be the leaflet you used for leafleting.

Speech – See each region for costs
A stump speech delivered to voters in the constituency. Good for longer-form coverage of subjects that don't require a full High Profile Event. You should provide a speech of at least a few paragraphs.

Posters/Billboards – See each region for costs
Big signs up around the region with your message on. Good for simple, clear messages. Don't use lots of text. You should provide either the text of the sign along with a description of how it looks, or a image of the poster/leaflet.

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  Dr. Evelyn Lynwood
Posted by: Dr. Evelyn Lynwood (CON) - 04-18-2018, 10:44 AM - Forum: New Players -- Register Here - Replies (1)

[Image: wgl04_14-helle-thorning-schmidt.jpg?w=414&h=240&crop=1]

Character Name: Dr. Evelyn Lynwood (nee. Ward)
Avatar: Helle Thorning Schmidt

Age: 52 (20/05/1950)
Race/Ethnicity: White
Gender: Female
Sexuality: Heterosexual
Religion: Agnostic

Class: Born to a Family of Small Business Owners
Spouse: David Lynwood
  • Dan Lynwood (Aged 23)
  • Richard Lynwood (Killed in Motorcycle Accident Aged 18 in 1999)
  • Amelia Lynwood (Aged 19)
  • Sophie Lynwood (Aged 16)
Altrincham Grammar School for Girls (1961 - 1968)
Ba. Philosophy, Politics & Economics | 2:1 - Oxford University (1968 - 1971)
MPhil. International Relations | First - Oxford University (1971 - 1973)
Dr. Philosophy in International Relations - Oxford University (1973 - 1976)

Journalist | Reuters (1976 - 1984)
Section Editor | The Sunday Times (1984 - 1987)
Small Business Owner | Ward Homes (1987 - 1992)

Political Career:
Member of Parliament for Altrincham and Sale West (1992 - Present)

Party: Conservative (Conservative Way Forward)

Ideological Beliefs:
British Nationalist
Economic Liberal
Social Conservative

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  Lab PC: The Budget
Posted by: Rt. Hon. Alwyn Thomas (LAB) - 04-17-2018, 02:45 PM - Forum: Marked Speeches and Conferences - Replies (1)

Chancellor of the Exchequer Alwyn Thomas, MP for Newport, spoke to assorted journalists and invited questions on the official Budget for 2002. A pristine bound copy of the Labour Budget is on every press chair, along with copies of the Tory Shadow Budget in similar conditions.

Quote:Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen, I have just come from the House of Commons where I have delivered the fifth consecutive annual Labour Budget, and the fourth consecutive Labour Budget to deliver a surplus. Whilst the Tories rush now to prove that they haven't really learned anything in the last five years and push a shadow budget with yet another budget deficit I would like to thank my staff at the Exchequer and my predecessors Messrs. Brown and Manning for enabling me the funding to begin to pursue my economic vision for public services in this country. As I have already spoken at length about the Budget in three speeches to the House I shall not be going over the details with a fine tooth comb this evening but I shall be happy to answer any questions you may have at the end.

Ladies and Gentlemen this Budget is a triumph for the Labour movement and the culmination of five years under Smith, Tanner and Finch. When we took office five years ago the public finances were in a mess, we were in deficit yet there was no money to invest in our public services, which had been left to rot for eighteen years under Tory mismanagement. Over the last five years we have balanced the books and turned on the taps to put together an economy where with the delivery of this Budget the wealthy will pay their fair share, millions will be taken out of tax and everyone has access to stronger public services than ever before. The task is nowhere near done, public services can still be improved and there are millions of people just about managing who could use some more assistance, but with the Labour Party's careful stewardship we are in a position to say that Britain is in a far superior position now when compared with how it was when we arrived. Under Labour we have seen surplus, tax cuts and spending increases that in the previous two decades would have been unthinkable, under the Tories we would see a return to deficit spending, unsustainable tax cuts for privilege and spending starvation going through the very heart of Government.

Now I would be remiss if I didn't come before you today to extol some of the Budget's great strengths, but now that the Tories have released their Shadow Budget I am also at liberty to compare the two budgets against each other, something I was unable to do hours ago in the House. I think the only apt place to start is in the departmental overview, if you're reading along then that will be the first page of the two budgets you'll have found on your chair. Looking through this page in both budgets we see quite clearly which party is spending more on making a difference to people's lives. The Tories cut foreign affairs in real terms expenditure and underfunded nearly every other critical department before playing some smoke and mirrors tricks in the NHS. The Labour Party has invested in our public services sustainably and to the point where even though we outspend the Tories in nearly every department we have a budget surplus some £7.5bn larger than their's (£3.5bn deficit, £4bn surplus). It is clear from this page alone that when it comes to the public sector only one party can be trusted to look after them properly and get them the funding settlements that they deserve, that's the Labour Party. I would like to draw your attention to the Conservative Party Shadow Budget entry about the foreign office, that is not a misprint, they really have cut foreign office funding as the country heads off to war in Afghanistan. It is also worth noting on page 2 (Key Statistics) that the Labour Party surplus after investment is a solid £25bn, the Tory Shadow Budget posts a figure of £15.5bn, a £9.5bn drop off that would restrict Government spending power next year if they were actually in office, fortunately they are not and next year whichever party is in Government will have more flexibility to deal with the changes posed by the World Economy.

Taxation is a big issue for a great many people, the Tories themselves like to make great political hay out of the fact that they cut taxes harder and faster than anyone else. So you will no doubt be surprised to note that it is the Labour Party who deliver greater tax cuts to the people than the Tories. In the Budget the personal allowance of income tax has been raised by £1500, that right there is an immediate tax cut of £150 to every taxpayer in the country irrespective of income and it will see a great many people lifted out of taxation altogether. In the Shadow Budget the Tories raised it a modest £1000 resulting in a 50% smaller tax cut for the people. This is repeated in the Basic Rate, we raised the threshold to £7500, the Tories raised it to £7000, if you're beginning to see the pattern here then you're not alone. The Labour Party tax cuts for the middle and working classes equates to an additional 2% of income being retained for people in the Basic Rate band, that includes the majority of the population. Indeed under Labour plans 90% of the population will pay less this year in Income Tax than they did the year previously. This is paid for by a 50% top rate of tax payable on all income over £35,000, this means that anyone earning more than £41,000 will see a tax rise under this Budget. The Labour Party is committed to keeping balanced books and ensuring that it is the top 10% who pay more, not the bottom 10. Meanwhile in contrast the Tories have decided to give the rich a nice tax cut in a move that costs them about £1bn, or ~30% of their Budget deficit.

Next I would like to take a moment to talk about the Welfare State, an area of Government that was especially neglected by the Tories during their time in office. The Tories have cried a great deal of crocodile tears about how Labour are somehow attacking the Welfare State, if 4% (1.7% real terms increase) raises across the board are an attack then I shudder to think what the real terms freeze the Tories' offered is. It is shameful that in the present day, in this United Kingdom, there are people homeless, starving, freezing and without water. This Government is committed to doing more to protect these people whilst the Tories are committed to turning them into political weapons, to be picked up and discarded on a whim. These people deserve better than crocodile tears, they deserve action, action Labour are delivering. The Labour Party's increase in Welfare Spending is 25% larger than the Tories' increase, I think that shows everyone who the truly compassionate party really is.

I sure hope that none of you people here are from a deprived region of the United Kingdom, if you are and the Tories win in May then my advice will be to simply get out and move south because the Tories don't care about anywhere outside of their bubble. In the 80s and 90s I watched as the mining communities of Wales were decimated my Mrs T and the final nails in the coffin were applied my Mr Major. Back then we were promised that other opportunities would arise and our homes and families would get back on their feet. What the Tories of the time didn't mention was that these opportunities would come courtesy of the Labour Party as the Tories tried their hardest to restrict, constrain and destroy the future of these once vibrant economic areas. My Budget includes a 5% increase in funding to Regional Development Agencies, that is over double the rate of inflation and shall be used to allow local people the chance to entice private enterprise to regions left decimated by Mrs T and her callous disregard for the livelihoods of those left behind by her policies. On the other hand the Tories are providing these people with a 20% cut in absolute funding, about 25% cut in real terms funding. If they get in and enact these policies we will be back where we started, back in the 80s and 90s with entire communities devastated, entire families unable to make ends meet. The Tories don't realise that when the meek succeed we all succeed, it isn't just about growing your little bubble on the surface of the bathwater, it's about filling the bath and raising up everyone together be they from England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Health is an incredibly important area of Government Spending and as I mentioned earlier I do have to hold my hands up and say that the Tories have decided to spend more on the NHS than we have. Of course the spending priorities are wildly different and because they would be in deficit next year they wouldn't be able to spend nearly as much as we would next year but you know, at least they tried. The Budget I presented in the House was not about simple grabbing of the headlines "look at me, look how many doctors I can hire", it was about planning for the future and building the capacity to ensure our NHS survives and thrives into the 21st Century and beyond. Let's face it, we have an ageing population and a more spread out population than we have in a while, economic centres are growing outside of London that will draw the population back all over the show. We need to build extra capacity across the nation to handle the twin issues of demography and dwellings, the Tories simply do not do that whereas the Government's Budget does. The Tories would fill our hospitals with beds, so many beds you won't be able to walk to actually get to your patient if you are a doctor, so many beds that they'll have to leave some outside. The Government builds 50% more hospitals with our plan ensuring that not only will everyone get access to top quality healthcare, but they'll get it quickly and conveniently. We are devolving more money to local government to enable them to better place new services where the Tories would centralise everything. Do not be fooled by the hype, the rhetoric and the flashy gimmicks, the Tory NHS plan for this year is not as strong as the Labour plan, and with their deficit spending their plan for next year would be worse still.

Education is another area of incredible importance so I feel it best to compare the records directly with each other and with the rhetoric surrounding them. When I stood before the House I was chastised for offering up a 3.8% pay rise for teachers, a pay rise further strengthened by the 2% of income returned to them through tax cuts, and for not hiring enough of them, so imagine my surprise when the Tories matched my pay award, and then hired fewer teachers, all despite running net finances £7.5bn worse than the Labour Party. The Government is building 180 more Primary Schools, hiring 2000 more primary teachers and spending around £200mn more on supplies and building maintenance for primary schools. In the Secondary Sector we find the same pattern repeated. The Government is building 20 more Secondary Schools, hiring 1300 more teachers and spending nearly £200mn more on supplies and building maintenance again. The Tory record on higher education is just as dire. We're giving universities more money to operate, more money to run research programmes and more money to widen participation to enable the poorest in our society the chance to go to University. The Tory spin machine is full of spin, hype and vague promises, but when you match it up to their results and compare it to the Labour record it doesn't come close. If you want a top quality education system then you have got to vote for it, vote Labour in May.

To put it simply the Tory foreign affairs section in their Shadow Budget is a disgrace upon the nation and upon the politicians who hold Tory colours. International Aid is one of the premier weapons we have in the War on Terror, by building these nations up we will build nations of allies who will help us deal with Al Qaeda, the Taliban and anyone else who wants to wage war on democracy, human decency and the rule of law. So the Tories have gutted it. Under the Tories our International Aid Budget would be 0.12% of GDP, falling well short of the international target of 0.7%. This would hamstring our ability to develop new allies and leave billions in abject poverty living hand to mouth. If you want to see more adverts on the television or in the newspapers about droughts and starving children then vote Tory, this policy is a great way to achieve that end. However the Labour Party care about people outside of our narrow social and ethnic clique, so as part of our drive towards fulfilling the international aid target by 2004 we have increased foreign aid spending by 0.15% of GDP to 0.5%, in other words we increased the international aid budget by more than the Tories will actually spend in their international aid budget. But not only are the Tories failing to develop our international soft power properly, they're ignoring our hard power as well. To continue the Tory trend of populist policies that look good on a billboard the Tories hired 23,000 additional soldiers, which is a lot, and more than the 10,000 we hired in our Budget. But the Tories would take the Armed Forces, at 238,000 front line  personnel strong, and give them a pittance to buy and maintain weapons. £140mn increase in Maintenance, £340mn increase in Procurement. The Armed Forces under Labour may be smaller, but you can bet your last pound that it'll be better equipped, we're spending over £200mn more on Maintenance this year than last, and over £400mn more on procurement. Our service personnel put their lives on the line for us day in and day out, the Tories want to put them on a billboard then ship them out on a rubber dinghy armed with a pea-shooter, Labour wants to give them the best equipment money can buy. On National Defence and Foreign Policy the clear choice is Labour.

Finally I will talk about the Home Office, I have spoke at length to reporters about Labour's plans vs the Conservative Party's plans when it comes to the Home Office. The Tories took the bandwagon billboard approach and hired anyone they can find to be a bobby on the beat whilst ignoring the actual issues surrounding crime. We have a burgeoning prison population, we need fewer people committing crimes and we need more cells to hold them. In this Budget I outlined plans to build 4000 more prison places in this country, 1500 more than the Tories did. Equally, to cut re-offending rates I outlined plans to invest £40mn more into rehabilitation programmes across the country to stop the revolving door in our jails. The Tory plan takes none of this into account, so I can only assume that their 13,000 extra bobbies shall be taking the crooks home with them to serve time at their place since there'd be nowhere left to lock them up if the Tories were in office. Finally on the Home Office side we can take a quick look at Justice and see that Labour believes in universal justice, the Tories believe in justice that costs you the universe. Labour committed to increasing Legal Aid and Courts funding by more than double inflation, the Tories could barely muster a real terms freeze.

This past five years have been incredibly enlightening for me, I arrived in 1997 a fresh faced debut of a backbench MP and I now stand before you as not only Chancellor of the Exchequer but a former Foreign Secretary. In my time in the House I have seen the Tories run diametrically opposed to everything I, and the Labour Party, have stood for. Where Labour has preached fiscal restraint, building a streak of four budget surpluses concurrently, the Tories have returned to their old ways of deficit, deficit and some more debt. Where Labour have tried to rebalance taxes, taking the strain away from the poor and putting it on the rich, the Tories have cut taxes for Big Oil, they've defended the multinational behemoths and they have cut income taxes for the richest 1%. This election is a once in a lifetime chance to tell Headline Harry to sling his hook and never darken the political door ever again. The public have the opportunity to secure fairer taxes, stronger public finances and better public services for five more years in May, the alternative is tax cuts for the rich, deficits for everyone and bare bones public services delivered by privatised entities. The choice is very clear, the choice is Labour.

I'll take any questions now.

(Budget Spreadsheet may be found in the House)

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  Shadow Budget
Posted by: Elizabeth Atwood (CON) - 04-16-2018, 10:56 PM - Forum: Marked Speeches and Conferences - Replies (3)

Quote:Ladies and gentleman
The Chancellor delivered his budget just a few days ago and we now know what Labour’s vision is for Britain. It is a country which sets people against each other rather than uniting us in progressing towards a modern, outward looking economy. Labour’s vision is a country which attacks wealth creation and where business is a dirty word rather than the solution.
And that is why Labour chose a jobs tax rather than job creation, all at a time when unemployment is expected to rise this year.
It is why Labour chose to attack wealth creation at a time when growth is expected to slow in our economy.
This is a misguided approach will weaken growth further and take us further away from achieving full employment.
The Chancellor applauds himself for delivering a surplus this year, but this is based on a false proposition. By increasing the top rate of taxation from 40% to 50%, revenues will decline as people arrange their affairs in a way to manoeuvre out of the top rate. High tax rates to not necessarily deliver high tax revenues.
This divisive agenda for Britain is not one which tackles the challenges of the future economy. It does nothing to ensure that everyone shares equally in the opportunities a strong economy creates. Today, I launch the Conservative Shadow Budget which sets out a radical vision to rebalance the British economy. If Britain is to succeed in the global economy, it must have a global mind-set.
That means taking action now to back the innovators and job creators by committing significant investment to research and development and innovation funds.
That means ensuring that Britain will always be the best place to set up and start a business by simplifying regulation and committing to the lowest tax regime in the G8.
That means creating new partnerships between industry and education so that we are at the forefront of technological change.
The Shadow Budget is consistent with the principles I highlighted for the next Conservative Government’s agenda to transform Britain’s economy in the next Parliament.
Our approach to the economy will be guided by five core principles:
First – a balanced and competitive economy. If Britain is to succeed in the global economy, we must alter the approach to the economy by delivering a low tax, competitive economy which takes a balanced approach to investment, tax cuts and reducing national debt.
Second,  Equal and Fair opportunities for all. We must ensure that everyone is on an equal footing to access the opportunities in our economy – no matter what their race, age, gender or background.
Third, Empower local communities. To deliver long term, sustainable growth, we must put local people and communities in the driving seat. We would devolve powers to local communities to direct investment with a goal of achieving full employment.
Fourth, Infrastructure for the future. We must put significant new investment into our transport network to build the highways, railways and airports the future economy will need to be competitive.
Fifth, Strength through security. The world has changed and we face new threats that we never thought imaginable. The economic approach we take must recognise that our national security and economic security are the same thing, with a firm commitment to our armed forces and law enforcement.
The plan we have set out for the British economy sets out an ambitious vision which is guided by the principles, and which would create the modern, outward looking, diverse economy that will deliver long term growth. The proposals we have set out today ensure not only that Britain will see more jobs and stronger growth, but that everyone is able to share in the benefits of a growing economy.
We propose taking the first step towards a competitive, low tax economy. We would cut tax for every hardworking family in the UK – because everyone must share in the benefits of a growing economy, with no one left behind.
We would ignite the engines of growth in the economy by taking the first step towards building the lowest corporate tax regime among any of our competitors – and abolish the starting rate of corporation tax altogether. Instead of implementing a Jobs Tax as Labour have done, we would cut national insurance on employers, freeing businesses to employ more people.
We would back innovation and invest to ensure Britain is creating the modern, dynamic jobs of the future economy. We would commit over £316m to innovation grants and research and development  - £300m more than Labour.
We would make progress in helping struggling families get on the property ladder. A growing economy is no comfort for the family that is desperate to get on to the property ladder, but when they look to the government for help there is a closed door. We would overhaul the stamp duty regime so that tax is paid only on the most expensive homes in our country – with no one paying tax on a house valued at less than £150,000.  This confines stamp duty to a tax only on the very wealthiest in society and lifts the overwhelming majority of first time buyers out of paying it altogether.
We would take action to help those who can only dream of owning their own home and are unable to save for a deposit by launching a new Rent to Buy Scheme.
We would back young families who cannot afford childcare, but want to return to work. The next Conservative government will provide at least 15 hours free childcare from when a child turns 1, particularly helping mothers who would like to take a part time job.
The plans we set out today would utilise the flexibility we have in the public finances this year to make significant new investments – including honouring our commitment of an NHS Lock which means a 10% increase in the NHS budget this year and next – at least £11bn more going into frontline services. But let me be clear – while we would take advantage of lower interest rates in our first year in office to invest in Britain’s future, we would run a current borrowing surplus in every year and an overall surplus from year two, borrowing only to invest in vital infrastructure in year one.
And as part of that significant new investment in our NHS, we have proposed doubling the social care budget. The way we treat our elderly is illustrative of the kind of nation we want to be. Dignity in old age is at the heart of our plans, and that is we have also proposed an above inflation increase in the state pension.
We would make significant new investment not only in our schools, but in adult skills too. Too often men and women, particularly in our most deprived communities, feel left behind and as though there is no role or place in their community for them. Everyone must be able to access the opportunities in our economy, so we would commit to £287m more for adult skills and training - £226m more than Labour. And that is why we will also introduce new Business Zones and Regeneration Zones – to incentivise our development and growth in the most deprived communities in the UK.
This is a vision for a global Britain – a country and an economy where everyone shares in the benefits of growth, and we take the decisions now to ensure Britain’s success in the future. This is a vision for a Britain where everyone – not matter where they come from – knows their government is backing them. This is a vision which puts the unity of the United Kingdom at its heart, rather than divisive ideological measures which will only set Britain back.

Quote:Shadow Budget
·     Economic affairs increased by £1.3bn to £19,677,000,000 (4.8% increase)
·     Health budget increased by £6,429,000,000 to £58,663,000,000 (10% increase)
·     Education budget increased by £2,709,000,000 to £38,468,000,000 (5.3% increase)
·     Home Office budget increased £1,045,000,000 to £12,787,000,000 (6.6% increase)
·     Foreign office budget set at £32,741,000,000
·     Social security increased by £5,154,000,000 to £117, 247,000,000 (2.3% increase)
·     Communities and regions increased by £1,048,000,000 to £40,983,000,000 (0.3% increase) including £275m more for Wales, £80m more than Labour.
·     Culture budget increased by £240m to £1,059,000,000
·     Local government budget increased £2,364,000,000 to £57,351,000,000 (2% increase)
·     Debt interest reduced by 3.6%. Operating a small budget deficit of £3.5bn in year 1 to rebalance our economy and boost growth and employment. Return to surplus in year 2. There is no deficit in current spending so we are borrowing only to invest in infrastructure.
Direct Taxation
·     Starting rate personal allowance increased to £6,000.
·     Basic rate personal allowance increased to £7,000.
·     Higher rate personal allowance increased to £34,500.
·     Main rate of CGT cut to 19%. Higher rate maintained.
·     Stamp duty overhauled: 2% paid on properties valued between £150,000 and £499,000, 6% above £500,000.
Indirect Taxation
·     Beer duty frozen.
·     Wine duty increased by 4p (less than Labour).
·     Spirit duty increased by 23p (less than Labour).
·     Tobacco duty increased to £1.75.
·     Betting duty increased to 11%.
·     IPT increased to 10%.
·     Air passenger duty increased by £6.20.
Social Security
·     Welfare increased in line with inflation.
·     State pension above inflation increase to £73.50.
Business and economic affairs
·     Employer NI contribution reduced to 12% (cut by 0.2%) as opposed to Labour’s Job Tax of 12.5%.
·     Main Rate of Corporate Tax cut to 28%
·     Small Companies Rate cut to 16%
·     Starting Corporation Tax rate abolished.
·     Small business serviced funding increased by £29m (£13m more than Labour)
·     £166m more for innovation grants to business. £157m more than Labour.
·     £150m more for research and development fund. £147m more than Labour.
·     We would implement the NHS lock – which means we would increase the NHS budget by 10% and spend £1bn more than Labour this year.
·     5000 more doctors (4750 more doctors than Labour).
·     7000 more nurses (6200 more than Labour).
·     2500 more cleaners (2100 more than Labour).
·     300 new managers (400 less than Labour).
·     10,000 new beds (7500 more than Labour).
·     50 new clinics.
·     £800m more for the procurement of medical equipment. (£717m more than Labour)
·     £95m more for maintenance of equipment. (£57m more than Labour)
·      £50m more for dentistry
·      £700m more for commissioning grants.
·     £90m more for medical research (£39m more than Labour)
·     £81m more for training
·     £673m more for social care (£600m more than Labour)
·     10 free hours of child care for parents with children aged between 1-2 years old.
·     5 free hours of child care for parents with children aged between 2-3 years old.
·     For 3-5 year olds free child care increased to 20 hours.
·     Nursery budget increased by over £1bn.
·     120 new primary schools (inc 1320 new teachers, 600 teaching assistants and 480 non-teaching staff).
·     £35m more for maintenance of primary schools.
·     £56m more for grants to primary schools.
·     80 new secondary schools (5200 teachers, 720 teaching assistants and 1040 support staff).
·     £41m more for secondary school maintenance.
·     £119m more for grants to secondary schools.
·     £160m more for grants to Higher Education Funding Councils.
·     Maintenance support increased by almost £250m.
·     150,000 new apprenticeships.
·     Almost £170m more for further education and almost £300m more for adult skills courses.
Foreign Affairs
·     £57m more for the diplomatic service.
·     £151m more for MI6.
·     23,000 more regular troops (3000 more than Labour)
·     10,000 more reserves
·      3000 more non combat 
·     £150m more for defence maintenance budget
·      £340m more for procurement budget.
Home Office
·     13,000 more police officers (3000 more than Labour)
·     4500 more firemen (2000 more than Labour)
·      7500 more other law enforcement, community support etc. (6000 more than Labour)
·     £870m increase in police budget
·     2500 new prison places
·     Almost £70m more for MI5.
Environment and Housing
·     £30m more for housing corporation.
·     £69m more for local authority grants.
·     £70m more for rent subsidies.
·     £67m more for housing action trusts.
·     Almost £400m more for Scotland.
·     £275m more for Wales (around £80m more than Labour)
·     Almost £200m more for Northern Ireland.
Local Government
·     Over £500m more for Local Government grants

 Shadow Budget

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  Press Conference: An economy strong and fair for all
Posted by: Elizabeth Atwood (CON) - 04-16-2018, 08:25 PM - Forum: Marked Speeches and Conferences - Replies (1)

Quote:Ladies and gentleman
Today, we publish our vision for a new, transformed economy. This is a plan that sets out the ambitious goals that a Conservative Government will strive to achieve by the end of the next Parliament.
This is a plan that will unleash the engines of growth in our economy by freeing and empowering communities and businesses to take the decisions which will create the modern jobs of the new economy.  
This is a plan for stronger growth and progress towards our goal of full employment, but the real measure of our success will be whether everyone feels the benefits of a strong economy. We must ensure that everyone shares in the prosperity of our economy – no matter where you live.
Seeing higher growth rates will be of no comfort to someone who has grown up in a community left behind and in desperate need of regeneration. Higher employment figures will be of no comfort to the parent who wants to support their family, but has been unable to access training or find a job. The construction of new homes will not inspire a new generation to own their own home if the state stands in their way.
That is why today we set out a vision not only for a strong economy, but a fair one too. A strong economy needs a social conscience. An economy where opportunities are accessible on an equal footing to everyone no matter what their background, gender, race or age. We will utilise the flexibility we have in our public finances to unleash the talent, ambition and strength of our people and our economy, while maintaining sound management of the public finances.
The paper sets out a number of new commitments and the five core principles by which we will be guided.
A balanced and competitive economy. We must ensure that there is a balanced approach which reduces taxation and invests in public services. We will not boost jobs by ideological measures which sends a message that wealth is bad.
Equal and fair opportunities for all. We commit to a number of measures which will open the opportunities in our economy to everyone – no matter what their age, race, gender or background. We will only ensure equal opportunities by taking action on injustices in our economy – such as gender pay gaps and inadequate social care for the elderly.
Empowering local communities. We will devolve powers to local communities to take the decisions about where investment is most needed. It must be local communities who choose where new infrastructure is needed, the areas that need to see funding for regeneration and where we can create new jobs through new economic partnerships.
Infrastructure for the future. We will direct significant new funding to build the highways, railways and airports our economy will need to be competitive in the future. If we are to ensure that everyone shares
Strength through security. The recent tragic events we have seen in France and the United States are a warning of the new threats we face as a nation. We can only guarantee our economic security by recognising that national security is the same thing. A Conservative Government will always back our armed forces, intelligence services and police forces to do the difficult job we ask them to do.
And it is with these principles in mind that we have set out the proposals today, some of which I will take you through now.
We commit to reducing the tax burden for all hardworking people – a real terms cut in income tax over the next Parliament. Our economy will only be competitive if we build a low tax economy. 
We commit to above inflation increases in the state pension and a doubling in the social care budget so that we provide dignity in old age.  
We commit to building the infrastructure of a modern economy, so every part and community of our United Kingdom shares in the prosperity of a strong economy.
We will invest in our public services and modernise them for the future challenges of a growing economy – including implementing the NHS Lock which guarantees above inflation increases in the NHS, and at least £11bn of new spending in the first two years of the next Parliament alone.
We will back aspiration: whether that is to access training, a job, or to start a new business, we will support you.

We will invest in communities that feel left behind with new regeneration and business zones.
We set out a vision for the lowest corporate tax rates among our competitors to ensure that Britain is the best place to set up and grow a business.
We will publish a new Manufacturing Growth Plan to back manufacturing jobs back to the UK and re-energise the industry. The next Conservative government does not want to see situations like those in Dagenham and that is why we will take action.
We will back innovation through significant new resources to encourage research and development and new economic partnerships to unleash the potential of our economy.
We will build the property owning democracy which gives everyone a stake in their community by limiting stamp duty to the wealthiest in society, and launching a new generation of rent to own homes which will help people struggling to get a foot on the housing ladder. We will consult with housing associations to extend the right to buy, giving the least well off an opportunity to own their own home.
We will recognise that our economic security and national security are one of the same: in the new uncertain world we find ourselves in, with new threats and challenges to face down, we will commit to give our intelligence services and armed forces the resources they need to protect our national and economic interests, and create a new Economic Task Force within our intelligence agency with the one goal of identifying and tackling threats to our economic interests.
We will tackle injustices and corruption to enhance corporate accountability. Every opportunity our economy creates must be accessible to people on an equal footing – that is why we will take new measures on gender pay gaps in companies so that no woman is paid less in her role purely because of her gender. We will also legislate to tackle money laundering and bribery which cost our economy in jobs and revenue, and to empower the criminal justice system to hold corporates and executives accountable.
The Labour Party’s approach to the economy is to tell us that wealth in the economy is a problem. As the warning signs of growth slowing and unemployment rising materialise, Labour offers no vision other than ideological tax rises which will weaken our economy. Labour’s new jobs tax on companies by increasing national insurance the Budget is a sign of things to come: while they think business is the problem, we recognise that business is the solution.
As we go into this election campaign, the choice between the two parties could not be more stark.
It will be between a Labour Party which thinks ideological tax increases on business and workers are the solution to weaker growth and higher unemployment, and a Conservative Government which will create jobs and lower taxes.
It will be between a Labour Party which has no solution to tackling injustices in industry and enhancing corporate accountability, and a Conservative Government ready to take action.
It will be between a Labour Party which thinks business and wealth are dirty words, and a Conservative Government which recognises wealth creation is essential to Britain’s prosperity.
This is a chance for progress, a chance for us to decide which kind of country we want to live in. I want Britain to be outward looking, where everyone shares in the wealth of our economy and where the most disadvantaged are supported. I want Britain to be world leader and innovator, the first port of call for anyone looking to set up a business.
This modern strategy presses ahead with dealing with Britain’s challenges and will deliver a strong economy with a social conscience. If passionately believe that this is the right vision for Britain and if we follow this plan, we can transform our economy in a way that unleashes opportunities for everyone.
Thank you. I am happy to take some questions. 

Quote:The New Economy: strong and fair for all
The agenda for the first term of a Conservative Government
We recognise that a strong economy alone is not enough. We must have a strong, growing economy, but the opportunities our economy creates must be equally accessible to all, no matter what your background, race, age, gender or financial circumstances. 
Although we are seeing warning signs in the UK economy with growth slowing and unemployment increasing, Britain’s economy has been growing. This is good news, but it will bring no comfort to the struggling family who cannot find employment and have a life on welfare. It brings no comfort to the child from east London who has grown up in one of the poorest areas in our country to hear the Labour government say the economy has grown, when that child knows they have not been able to access the opportunities that someone from a wealthier background has been able to. 

If we are to build a modern, dynamic economy which is not only strong but fair, the government’s priorities need to change and we need to take action now. The Labour Chancellor’s economic agenda appears to be fixed on two areas:
1.    Untargeted spending which offers no vision for Britain’s future;
2.    A fixation on the Euro. Countries which have adopted the Euro have seen billions of wasted costs in implementation – and this Labour government thinks that is a price worth paying to scrap the pound.
The Conservative Party disagrees. We recognise that the forces of growth must be unleashed in our country to ensure the wobble we are currently seeing in declining growth and higher unemployment is an error and not a trend. We recognise that in building that strong economy we must not lose sight of what our goal is: to ensure everyone has a fair and equal shot at the opportunities that a strong economy creates and to build the life they desire. 
We need to throw down the barriers to job creation with an ambition not only of full employment, but the modern jobs which will lead to innovation and productivity growth. We need to empower local communities to decide how their money is spent, particularly in deciding where investment should go to build the infrastructure of the new economy.  We need to help young families who want to buy their own home to start a family, but are penalised by state through taxation. And when they start that family, we need to take down the barriers which prevent parents – particularly mothers – from seeking out new opportunities. 
We need to take action now to rebalance our economy to ensure that growth and employment strengthen and do not continue to weaken. That is why in the first year of a Conservative government we will make use of the flexibility in the public finances to radically invest in our public services and cut taxes to rebalance our economy and launch local growth, before returning to a surplus in year 2. We will maintain in every year of the next Parliament a surplus in current spending - borrowing only to invest in the first year of the Parliament. 
This paper sets out a programme and a vision for the economy for the next Parliamentary term led by a Conservative government. We will measure the steps we take in the first term against these core principles. 
1.    A balanced and competitive economy
2.    Equal and fair opportunities for all
3.    Empowering local communities
4.    Infrastructure for the future
5.    Strength through security
Today we set out commitments which will take Britain’s economy forward under the first term of a Conservative government.
We must back hardworking people so we have the most well-trained and modern workforce of any nation. We must equip our people with the tools they need to take advantage of every opportunity available to them, but we must also ensure that our economic environment creates opportunities for all. We must ensure that we move towards full employment. Unemployment is expected to increase by 50,000 – and that is 50,000 too many. 
The next Conservative Government will:
  • Reduce the tax burden. We will set an ambitious goal of increasing the personal allowance to £10,000 by the end of the next Parliament. This is a tax cut for all hardworking people so they keep more of their hard earned money and will be a leap towards creating a low tax economy. We will also, where we can, reduce the overall tax burden. 
  • Introduce a new innovation fund. We will launch this in the first year of the next Parliament which will make available £100m of government lending on low interest rates to the innovators of the next decade. People – either unemployed or self-employed – will be able to apply for access to the money.
  • Take action on gender pay gaps. We will conduct a review of gender pay gaps in both the public and private sector and take action. There is no place in a modern economy for pay to be dictated by gender in any industry.
  • Reduce the barriers for parents in the workplace. Too often young parents have to make a difficult choice in the early years of a new child’s life over who will work and who will stay home because child care is not affordable. By the end of the next Parliament we will introduce at least 15 hours free childcare for a child from the age of 1. This will help parents who feel unable to get into the workforce in those early years, even on a part time basis.
  • Investing in apprenticeships.  Increasing the number of apprenticeships by 300,000 in the next Parliament is a commitment to the diversification our economy needs. This must also be addressed through education reform so that people do not feel the only option available when leaving college or sixth form is university. 
  • Boosting the state pension. The state pension will be boosted above inflation each year to ensure that our elderly are financially secure and have the support of the state in their retirement.
  • Supporting Ambition. We will invest at least £500m additional money into adult skills so that anyone who is currently unemployed will have access to training. 
Business environment and Infrastructure: 
We must make Britain the best place to start and grow a small business to create new opportunities which are open to everyone. If the economy is to work for everyone, we must build the modern infrastructure – roads, airports, trains and public services – that our workers and businesses rely on.
The next Conservative Government will:
  • Reduce the tax burden. We must ensure Britain’s tax regime remains competitive. Our neighbours in Ireland have committed to cutting corporation tax to 12.5% by 2003. We cannot afford to maintain high corporate tax rates which is effectively a tax on jobs.
    We will abolish the starting rate for corporations and ensure that Britain has the lowest corporation tax rates in the G8. By the end of the next Parliament, the main rate will be reduced to at least 25% and the small companies rate to 12%. We will also reduce the national insurance burden our employers face over the course of the Parliament. We will back business to create the new jobs of the future. 
  • New Business Zones. We will in the first year of our term implement new Business Zones which are modelled on the Enterprise Zones implemented in the past. These areas will be targeted on areas in need of regeneration to tackle the obstacles those communities face in our accessing opportunities in the economy. An initial £150m will be made available. 
  • A new Companies Act. This will simplify company law so that there is one act which sets down a directors statutory duties and corporate governance rules. This simplification will make it easier for a business to comply with its legal duties.
  • Procurement reform. We will amend government procurement rules so that the companies tendering for government contracts will have a higher chance of success if they can demonstrate a track record of investment in Britain’s communities. 
  • Backing manufacturing. We must work with manufacturers to deliver a new hi-tech manufacturing industry as technologies and practices evolve. We want Britain to be a leader in manufacturing the products of the future. We will also launch ReShore UK, which will be designed to assist companies who used to manufacture in Britain but have gone overseas to come back and operate in Britain again. We will publish a Manufacturing Growth Plan in the first year of the Parliament to set out a strategy on how we can grow our manufacturing industry and reverse the decline.
  • Fuel duty frozen. We will provide an initial cut in fuel duty and then freeze it for the rest of the Parliament so businesses have certainty that they will not see their fuel duty rise under a Conservative government.
  • Backing the Pound. We have committed to holding a referendum on the Euro, but as a government we will provide businesses with as much certainty as possible in this process by backing the pound.
Modernisation and research
We must have a modern economic and industrial strategy which has at its centre real, long term commitments to research and development. If Britain is to create the modern jobs of the future, our businesses must be leaders in producing new technology.
The next Conservative Government will:
  • Increase the R+D fund. Research and development will be the real generator of growth in the new economy. By the end of the next Parliament, we commit to increasing R+D funds accessible to businesses to at least £1bn.
  • Increase innovation grants. We will encourage businesses to innovate with new technologies to create the modern jobs of the future. We will make at least £500m available to businesses who back innovation. 
  • Innovation in Education. If we want to have a modern workforce, we need to ensure the building blocks are in place from the outset. We will work with schools to bring about flexibility in school structures and the curriculum and make available a new “Innovation in Education” fund which will be directed to the schools who recognise the importance of science, maths, and information technology to the jobs of the future.
  • Innovation partnerships. We will work with businesses to create new partnerships between industry and university business research departments. 
Since the horrific attacks against the United States and France in December 2001, the world has changed. Economic and national security are one of the same thing and we must implement new measures to protect our nation’s economic interests.
The next Conservative Government will:
  • Debt. We will only guarantee our economic security by ensuring Britain remains serious about keeping debt low. We have some flexibility in the public finances to rebalance our economy in the first year so that we can radically cut tax and invest in public services - but maintaining a surplus in current borrowing. We will ensure that every budget from year 2 in the next Parliament maintains an overall surplus which reduces Britain’s national debt.
  • Prioritise funding of our armed forces. The world has changed and we need to ensure our military has the funding and backing from government it needs. We will reduce the significant international aid budget and redirect it to the diplomatic service and armed forces.
  • Increase troop numbers. We must ensure that our armed forces have the manpower to do the tasks that we require them to do. We will make funding available to ensure increases in troop numbers each year over the next Parliament.
  • Procurement. We will ensure that the procurement budget reaches £6bn by the end of the next Parliament so that the funds are available for the best equipment for our armed forces.
  • Better equipped intelligence services. We will make available at least £450m over the next Parliament to our intelligence services.
  • A new Economic Task Force. We will create a new economic task force within our intelligence services to identify and tackle threats to our economic interests. 
The real test of whether our economy is working for everyone is the impact in local communities. We must ensure that the strength of our economy is felt in all corners of the United Kingdom.
  • Implement the NHS Lock. The NHS budget will increase by at least 10% under the next Conservative Government for the first two years of the Parliament. After this, the budget will increase by a minimum of 2% above inflation every year. This represents over £10bn of additional investment in the NHS in the first two years of the next Parliament. 
  • Opening opportunities for all. Over the course of the next Parliament, we will increase education spending to reduce class sizes and provide modern facilities. We will work with our best universities to open opportunities for those from less privileged backgrounds. Through a combination of reform of education and investment, we will ensure that we are equipping our young people with the skills for the modern jobs of the future. 
  • End the tax on first time buyers. Average house prices are just over £90,000, with prices being higher in London and the south-east at around £140,000. We will reform the stamp duty regime so that it is a tax on the most expensive homes and is no longer a barrier to young families looking to buy their first home. No tax will be paid on the purchase of any home valued under £150,000.
  • Expanding the Right to Buy. We will preserve the council right to buy, but also consult on extending the right to those who live in housing association properties. 
  • Implement Rent to Buy. We will make available at least 150,000 new homes in the next Parliament which are available on a rent to buy basis. We will publish in the first year of the Parliament a paper on how this scheme will work
  • Dignity in old age. We commit to double the social care budget in the first year of the next Parliament to ensure we take the first step towards a modern social care service which delivers dignity to those who require it. We will also issue a consultation on how we as a Government can prepare for the social care challenges of the future.
  • Closing barriers to house building. We will work with local authorities to deliver new powers to ensure they are able to meet local housing need without impacting our green belt. We will publish a National Planning Framework which will empower local communities to build the homes Britain needs. We must put communities in charge of planning to address local need.
  • Infrastructure. We must ensure the whole of our country shares in the prosperity of the new economy by building a modern transport network. We will make significant new funding available in the next Parliament – at least £1bn – to invest in new highways and railway lines. We will also make new money available to upgrade existing highways – such as the M1 and M6. 
  • Introduce Regeneration Zones. These zones will offer incentives to developers to build new homes and to businesses who set up shop. These zones will be targeted on areas which are most in need of regeneration to create new homes and jobs for local communities. 
Transparency and accountability
Corruption not only costs our economy billions which could be put to use in our public services, but also impacts hardworking people in their pay-packet. It also prevents people from accessing the opportunities in our economy on and equal footing. We must introduce new measures to ensure Britain is the most transparent economy to do business with a zero tolerance approach to all forms of corruption.
The next Conservative Government will:
  • Fight tax evasion. We will immediately consult with HMRC on what new powers are available to increase the prosecution of tax evasion and to recover lost taxes. We will work with HMRC to identify £5bn of additional revenue by preventing tax evasion.
  • Fight corruption. We will introduce new measures to tackle bribery and money laundering. We must set the standard on the global stage of how a modern economy must operate.
  • Encourage success. We will consult on new reforms to the insolvency regime in the UK to ensure that the system makes it as easy as possible for businesses to be saved and jobs protected where companies may fail. We will also implement new powers for shareholders to hold directors of failing companies to account.

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  Mark Swire
Posted by: Mark Swire (CON) - 04-16-2018, 06:41 PM - Forum: New Players -- Register Here - Replies (3)

[Image: Schermafbeelding-2016-05-25-om-08.28.40-611x328.png]

Name: Mark Quenby Swire
Avatar: Klaas Dijkhoff

Date of Birth: 18 July 1964
Place of Birth: York, England
Religion: Anglican
Party: Conservative, Conservative Way Forward

Spouse: Amanda Swire (née Granger, m. 1994)
James (b. 1996)
Persephone (b. 1998)
Elizabeth (b. 2000)

Oriel College, Oxford (MPhil)
Jesus College, Oxford (BA)
Rugby School

Occupational History:
Member of Parliament for Buckingham (1997-present)
Research Fellow, Centre for Policy Studies (1989-1997)

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  Press Cycle #30 – Tax Avoidance
Posted by: Andy - 04-15-2018, 11:00 AM - Forum: Marked Press Cycles - Replies (11)

"What should be done about tax avoidance, and any public officials who take advantage of it?"

Closes 11:59 on 17/04/18

Remember to "bolden" your tagline.

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  Press Cycle #29 - The Budget
Posted by: Nathan - 04-15-2018, 10:57 AM - Forum: Marked Press Cycles - Replies (36)

"Will the budget be a positive thing for Britain?"

Closes 11:59 17/04/18

Bolden your tagline.

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Posted by: Andy - 04-15-2018, 01:45 AM - Forum: Rules and Announcements - No Replies

Tuesday 17th April - Normal day-to-day politics will come to end with the Dissolution of Parliament at the end of IG April.

Wednesday 18th and Thursday 19th - Preparation days.

Friday 20th to Monday 23th - Four days of campaigning. The IG date of the election is Thursday 30th May 2002.

During and following campaigning, the A-Team will mark players' contributions. A BBC election night results show will be held on Telegram on the evening of Tuesday 24th or Wednesday 25th, depending how quickly we get through marking. Results will then be made available on these forums.

Normal play will resume shortly thereafter.

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  High Profile Events
Posted by: Andy - 04-15-2018, 01:19 AM - Forum: National Campaign - Replies (10)

Events that will receive significant media attention

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