Westminster Column - Conservative Party Conference 2018

8th October 2018

This week has seen the Conservative Party Conference 2018 here in Birmingham.

In spite of the dominance of Brexit and a somewhat unhealthy obsession about the prospect of a future leadership campaign, I hope that the important policy announcements will not be overlooked.

The Chancellor this week made an important speech about the  importance of free enterprise and capitalism. The free enterprise system has been responsible for the most dramatic rise in living standards over the past 200 years, driven by our commitment to innovation. While it delivers - through competition - more affordable prices and more creative products and services: there can be no doubt that there is a growing sense of unrest in our country, particularly among the younger generations, who have experienced years of slow wage growth, felt insecure in their jobs and seen house prices spiral out of their reach.

But with the right policies we can recreate the same opportunities my generation enjoyed. This week the Government has announced some new policies which will achieve this, announcing that buyers of UK property who do not pay tax in Britain will be subject to a new stamp duty surcharge of up to 3% with all of the proceeds going towards a scheme which will tackle rough sleeping. This is an important measure which will help.

Elsewhere, the Government has also committed to banning restaurants from keeping any tips that customers pay by card. This will boost the pay of thousands of hard working people and offer a more honest arrangement for those who leave tips and those who receive them.

Better news for commuters comes from the announcement of new rules that will make it easier for rail passengers to claim compensation for delays and disruption. The current system is complicated and time-consuming , that is why a new simple one-click claims system will be brought in to ensure that passengers will not be left out of the pocket.

The Government has also demonstrated an understanding in the importance of tackling violent crime. I have had numerous meetings in recent times with both local Police and community groups to discuss the rise of violence among young people. The use of a more creative approach to tackling the root causes of crime is based on emulating the results of previously successful schemes.

As we enter the final stage of negotiations on the terms of our deal of withdrawal from the EU, we have announced a much fairer approach to immigration which I believe will be met with wide spread public approval.

We need to look forward to the post-Brexit agenda and what the Government will do to offer the British people and indeed the next generation, opportunity for the future.