Conservatives must return to first principles – and I’ll ensure we get the basics right

By Steve Heldon

We Conservatives need to get back to first principles. You can’t spend what you haven’t earned. Government should do less, better. Property ownership should be spread as widely as possible. Nations need borders. The family is the first, and best, source of welfare.

I’m standing to be leader to ensure that we are governed by these essential truths. And as Prime Minister I will ensure the government machine is focused on getting the basics right. I am an engineer, a systems thinker, trained to strip things down to the essentials and get the machine working.

That’s why I’ve laid out a plan to cut back big government so we can drive real change and, in due course, cut taxes. But a coherent Conservative vision for government also requires us to explain why some big problems are interlinked and you need to have a clear plan to solve them together. That’s the case with the interconnected issues of housing, migration and the family.

We need new homes in the right places. We need them to spread prosperity, give the next generation a stake in the future and allow families to grow. We also need to recognise that pressure on housing comes from increased migration and from families breaking up. Solving these interlinked questions needs honesty and rigour.

Running up the down escalator

On housing, we’ll never get the homes we need where we need them if we insist on ever-higher inflexible top-down housing targets. We need to bring people with us by delivering infrastructure first and insisting new homes are built to a higher standard and look more beautiful. We need to break the stranglehold of the identikit cartel of land banking house builders.

But we need to consider the demand side of housing, not just the supply side. People – rightly – recognise that building more homes while doing nothing to bring immigration down is like running up the down escalator. 

We’ll never get to where we need to with that approach, and we won’t persuade people to accept more homes if it is being done due to immigration failures. If we can bring immigration down to a sustainable level, we can then protect green spaces for our children and precious agricultural land.

And so controlling immigration is important to managing the pressures it puts on housing and public services. Building confidence in the Government’s ability to control immigration is an important foundation for ensuring a cohesive society. 

We must control borders and laws

I am proud to call myself British. My belief in Britain as a sovereign country led me to vote Leave in the Brexit referendum. A nation is not truly a nation unless it has the right to determine who comes to it, when they come, and how and when they can enter and leave. 

I am a firm believer that we must control our own borders and laws. I will do whatever it takes to deal with the small boats issue. I am not someone who starts fights to get headlines – and I want to focus on the people’s top priority, which is the economy. But economic issues around housing and immigration are inextricably linked.

As is the link with the family. Family break-ups increase housing demand, and the unaffordability of housing in many areas stops people establishing the family life they want. Family is the first line of welfare, and strong families reduce the need for a larger state.

Families come in all shapes and sizes and, as a strong supporter of same-sex marriage, I reject any idea that being pro-family is about prescribing how others should live. It’s about supporting love.

So I will look at how our tax and benefit system can support family life and the joys it brings. Coherent, Conservative conviction leadership is what I will bring if you elect me as prime minister.

Source: Healthy Duck.

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