‘Right to Buy’ extended, tax cut for workers and fair funding for schools

Worcester’s Conservative Parliamentary Candidate, Robin Walker, has welcomed the launch of the Conservative Manifesto for the 2015 election campaign, which sets out to deliver a secure future for the UK. The Manifesto, launched today, sets out to back business, invest in the NHS, and secure Britain’s place in the world. Robin has particularly welcomed the manifesto containing some of the key themes on which he has campaigned over the years – affordable homes, tax cuts for the lower paid, and fairer funding for schools.

Robin has always pressed for a policy which helps more people to own their own home and raised the problem that Right to Buy only applied to tenants in council housing but not to the tenants of Registered Social Landlords in Parliament, as long ago as 2013. He has always pressed for more development of affordable homes on brown field land and therefore he welcomed the announcement of a policy to reinvigorate ‘Right to Buy’ by extending it to 1.3 million more people in the social rented sector and fund the building of 400,000 more affordable homes on brownfield sites. Robin’s late father Peter Walker is often remembered as one of the key authors of the original ‘Right to Buy’ policy, advocating it in Government as early as 1972 and helping to secure its success in the 1980s.

In his five years in Parliament, Robin has repeatedly spoken up for the raising of the income tax threshold. He pointed out as long ago as 2012 that the target of £10,000 in the Liberal Democrat 2010 manifesto had been an arbitrary one; and that it would make more sense if the threshold could be raised to the level of someone working full-time on the minimum wage. Today, the Conservative Manifesto confirmed that it will seek to raise the threshold first to £12,500, and then legislate to raise the tax-free allowance to match increases in the minimum wage. Last but not least, Robin has championed the cause of fairer funding in education. He has repeatedly spoken up in every year of his time in Parliament for a new funding formula for schools. His cross-party campaign on this issue has already secured £390 million of extra funding for the lowest funded areas and £6.7 million for Worcestershire schools. Today, the Conservative Manifesto committed to delivering fairer funding and specifically committed to include the £390 million as the baseline for future funding arrangements.

Welcoming these commitments, Robin said:

“I want to see a Britain that aspires to economic success and this manifesto will underpin that. I’m delighted that it includes strong commitments on jobs, apprenticeships, and backing British business. I am particularly pleased to see the emphasis on helping more people to own their own homes, which has always been a key element of Conservative philosophy. Extending the ‘Right to Buy’ is very welcome, so long as homes that are sold are replaced with new affordable homes. The commitments to build these on brown field sites is also good news for anyone who values the British countryside.”

“I am delighted that our Government has not just delivered by exceeded its expectations on the pledge to raise the threshold of income tax. We’ve already taken this from £6,475 up to £10,600, and now we are setting out to raise it still further. I have long argued that we should be taking it up to the level of someone working full-time on the minimum wage so that work always pays. It is great news that this manifesto makes that commitment. Backing higher wages and a voluntary living wage is the right thing to do.”

“Most of all though, I am proud that all the hard work of the f40 campaign in fighting for fairer funding for schools is paying off. I led a debate right at the end of the parliament to secure this just as I had raised the issue in my maiden speech. I have kept on pressing for fair school funding at every opportunity. Of all the excellent statements in the Conservative Manifesto, the commitment on school funding is the one of which I am proudest. Securing the extra £6.7 million we have won for Worcestershire schools this year is a welcome start but there is much more to come when we secure a truly fair formula.”

Notes to Editors

The full Conservative Manifesto can be found here:

http://www.conservativehome.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/ConservativeManifesto2015.pdf

The Prime Minister paid tribute to the work of Peter Walker in securing Right to Buy at the first PMQs after his death in 2010

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm100630/debtext/100630-0003.htm#10063036000963

Robin asked about Right to Buy progress in Worcestershire in 2011

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm111206/text/111206w0003.htm#11120679001761

Robin Walker raised the issue of Right to Buy not being available to constituents in RSL

properties in 2013

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm130603/debtext/130603-0001.htm#13060311000672

Robin first raised Conservative plans to take millions out of tax in 2011 and also mentioned the issue in his speech on the Queens Speech in 2012

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110621/debtext/110621-0001.htm#11062139000553

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm120516/debtext/120516-0002.htm#12051642001122

He then spoke in detail about the benefits of raising the tax threshold and pushed for it to be

linked to the minimum wage in the budget debate of 2013

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm130418/debtext/130418-0003.htm#130418-0003.htm_spnew37

Robin has campaigned on fairer funding through all his time in parliament and has raised the

matter in each and every year of his time as MP. For more details on the f4o campaign see:

http://www.f40.org.uk/

For Robin’s most recent speech on fairer funding and the cross party debate he led visit:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm150310/debtext/150310-0003.htm#150310-0003.htm_spnew44

For more detail on Robin’s campaigns on this issue see:

https://www.walker4worcester.com/low-inflation-and-rising-pupil-numbers-mean-labours-plan-for-schools-would-cut-per-pupil-funding/

https://www.walker4worcester.com/articles/view_detail.php?id=398997845711c9142662e98a63743830

https://www.walker4worcester.com/articles/view_detail.php?id=17125d049040cd304eb731bfea717473

https://www.walker4worcester.com/articles/view_detail.php?id=c95ca28495ba884a1f06d231f58a4c20

https://www.walker4worcester.com/articles/view_detail.php?id=3c84f14aa1fb7539ac27a99dbdc15567