Clearly the big news of the day was George Osborne’s commitment to ease the tax burden on first time buyers and push the inheritance tax threshold up to reflect the huge increase in property values.
The left, and some on the right, will no doubt see this as a lurch to the right, I think it is just a long overdue recognition that tax shouldn’t be so unfairly focused on the lower and middle income groups in Britain. Getting on the property ladder is hard enough as it is and it’s getting harder. Taking away some of the financial pressure is a sensible and fair step and because these plans are both threshold increases they will help the less well off first and most.
I went to fewer platform speeches than on day one and more fringe events. One of the highlights was the London Conservatives “What should a Conservative mayor of London do in the first 100 days” fringe event. There were plenty of ideas about reducing waste, reducing the number of political appointees and slashing the army of press officers, all good stuff. Boris Johnson also said that it would be good to scrap the Londoner newspaper and use the money to plant more trees “sending the paper back to whence it came”. I remember at his launch event to described the Londoner as being like a 1960s edition of Pravda.
The line that drew the biggest cheer was when Boris said if Brown doesn’t call a General Election he was a “big girl’s blouse“.
I ended the evening at a reception hosted by the Telegraph, lots and lots of journalists, lots and lots of drink and lots and lots Conservative activists, a potential recipe for disaster? Very much so, but I’ve not seen any stories in the media yet that anyone would regret.