13 JUNE 2022 | NEWS

The Reform UK party has launched a new policy package aimed at rebuilding the UK economy following the coronavirus pandemic.

Party leader Richard Tice told reporters that the UK was currently underperforming in terms of economic growth compared to other Anglosphere countries, such as the US, Canada and Australia.

His new policy, which focuses on growth for the economy at a national level, was announced at a press conference in London. It largely consists of cuts in taxation at all levels of society, and the party claims this will amount to a £74 billion stimulus to the economy.

The package of measures would see the threshold for paying income taxed raised from its present level of £12,751 to earnings of £20,000 per annum. Mr Tice said that income tax was originally “invented as a tax on the rich, but it’s become a tax on the poor”.

This would be combined with a reduction in VAT from 20% to 18%, the abolition of 5% VAT on domestic energy bills, a reduction in fuel duty of 20p per litre, the abolition of all environmental levies on energy bills and index-linking all tax allowances and thresholds in the future.

The party claims that these changes would save the average household around £2,100 per year.

A further major measure in the policy is to proceed immediately and at scale with shale gas extraction, also known as ‘fracking’. Mr Tice told reporters that the practice could produce £1 trillion in dividends for the UK economy.

The plans are also intended to ameliorate the cost-of-living crisis by reducing inflation, currently running at 9%, with the party claiming that it would drop by 4% over 12 months owing to lower prices for consumer goods.

Mr Tice also expressed disbelief at present reports of a labour shortage, saying that the country’s population was the highest it had ever been and that there were currently 5.3 million people claiming out-of-work benefits. Decrying this as the creation of a “subsidy culture”, which he compared to a “socialist” policy, the party leader said that his plans were intended to “incentivise” people back into work instead.

Attacking the Government over its own policies for recovering the economy, Mr Tice said: “This Government just continues to pray for a miracle and hope that something turns up … that is the wrong strategy; we have to act now, we have to make changes now. And if we do, then things can change.”

The plans were originally drafted with a three-year view, but the party claims that it would be necessary to keep these policies in place for the long term in order to produce the benefits envisioned. Its projections, generated by the think tank Walbrook Economics, estimate that the plans would be self-funding after three years and generating a further £13 billion per year in tax revenues after five years, although this assumes £50 billion per year in economic growth as a result of the measures.

Asked by Wolves whether this plan could only come to fruition under a Reform UK-led Government, or whether he would be willing to work with other parties on these proposals, Mr Tice replied: “The greatest form of flattery is when someone nicks your idea and does it, and frankly, from the country’s perspective, I’d like the Chancellor – one of his team – to be watching this … we need to do an emergency Budget and adopt this, because this will work.”

Referring to the present General Election cycle, he added: “The country can’t wait a couple of years.”

Both the Government and the Opposition have been approached for a comment.

Patrick is a political commentator and freelance translator, with a background in educational IT. In 2019, he stood as a Conservative Councillor candidate in Crewe West.

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