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Dave follows Ed with ‘blatant election pitch to the workers’ in Diana Dors’ hometown

Dave follows Ed with ‘blatant election pitch to the workers’ in Diana Dors’ hometown

🕔14.Apr 2015

Twenty-four-hours after Ed Miliband pitched Labour as the party for the workers, David Cameron also attempted to claim the workers as his own. Not since the 1980s have the working classes been so assiduously courted by politicians, writes Paul Dale.

In the unlikely setting of the Wiltshire town of Swindon, hitherto best known as the birthplace of the 1960s ‘blonde bombshell’ actress Diana Dors, Mr Cameron launched the Conservative manifesto with an appeal to the type of “aspiration and graft” shown by the workers.

What the prime minister had to say rolled the clock back 35 years with a new version of Lady Thatcher’s right-to-buy legislation which from 1979 onwards enabled hundreds of thousands of formerly Labour voting council tenants to become property owners, and eventually their children to benefit from inherited wealth.

While Mr Miliband at Labour’s manifesto launch yesterday promised to build a Britain for working people, Mr Cameron repeatedly referenced the Tories as the “the real party of working people today” and appealed to voters “not to throw away the economic recovery” and to give him the chance to see the job through.

The reasons for this approach are obvious enough. With Labour and the Tories running neck and neck in the General Election campaign, votes from the C2 skilled working classes will probably propel either Mr Cameron or Mr Miliband to Downing Street, just as Lady Thatcher swept to victory off the back of the Midland car workers.

Before the launch Mr Cameron took to Twitter to state: “The @Conservatives are the party of working people: we’re giving 1.3m housing association tenants the right to buy their home at a discount.”

Under Mr Cameron’s plans 1.3 million housing association tenants would be given the right to buy their homes with generous discounts

The scheme would be funded by councils selling off the most expensive social housing when it becomes vacant, to raise an estimated £4.5 billion a year.

The housing would be replaced on a one-to-one basis with more affordable property.

While some 15,000 houses and flats are expected to become available in this way each year, the Tories stressed that no-one will be forced out of their home for it to be sold off.

But the proposal was branded ‘deeply unfair’ by housing associations, with industry body the National Housing Federation warning that it would involve handing over £5.8 billion of taxpayers’ money.

The Tory manifesto also contains plans for a £1 billion Brownfield Regeneration Fund to build 400,000 new homes on previously-developed land.

And in a surprise move Mr Cameron promised to legislate to make sure no one on the minimum wage has to pay income tax.

Mr Cameron promised a “good life for everyone who is prepared to work hard and do the right thing”. He said:

The next Conservative Government will extend the right to buy to all housing association tenants in this country – 1.3 million extra families; a new generation given the security of a home of their own.

So this generation of Conservatives can proudly say it: the dream of a property-owning democracy is alive – and we will fulfil it. We are the party of working people, offering you security at every stage of your life.”

If you’re a young person looking for training, if you’re looking for a decent job, if you want to buy your own home, if you’re raising a family and need help with childcare, if you fall ill, and need to rely on our NHS, if you are reaching retirement, and want real security, we are there for you – offering security at every stage of your life.

My message to Britain is this: we have come this far together. Let’s not waste the past five years. Now is not a time to put it all at risk, but to build on the progress we have made.

We are the party of working people. So if you want a more secure Britain, if you want a brighter future for your family and for you, then together, let’s build on what we’ve done and see this through.

Key Tory policies:

  • Eradicate the deficit by 2019
  • Create 2 million extra jobs by 2020 and 3 million apprenticeships
  • Extend Right to buy for 1.3million families in housing association properties
  • 100,000 new homes for first time buyers, sold with 20 per cent discount
  • £8 billion for the NHS
  • No one on minimum wage to pay income tax
  • Cut net migration to the tens of thousands
  • Workers pay no income tax on first £12,500 and raise 40p rate to £50,000
  • Renegotiate EU membership before holding in-out referendum by 2017.

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