Today the conference hall in Manchester paid our respects, once again, to Britain’s greatest peacetime leader, Margaret Thatcher.
It is a source of never-ending pride for every Conservative MP that we represent a party which was led by the country’s first female Prime Minister. Baroness Thatcher did more to extend wealth and ownership across the country than any other politician. We are all better off because of what she did.
But it’s not only in the conference hall in Manchester that Baroness Thatcher’s legacy is alive and well. Across the country we see the change in the transferring of wealth from the state to the people.
Five years ago Gordon Brown used a huge amount of the taxpayers’ cash into bailing out the banks. Under George Osborne, we’re getting that money back. £3.2 billion was raised by selling Lloyds shares to institutional investors like pension funds – ensuring we can all benefit from the banks’ profitability.
There’s also the possibility that the sale of future shares might involve a retail offering – allowing ordinary people to enjoy the benefits of ownership.
The sale of shares in Royal Mail is just as important. Not only will it allow people to benefit from our national assets, but it will allow Royal Mail to get the investment and flexibility it needs to compete with rivals within the UK, and grow internationally.
We’re managing the process very carefully and the scare stories that the CWU and their political wing in the Labour Party are spreading about the end of the universal service are nonsense.
Just today we’ve heard good news about another scheme, Help to Buy. The equity loan part of Help to Buy has already helped 10,000 first time buyers and families trapped by low equity into new homes, creating jobs and economic growth alongside tackling our historic shortage of housing. David Cameron’s announcement today that the second part of the scheme, the mortgage guarantee, will be brought forward is fantastic news for even more families and will further help the housing market.
But just as the militant Labour Party opposed Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, so Labour oppose our reforms today.
What we’ve seen from Labour in the last week is a dangerous attempt to build up the state to the monolithic power it enjoyed during the days of the 1970s, where every aspect of our lives was determined by the sign off of someone in a council, or a central government figure. Not only did this concentrate power in the wrong place, it was also expensive.
It was Ed Miliband’s intellectual godfather Neil Kinnock who declared that 'we cannot remove the evils of capitalism without taking its source of power – ownership'.
If this is the dividing line they want ahead of the next election, they can have it.
After thirteen years of Labour government people know the dangers of an overbearing state. ID cards, an NHS hopelessly tied up in red tape and unable to concentrate on patients, and schools where a target driven culture meant that all too often second best was seen as good enough.
With this Conservative-led government, things are changing. We want to extend ownership to everyone. Labour just want to take it away.
Through free schools we’re allowing hardworking people to have a say in their children’s education if they want to. Labour would stop free schools being built.
Through planning reform we’re allowing people to have more say over building in their local areas. Labour just gave increasing control to unelected bureaucrats.
Conservatives in government are returning power to where it belongs, the hands of the people.
We are doing our greatest leader proud.