Reform UK's election pledges are nonsense

Reform UK’s election pledges are nonsense

Reform UK’s election pledges are nonsense – the kind that might be designed to dupe gullible voters into voting for that party instead of others, thereby skewing results across the UK.

Just look at some of the castles Nigel Farage has been building in the air.

He wants to:

  • Freeze all non-essential immigration to “boost wages, protect public services, end the housing crisis and cut crime”

So immigrants are criminals, are they? This Writer hasn’t been able to find any information to support this claim. Presumably the housing crisis is expected to end after Johnny and Janey Foreigner have gone away – but how long will that take?

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How public services will be protected (aren’t Johnny and Janey Foreigner propping them up?) or wages boosted (how is losing a significant portion of the spending population going to make business bosses able to afford that?) seem also to be unsupported.

  • Tackle the small boats crisis with a promise that illegal immigrants will be detained and deported, and “if needed” migrants in small boats taken back to France

How, when border patrols are unable to catch them all now? Is the UK to become a “papers, please” police state?

  • Raise the income tax threshold to £20,000 – the party says this will take seven million out of income tax

Tax doesn’t actually pay for services, so this isn’t depriving the public purse. It may be inflationary, though, if a government puts more into the economy than it takes out. And is this an attempt to quiet protest about the obscene gobs of cash that are taken by the top one per cent of earners, by offering a few crumbs to the plebs?

  • Scrap energy levies and net zero. It says this will save each household £500 a year. The party also says it will “unlock Britain’s vast oil and gas reserves”

In other words, Reform UK wants to turn the current climate emergency into a catastrophe and make the UK the world’s biggest polluter. Who wants to be a part of that? In addition, not only is offshore wind cheaper than gas over the long term, it is less vulnerable to volatile oil and gas prices – meaning Reform has not learned the lesson of the recent inflation crisis and would put the UK at the mercy of foreign fossil fuel tycoons again.

  • On NHS waiting lists, Reform says it will cut “back office waste” in order to spend more on frontline services. It’s also promising tax breaks for doctors and nurses to tackle the staffing crisis

There’s no office waste in the NHS – it was chopped out by the Tories after 2010. Reform’s plan will stop the NHS from working properly, which is probably the underlying intention. Tax breaks won’t be much good to medical staff who are overworked to traumatic levels.

Apparently Reform hopes to pay for this by:

  • Stopping the Bank of England paying interest to commercial banks on quantitative easing reserves, saving £35 billion a year

This requires a detailed explanation to show why it is a mistake of almost criminal proportions: The bank pays this interest to more tightly control the interest rates that banks charge each other for overnight and short-term loans. This allows the Bank to maintain stability in the financial system and influence broader economic conditionsAdditionally, by paying Bank Rate on these reserves, it supports spending in the economy to meet the two per cent inflation target.

So Reform UK intends to destroy whatever fragile stability remains in the UK’s banks, stoke inflation and crash the economy worse than Liz Truss managed.

Or so it seems to This Writer.

  • Cutting bureaucracy and improving efficiency – Reform says it will save £5 in every £100, worth £50 billion a year

The Tories have cut the civil service to the marrow, impairing efficiency in the act. There won’t be any savings; in fact, there’s likely to be a massive cost. Reform says it will scrap quangos – but many have already been scrapped by Boris Johnson’s Tory government and no savings were made at all.

  • Cutting the foreign aid budget by 50% – that’s £6 billion from the £12.8 billion budget

This is another attack on Johnny and Janey Foreigner. It will also harm the economy, harm UK influence overseas, harm national security and international relations, and increase the impact of poverty. Details are here and here.

  • Collecting billions in unpaid taxes

How? Will Reform reverse the current situation in the government, where the number of civil servants working to collect the pittance that is given away in fraudulent benefit claims dwarfs the number working to identify and prosecute tax evasion? Or will it simply recruit more to do the latter? In that case, we need to know how it will be funded.

Reform pledges include some big tax cuts for small business, including introducing a corporation tax free allowance of £100k in profits and lifting the threshold when business have to be VAT registered to £150k from £90k. Reform also promise to abolish business rates for high street SMEs, paid for by an 4% online deliver tax for large multinationals.

Is this intended to support the pledge to boost wages? There’s no information on how bosses will be induced to hand down any extra profits to the workforce so there’s no reason to believe it will happen.

This set of pledges is a recipe for calamity.

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