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The General Election: Swapping Number 11 for Number 10

Prime Minister for a day...

Whoever wins this General Election, nothing will really change that much.

That’s because both main parties cannot afford what they say they can deliver.

And that means very little will alter because the campaigns are built on false promises.

I’m really not being cynical. If the referendum in 2016 achieved anything, it’s people thinking more about politics but, from what we’ve heard in the last two weeks, little else will change.

Given that our HQ is Number 11 (Strand), I pondered what it would be like to have the keys to Number 10 Downing Street this Friday morning. What would my priorities be?

'Brino'

I voted to remain but I think fantasy will meet reality and Nigel Farage may be proved right and 'Brino' - Brexit in name only - will be the likeliest outcome. First big job ticked off.

Loosening red tape to nurture even more creativity for the many thousands of start-ups and new business will also be headlining. A colleague fond of gin pointed out that where there used to be only three brands there are now more than 200 in the UK, which have created thousands of new jobs in every region and a head-scratching range in most pubs.  How do we open the doors across different sectors in this way?

One way would be to simplify the tax regime. Those hit disproportionately hardest are folk coming off benefits into employment. This must be an unintended consequence and I fully accept that taxation is government’s grimmest Gordian knot but, even in a daydream, there has to be a better way.

Similarly, tax relief on pensions has long been identified as regressive and a deferred tax when it could be lowered or, as in the case of an ISA, zeroed. On a macro level, I know taxation underpins our way of life but as it has long been the art of plucking feathers from the goose without making it hiss, perhaps we need to take another gander at this area? (Over to you, HMRC).

And that’s before we even get to the cost of restoring the full state pension to the WASPI women (£58 billion) but this is presented as the bill being paid in one go when it would be spread over five years or, perhaps, more.

Room at the top

Bit of a breather, Prime Minister? Don’t mind if I do.

Despite sales of four-wheel drive diesels dwarfing electric cars, I would mandate car charging points with all new-build homes. Even subsidising them is the right step to take in a greener, more progressive, direction.

Also compulsory would be meaningful financial education at all schools, even if that gives a politician of the future the wherewithal to unwind my pronouncements, the benefits are obvious.

I would also make it illegal for England to lose at Twickenham and legislate to ensure all trains run on time, like they do in Japan.

I could get used to this. Especially as this blog began with the observation that what’s being promised is unattainable so why not push it a little further?

Perhaps that’s one good reason why, uninspiring as they are, we ought to let the political parties and the General Election take its course.

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Given that our HQ is Number 11 (Strand), I pondered what it would be like to have the keys to Number 10 Downing Street this Friday morning.

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After 40 years of experience in the pensions world, I'm sharing my insights.