Every time I come to Portsmouth, there is a buzz in the city – from the Camber, where Ben Ainslie’s team are bidding to bring home the America’s Cup, to Portsdown, where they’re developing the submarine technology of the future.
Chinooks will soon be maintained in Gosport; and the whole city is gearing up for the arrival of the Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carriers. Of course, there was great disappointment when shipbuilding left Portsmouth, but the ship hall didn’t stay silent for long – new tenants are already set to make yachts and maintain ships there.
Let’s be clear: if we’d hadn’t turned our economy around, none of this would be happening. That shipbuilding hall would have stayed silent. Those production lines would have ground to a halt. There would be fewer investors to help Ben’s dream, and no hope of government investing in any of these things.
But because we followed a long-term economic plan, because we took the difficult decisions, cut Whitehall waste and got our deficit down, we have helped Portsmouth to get back on the right track – and helped Britain become the fastest-growing major economy in Europe.
The question is, what’s this economic recovery for? My answer is clear: to make life better for you and your family. Everything we do as a nation relies on a strong, healthy economy. I’m not saying we’ve fixed all the problems in this country, but Britain is going in the right direction. That has allowed us to help create jobs – 1,000 for every day we’ve been in office, more than the rest of Europe put together. It’s allowed us to cut taxes – worth an average of £825 to every taxpayer. It’s enabled us to put pensions up by £950; to help young couples get onto the housing ladder; to turn more schools into academies, like the fantastic Charter Academy; and to protect our NHS, so it’s there for everyone.
In 10 days the people of Portsmouth have a choice – between sticking with a plan that’s working and going back to square one. It’s a choice between me in Downing Street and Ed Miliband in Downing Street. Let us be absolutely clear: a vote for anyone other than Conservatives could help him become prime minister. Our two parties have two visions for Britain – and they couldn’t be more different.
This is what Labour offers: more taxes, more spending, more borrowing and more debt – all the things that got Britain into a mess in the first place. That would cost Portsmouth jobs, businesses, trade, tourism – and would cost you and your family dearly, with an extra £3,028 in tax for every working household.
What’s more – and what’s worse – is the very real possibility of Miliband entering Downing Street on the coat tails of the SNP. It would be an alliance between the people who want to bankrupt Britain and the people who want to break up Britain – and it would be disastrous for our United Kingdom.
Then there’s what Conservatives offer: continuing with our long-term economic plan so we can give you security at every stage of your life. Earlier this month I set out how we will get there, launching our manifesto. By raising the personal tax-free allowance to £12,500, we will take everyone on the minimum wage out of income tax altogether – and we’ll write it into law, so those people who work so hard on low wages never pay income tax.
We’ve already helped create two million more jobs this parliament; if we keep on backing business, we can create two million more in the next.
We’ve already created more than two million apprenticeships; in the next we will deliver three million more. We will keep on protecting pensioner benefits and increasing the state pension; we will double the free childcare given to parents from 15 hours a week to 30 hours a week – worth £5,000 a year; we will extend Help to Buy, and introduce the Right to Buy for people in housing association homes. That is our vision – a good life for everyone who wants a decent job, a home of their own, chances for their children and dignity in retirement.
With a strong team and a clear plan, we can get there. But only you can make that a reality – by voting Conservative on May 7.