Speech to Conservative Party Conference | Margaret Thatcher Foundation

Speech to Conservative Party Conference | Margaret Thatcher Foundation

Prosperity will not come by inventing more and more lavish public expenditure programmes. You do not grow richer by ordering another cheque-book from the Bank. No nation ever grew more prosperous by taxing its citizens beyond their capacity to pay. We have a duty to make sure that every penny piece we raise in taxation is spent wisely and well. For it is our party which is dedicated to good housekeeping—indeed, I would not mind betting that if Mr. Gladstone were alive today he would apply to join the Conservative Party.
Protecting the taxpayer's purse, protecting the public services—these are our two great tasks, and their demands have to be reconciled. How very pleasant it would be, how very popular it would be, to say "spend more on this, expand more on that." We all have our favourite causes—I know I do. But someone has to add up the figures. Every business has to do it, every housewife has to do it, every Government should do it, and this one will.
But throughout history clever men, some of them economists, not all of them rascals, a few of them vicious men, have tried to show that the principles of prudent finance do not really apply to this Government, this budget, that institution. Not so. They always do, and every sensible person knows it, no one better than you, Mr. President, who had to deal with countries which flouted those principles and are now up to their eyes in debt. Who do they turn to? Those who follow prudent principles like us.


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