Christianity plays a significant part in my vision for the future of Britain.
I have been saying for a long time that we need a much more muscular defence of our Christian heritage and our Christian Constitution. This does not of course mean we should be disrespectful of other faiths, only that ours is fundamentally a Christian nation and so we believe Christianity should be recognised by Government at all levels.
Sadly, I think UKIP is the only major political party left in Britain that still cherishes our Judaeo-Christian heritage. I believe other parties have deliberately marginalised our nation’s faith, whereas we take Christian values and traditions into consideration when making policy.
Take the family, for instance. Traditional Christian views of marriage and family life have come under attack of late, whereas we have no problem in supporting and even promoting conventional marriage as a firm foundation for a secure and happy family.
We share with Christians a concern for the poorest and most vulnerable in our society, and our policies provide a financial safety net for those who are unable to work, while encouraging self-reliance and endeavour for those who can. Our attitude to overseas development works in the same way: by re-focusing the foreign aid budget towards critical and essential aid for those in need and widening investment in free trade relationships, developing countries benefit more in the longer term from having a hand up, as well as a hand out.
I believe UKIP has a lot to offer Christians, and we certainly value the participation of Christians in politics and in UKIP.
Freedom of Worship
UKIP is proud of Britain’s Judaeo-Christian heritage. It underpins our culture, our legal code and our system of governance. We will stand up for it because we believe it is as integral, relevant and important apart of life in Britain today as it has ever been. We will uphold robustly the rights of Christians, as well as those of other faiths, to worship as they wish and to espouse their beliefs openly, within the limits of the common law. People’s religious beliefs are their own affair and all people should be allowed to live their lives as they choose, as far as is possible within a free, tolerant and civilised society.
Families are fundamentally important to society and we believe children are best brought up within safe, secure, happy families. We recognise the valuable role played by the traditional family unit in society and will never discriminate against traditional marriage. UKIP will support families by increasing the transferrable tax allowance for married couples and civil partners to £1500, benefitting spouses who do not use all of their personal allowance because they look after children, work part time, or do not pay tax. To help prevent children losing contact with their fathers when couples break up, UKIP will introduce an initial presumption of 50/50 shared parenting in child custody matters. Grandparents will be given visiting rights too, unless it can be shown to the satisfaction of the Family Court that there is a good reason to withhold such rights.
Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013
UKIP opposed same-sex marriage legislation because it impinged upon the beliefs of millions of people of faith. Rushed through Parliament without proper public debate, the legislation is significantly flawed. It should have been subject to a review of the state’s role in marriage. We will not repeal the legislation, as it would be grossly unfair and unethical to ‘un-marry’ loving couples or restrict further marriages, but we will not require churches to marry same-sex couples. We will also extend the legal concept of ‘reasonable accommodation’ to give protection in law to those expressing a religious conscience in the workplace on this issue.
Euthanasia and Abortion
UKIP has no plans to change existing legislation on euthanasia or the ‘right to die.’ We will encourage compliance with the Abortion Act 1967 and seek to make gender abortions illegal.
Our Christian forefathers fought hard to abolish slavery and now we must fight to end it in modern-day Britain. Our fight against the detestable crime of human trafficking will start by withdrawing from the European Union and controlling our borders. We will increase the numbers of UK Border Force staff to catch traffickers, then prosecute, jail and, if applicable, deport anyone convicted of taking part in plying this evil trade.
The UK will spend £64.2 billion (net) on EU membership between now and 2020. The gross figure we will pay to this undemocratic, bureaucratic and ultimately failing project in this time is £97.7 billion, more than the current deficit. UKIP would rather spend your money on the NHS, education, supporting older people and the disabled, defending our nation, honouring the military covenant, helping get the jobless into work, maintaining vital public services, and cutting the debts we are leaving to our children and grandchildren.
UKIP will lead Britain out of the EU, retake our vacant seat at the World Trade Organisation, and escape from excessive EU regulations that negatively impact Britain’s economic growth and prosperity. Ours is a world-leading economy. We do not need to be in political union with the EU to trade freely with Europe and the rest of the world and we will be better off out. Outside of the EU, we can also stop tax avoidance by big corporations, by ending their right to pay tax in whichever EU country they choose.
UKIP will keep the NHS free at the point of delivery for all British citizens, funded by general taxation. We will put £12 billion extra into the NHS over the next five years, spending the money on doctors, GPs, nurses, midwives, emergency care, dementia treatment and research and mental health. GP surgeries will be required to open one evening a week and at weekends where there is demand; we will bring back State Enrolled Nurses who train on wards; and abolish hospital parking charges.
UKIP backs faith schools provided they are open to the whole community, uphold British values, do not discriminate against any section of society and meet required educational standards. We believe Religious Education must be taught in all schools and should reflect the religious make-up of the country as a whole. Education must be responsive to the differing aptitudes, capabilities and speed of development of children, whatever their social background or academic ability. For UKIP, this means excellent primary schools and at secondary level, a grammar school in every town that operates alongside a full range of vocational, technical and specialist schools. We will not allow primary school children to be given sex education lessons.
Poverty and Welfare
UKIP is fully committed to keeping and strengthening the welfare system. It is an important safety net for those who are unable to work. However, we believe a life on benefits for those who can work should never act as a disincentive to employment, which is why we support a benefits cap. Finding work that pays the bills is the quickest and easiest way for most people to escape from poverty. UKIP will take everyone on minimum wage out of tax altogether, to put more money back in the pockets of the lowest paid. We will combat fuel poverty by removing green levies from fuel bills and scrap the bedroom tax. We will keep pensioner benefits such as free bus passes, the winter-fuel allowance and free TV licences for every pensioner, without means-testing. We will stop the abuse of zero-hours contracts and enforce the minimum wage.
No one should be living on Britain’s streets and we want to end homelessness. In addition to a nationwide home-building programme and safeguards to prevent unfair evictions, UKIP will create a National Homeless Register. This will enable those of no fixed abode to claim their welfare entitlements, seek care and support services if they are at risk of physical, psychological and sexual abuse, and get full access to GP, dental and other NHS medical services. We will also create eight halfway-house hostels and 500 affordable rent homes a year for homeless veterans.
Many people who use foodbanks are more than hungry: they may have problems with debt, family breakdown, addiction, and poor physical or mental health, or need employment or legal advice. UKIP will train up and put 800 advisors into 800 foodbanks to help those in most need get timely help, in a single venue.
Charity should begin at home and we will divert much of our overseas aid budget to help the desperate here in Britain, while continuing to fund vital programmes run by reputable organisations, including Christian charities. Ultimately, we would like to help lift nations out of poverty by offering them free trade deals – which we can only do outside the EU -but while aid contributions are still needed, we will contribute £4 billion to developing countries every year – more than given by Spain and Italy combined. Our priorities for aid spending will be on emergency aid, fresh drinking water and sanitation programmes, healthcare and inoculations against preventable diseases. We will not allow taxpayers’ money to be misappropriated by despots and tyrants who may be imprisoning, torturing or slaughtering Christians in their own countries.
Asylum and Immigration
We welcome controlled immigration, which we will manage through an Australian-style points-based system. We will continue to welcome students to Britain, and take our fair share of refugees, respecting United Nations rules.
14,500 churches in Britain are listed buildings. Church repairs used to be free from VAT, but in 2012 the Chancellor applied the standard rate of VAT, forcing up bills for parishes and communities nationwide. UKIP will cut VAT back to just 5% to help maintain our churches as both heritage buildings and vibrant, thriving places of worship. Outside of the EU, we can and will be able to cut it to back to zero.
Photo by Gage Skidmore
Photo by Gage Skidmore