Sajid Javid accuses ministers of ‘looking at Britain through spreadsheets’ in pitch to left-behind voters
Sajid Javid has accused ministers of looking at Britain “through a lens of spreadsheets and efficiency savings” while major sections of the country feel “forgotten”.
The Home Secretary, who has been tipped as a frontrunner in the race to succeed Theresa May, accused some in Westminster of looking at health, education and work and pensions as simply departments "to be managed".
Mr Javid’s speech came after further pressure was heaped on Mrs May following the party’s local election drubbing.
The Tories suffered their worst performance in nearly 25 years, losing 1,334 councillors and control of more than 40 local authorities in England.
Mrs May has vowed to stand aside as PM when she gets a Brexit deal through the Commons, prompting a series of senior Tories to promote their credentials for the top job.
Addressing the Welsh Conservative Party conference, Mr Javid said: "We’ve been in office for nine years now, and I’ve noticed a growing perception that we view the country through a lens of spreadsheets and efficiency savings.
"Bureaucratic victories mean very little if you live a community that feels forgotten. And when we succumb to that temptation, we miss the bigger picture.
"That’s why we mustn’t lose sight of why public services like education matter, or of the ways in which good government can profoundly change the course of a person’s life, the way it altered my life."
Mr Javid said health and education services were “lifelines” for his family and “ultimately the ladder to my success”.
Elsewhere, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told delegates in Denbighshire that the Tories suffered from an "age problem", and said the party must become "relevant" to younger generations.
The 40-year-old, who has also been viewed as a rising star of the frontbench, said: “Today we’re no longer the party of working-age people.
“Voting Conservative has become something you do when you get your Winter Fuel Allowance, not when you cash your first paycheque.
“If you’re under 50, you are more likely to vote for Jeremy Corbyn than for the Conservatives.
“We have an age problem. We can’t let it go on. We need our party to become a force again for working-age people.
“We need younger people to join our movement and power it forward into the 2020s.
“Otherwise we’ll be handing the keys to Number 10 to Jeremy Corbyn with all the damaging consequences he would bring."
Meanwhile Dominic Raab, the former Brexit Secretary who quit over Mrs May’s deal in November, told the Sunday Times he would prioritise tax cuts for “low- and middle-income families” were he to get the keys to Number 10.
The hardline Brexiteer, who has already secured the backing of his predecessor David Davis, said: “I think the basic rate, taking a penny off that, would be talking to the people who need to know we are on their side.
He said the Tories needed to put themselves forward as the party for “the worker who hasn’t had a pay rise in several years” as well as that of “free enterprise”.
“If we can have a really positive, compelling message in all of those areas, we will unite the aspirational working and middle class in this country, which is how Tories win elections,” he said.