Britain enjoyed the fastest growth in the G7 last year. It is in the middle of a jobs miracle, with 1.5m more full-time jobs and youth unemployment down by 175,000 since the coalition came to power. The best-paid one per cent is now paying more than ever to the Treasury: 27 per cent of income tax.
If Ed Miliband’s party come to power in tomorrow’s election, we are promised market interference and counterproductive tax rises as a matter of policy. In 2012, the Labour leader made a pilgrimage to meet France’s socialist President, a man who he said offered “new leadership”. Francois Hollande led by taxing his country’s highest earners at 75 per cent, a supertax that was immediately damaging, raised little money and had to be dropped. Last year the economy of Birmingham added more jobs than the whole of France. As British growth has soared, Miliband’s French dreamland continues its economic sleepwalk. Miliband and his team have not just been wrong about what would work. They have also been wrong about the success of coalition policy. Miliband predicted the loss of a million jobs under David Cameron’s leadership. Ed Balls said austerity would choke off the country’s growth.
With its tax on high-priced homes and attack on non-doms, Labour has won few admirers in business and the City. In office, pursuing this cynical populism risks an exodus of wealth-creators to less hostile climes, savaging the recovery. In our survey of fast-growth UK companies, 71 per cent said the Conservatives had the best policies to support their business’s expansion.
Yet Ed Miliband may be ushered into Downing Street on the arm of the SNP, a party committed to even more unrestrained spending and the breakdown of the union. Labour cannot be trusted to stand firm against the SNP’s demands. Miliband denies Labour overspent when last in office, even though Gordon Brown increased the national debt by 43 per cent before the crash against the backdrop of an economic boom.
Britain still needs work. Housing supply is tight, productivity is weak and salaries are just beginning to outpace our rock-bottom inflation. Our relationship with Europe remains a divisive topic for business. The union is overdue for a new settlement.
But tomorrow the choice could not be clearer. The party with ideas that work is the party that has for the last five years permitted private enterprise to create jobs and growth to the benefit of all. City A.M. backs the Conservatives.