Cameron will delay the Autumn Statement to lead visit to China

PRIME Minister David Cameron has announced a major trade visit to China, pushing back the timing of the chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

Speaking at the annual Lord Mayor’s banquet last night, Cameron said that he would be leading an official visit to China, accompanied by UK business chiefs early next month. Though he did not confirm dates, the Treasury separately announced that George Osborne’s statement, which was set for 4 December, will be pushed back until Thursday 5 December.

“As China’s new leadership sets its direction for the next 10 years, as their country’s star continues to rise in the world, I will take senior British ministers – as well as business leaders from every sector large and small – to forge a relationship that will benefit both our countries and bring real rewards for our peoples. Opening the way for British companies to benefit from China’s vast and varied markets and preparing the way for a new level of Chinese investment into the UK,” Cameron said.

It will be his first visit since he angered Beijing by meeting the Dalai Lama last year. The Prime Minister also announced a new electronic visa waiver, which he said will be accessible to visitors from Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates from 2014.

And he called for a “fundamental culture change” to support business and entrepreneurship in Britain, promising a government “that values that typically British, entrepreneurial, buccaneering spirit, and that rewards people with the ambition to make things, sell things and create jobs for others up and down the country.”