PRIME Minister David Cameron made a bid to convince the public that his government has a plan for growth as well as deficit reduction in a speech at his party’s spring conference in Cardiff yesterday.
Re-branding the coalition “an enterprise government”, Cameron declared war on “the enemies of enterprise” for “taxing, regulating, smothering, crushing, getting in the way” over the last decade. He singled out obstructive planning officials and interfering bureaucrats as the main culprits.
In an attempt to smooth the way for George Osborne’s forthcoming budget, which the chancellor will present in two weeks’ time, the Prime Minister promised:
•To bring back Margaret Thatcher’s “enterprise allowances” on a national scale. Under the scheme, would-be entrepreneurs can submit business plans in order to win government grants of up to £2,000.
•To lower taxes on patent income to ten per cent to support the UK’s pharmaceuticals industry
• To open up the bidding process for government contracts to smaller firms.
• To continue to make trips abroad to promote British trade with other countries, despite criticism for his visit to the Middle East with UK arms dealers.
But despite his claim to support enterprise, Prime Minister presented the banking industry as an economic problem rather than as a part of the solution.
He pitted large and small business against one another: “We’ve got another £10 billion for small businesses from the banks,” he said, referring to the banks’ lending agreements under Project Merlin, “and my guarantee to you is this: I’m going to watch those banks like a hawk and make sure they deliver for Britain’s small business men and women.”