Monday 23 November 2009 7:00 pm

Brown and Cameron clash over recovery

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GORDON Brown and David Cameron battled for the business vote yesterday as they set out contrasting visions of how to tackle the debt black hole.

In rival speeches at the CBI conference, the party leaders accused each other of putting the economy at risk and clashed on when to end fiscal stimulus.

The Prime Minister warned of the dangers of abandoning stimulus measures too early.

He said: “Choking off recovery by turning off the life support for our economies prematurely would be fatal to British jobs, British growth and British prosperity for years.”

“So that is why we will continue with our current plans to support our economy until the private sector recovery is established, and we will ensure that nothing we do will jeopardise that recovery,” he added.

Cameron said this attitude was “profoundly wrong” and admitted a Tory government would be judged on its ability to cut the deficit.

He said for Labour, getting the economy going was about “government action and big public spending” whereas the Tory approach was about asking how to start the engine of private enterprise.

“Because it’s not big government that will drive us out of this recession and into a sustainable recovery… it’s people like you – entrepreneurs, businesspeople, wealth creators,” Cameron told the CBI. “It’s you who will invent the products of the future, sell the exports, attract the investment, grow the industries and create the jobs we need.”

“So, if we win that election, we will send the message out loud and clear: if you want to set up a business, make an investment, employ new people, then we are on your side. We will be unashamedly pro-enterprise and pro-wealth creation,” Cameron said.

In an earlier speech, Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats, reiterated plans to introduce a temporary 10 per cent tax on banks. And he said there must be a wholesale shake-up of the tax system to benefit “ordinary working people”.