Cameron unveils plan to boost growth in Britain

AP News
Posted: Mar 06, 2011 3:50 PM
Cameron unveils plan to boost growth in Britain

Prime Minister David Cameron pledged Sunday to cut taxes and bureaucratic red tape to encourage business and growth in Britain.

The government will take on "the enemies of enterprise" in its budget due later this month, Cameron said, insisting that encouraging enterprise by eliminating bureaucratic hurdles is the only way forward for a country struggling to recover from recession.

"Someone joked to me the other day that the biggest growth industry in Britain this past decade has been the people writing the rules," Cameron told attendees gathered for the second day of Conservative Party conference in Wales. "But actually it's no joke."

Britain is facing 80 billion pounds ($130 billion) of public spending cuts from Cameron's coalition government as it struggles to get the country's large budget deficit under control. The government has already raised sales tax, but cuts on services like welfare and a rise in the retirement age are yet to come.

Cameron took on critics who have complained that the government is stressing public spending cuts more than growth, saying it was "cowardly" to call for cuts to be eased.

"There's only one strategy for growth we can have now and that is rolling up our sleeves and doing everything possible to make it easier for businesses to grow, to invest, to take people on," Cameron said.

He also said he would be watching banks "like a hawk" to make sure they fulfilled lending commitments to small business and conceded that his plan for cuts might not be popular.

Cut are "the only way," Cameron told the crowd.

But on Saturday, Treasury Chief George Osborne hinted some respite from cuts might come in the March 23 budget. He suggested that a proposed 1 pence (2 cent) increase in fuel duty could be scrapped, saying it's clear that Britons are feeling "squeezed" at the pump as turmoil in Libya and the Middle East drives prices higher.