Speaking after Brown had finished his 39 minute speech, the shadow chancellor quoted the CBI and other business bodies that had complained about the volume of red tape and hidden tax rises.
These burdens, he said, were hindering the ability of UK business to ‘win orders and protect jobs’ with the package of measures contained in the pre-Budget report unlikely to help.
Howard said that under Brown the UK had slipped from ninth to nineteenth in the world competitiveness league and condemned the ‘3,865 new regulations introduced last year alone, the highest figure on record’.
And in a phrase also used to describe the government’s record on the NHS – and one that is sure to be used repeatedly in Tory attacks on the pre-Budget report – Howard added: ‘Every year he makes these promises and every year he breaks them.’
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