Shadow chancellor Michael Portillo launched the Tories’ Business Manifesto, ‘Common Sense for Business’ today, promising a ‘sound economic policy’.
While vowing to keep the pound, and promising interest rates set for British conditions, Portillo also said a Tory government would campaign for tariff-free global trade by 2020.
Portillo said: ‘Few policy errors could be more severe than imposing interest rates unsuited to our own economic conditions.’
He also pledged to increase the independence of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, set up a ‘Council of Economic Advisers’ to act as a fiscal and public spending watchdog, establish a National Accounts Commission to draw up proper national accounts. He also said he would end Gordon Brown’s ‘imprudent policy of increasing public spending by faster than the nation can afford.’
He said that under a Tory government, petrol would fall by 6p a litre and diesel by 27p, IR35 and the climate change levy would go, and the limit for tax relief on share options would increase from Pounds 30,000 to Pounds 100,000 for businesses valued up to Pounds 100m.
Portillo launched a scathing attack on chancellor Gordon Brown who he accused of ‘swimming against the global tide by continuing to increase the taxes on British business,’ and of being a ‘confidence trickster’
The shadow chancellor said under Labour, business had been burdened by Pounds 20bn in taxes and red tape, and pledged to set up a independent Deregulation Commission with powers to block excessive regulations.
And in another measure aimed at helping business in Britain, the Tories said they would help SMEs by cutting business rates by Pounds 200m and exempting some small companies from any form of red tape.
Earlier in the day, Tory leader William Hague accused Labour of deceiving the public, by claiming to be a friend of business.
He said: ‘Never has business had such a false friend’.
Hague promised a liberalising government, which would scrutinise all regulatory legislation, and only impose legislation if it imposed the the ‘least possible cost to business.’
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