Lib Dems blame Tories for red tape

Vince Cable, Liberal Democrat shadow secretary of state for trade and industry, levelled the accusations at the Tories, as he questioned the pledge by shadow chancellor Michael Portillo to block excessive business regulations.

Portillo made this promise when launching the Tories business manifesto yestereday, blaming Labour for a red tape and taxes burden of Pounds 20bn.

But Cable turned Portillo’s promise on its head, accusing the Tories of being the ones responsible for accumulating most of the red tape hampering UK plc today.

Cable said: ‘The Conservative claim has absolutely no credibility whatsoever. Much of the red tape which is frustrating business accumulated when the Tories were in office.

‘The removal of red tape is important, but it is a genuinely difficult problem and it has to be demonstrated that the benefits to business are not outweighed by the cost to the wider community, particularly consumers and the workforce.’

Cable said the Liberal Democrats had identified ’25 areas where bureaucracy should be cut because the regulations are shown to be unnecessarily onerous.’

The Lib Dems also took a swipe at reports in the media linking the Tories with many prominent business leaders. The Conservative Party claims to be supported by the likes of John Craven of Lonmin, John Clare of Dixons and Sir Clive Thompson of Rentokil.

But Cable said: ‘Whatever support the Conservatives manage to attract in some sectors of business, will be more than offset by the deep alarm among serious business leaders.

The Liberal Democrats claimed Tory plans to take Britain in a nationalist direction were completely contrary to the needs of modern business to operate in European and global markets.

Yesterday William Hague promised to keep the pound, while Michael Portillo said interest rates would be set for British conditions.


Election 2001

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