Prime Minister vows Government course is the right way to go on visit to Cross Hills (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Prime Minister vows Government course is the right way to go on visit to Cross Hills
The Prime Minister revived the catchphrase of his predecessor Margaret Thatcher when defending the Government’s economic policies to an audience of local business leaders.
“There is no alternative” he said, no “magic money tree” to cure the nation’s ills.
David Cameron pledged to stick to his guns, dismissing claims of a Cabinet rift over economic policy following a magazine article by Business Secretary Vince Cable which seemed to suggest the Government should borrow more for infrastructure projects.
The PM made his stand at an engineering plant near Keighley, which he cited as the kind of company Britain needed to succeed against intense competition from China, Brazil, India and other economies.
Cinetic Landis, of Cross Hills, makes high precision CBC grinding machines providing leading edge technology for the engineering industry. The £85 million turnover plant, which has more than 400 employees, exports 90 per cent of its products, mainly to China and Germany.
Mr Cameron spoke in a factory extension which was opened in December as part of a six-year plan to expand and upgrade production and help the French-owned firm move into new markets.
He said: “Tackling the deficit is the first essential step for growth. And if we don’t do it, we’ll end up facing even greater austerity. So, those who think we can afford to slow down the rate of fiscal consolidation by borrowing and spending more are jeopardising the nation’s finances, and they are putting at risk the livelihoods of families up and down the country.”
Mr Cameron said the Government was not “laissez-faire” and that ministers were determined to back industrial sectors where Britain has a “global comparative advantage”.
The PM said he was ready to “fight for” measures to improve competitiveness, such as planning reform, road building and high-speed rail.
He argued there were “signs that our plan is beginning to work”, with jobs being created and the economy rebalancing. “Of course, these signs of progress are just the beginning of a long, hard road to a better Britain,” he said.
“But the very moment when we’re just getting some signs that we can turn our economy round and make our country a success is the very moment to hold firm to the path we have set.
“This month’s Budget will be about sticking to the course, because there is no alternative that can secure our country’s future. I know some people think it is being stubborn to stick to a plan, that somehow this is just about making the numbers add up with no care whatsoever for what it means for people affected by the changes we make.
“But nothing could be further from the truth. My motives for sticking to the plan are exactly about doing the right thing to help families and business up and down the country.”
Stephen Wright, Bradford Chamber of Commerce president, called on the Government to ensure that small and medium firms could access funding for investment and expansion.
Mr Cameron acknowledged that most of the cash from the Funding for Lending Scheme had gone to mortgage borrowers and that more should be channelled to support businesses.
Mr Wright said: “This is not a time for the Government to be chopping and changing its policies but we would like to see more emphasis put on helping firms to raise badly needed finance.”
Andrew Mason, managing director of Shipley’s Newmason Properties, told Mr Cameron that the £32 billion HS2 high speed rail scheme was “a pipedream” which was opposed by 70 per cent of people in the North. The money would be better spent on projects that would happen sooner rather than one which would not be delivered for 20 years, if at all.
Mr Cameron said HS2-related work was happening now and that such major transport schemes were essential to bolstering the UK economy, including the North.
Keighley MP Kris Hopkins praised Mr Cameron for coming to the area to deliver “a strong message on the economy”.