Cameron to unveil 'strategy for growth' to business leaders

25th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

British Prime Minister David Cameron will lay out his "strategy for growth" on Monday to help replace jobs axed in last week's deep public spending cuts, in a key speech to business leaders.

The prime minister will address the annual conference of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the country's biggest employers' body, representing 240,000 businesses, and whose leader Richard Lambert backs the cuts.

Other key speakers are the new chief executives of Barclays bank and BP oil, Bob Diamond and Bob Dudley, as well as Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Business Secretary Vince Cable and Ed Miliband, new leader of the opposition Labour party.

Conservative party leader Cameron will argue that his coalition government, which shares power with the Liberal Democrats, will create a "new economic dynamism" to encourage new jobs in the private sector.

"Today, I want to set out what our strategy for growth will mean for Britain," he is expected to tell delegates, according to an advance copy of his speech.

This year's event is framed by the comprehensive spending review, in which the coalition government announced plans to cut almost half a million jobs, slashing budgets and welfare benefits as it sought to curb a huge deficit.

"I want to tell you how we can create a new economic dynamism in our country -- so we can build real confidence in our future," Cameron was expected to say.

"To build that new dynamism in our economy, to create the growth, jobs and opportunities Britain needs, we've got to back the big businesses of tomorrow, not just the big businesses of today," the premier would add.

"That means opening up access to finance, creating an attractive environment for venture capital funding, getting banks lending to small businesses again -- and in the days and months ahead we will be setting out our plans in all these areas."

Miliband argues that the cuts could harm recovery in Britain after it escaped from a long recession in late 2009.

The newly-appointed Labour leader was to appeal for improved regulation of the financial sector -- and more help for cash-strapped companies.

Cameron will meanwhile announce a 200-million-pound (310-million-dollar, 225-million-euro) network of so-called technology innovation centres, that aim to link up British businesses with researchers at major universities.

Liberal Democrat Cable, speaking to BBC radio, expressed confidence that spending cuts would not push unemployment even higher -- and denied that the strategy was a "gamble".

"I am confident, but it is a difficult task," he told the BBC. "My job is to do everything I possibly can to help the private sector grow and employment grow with it."

The government wants to slash an enormous public deficit, run up under the previous Labour government, as it seeks to preserve confidence on international financial markets and avoid a Greece-style debt crisis.

"It's not a gamble because we are faced with having to make decisions that were unavoidable," Cable said, in reference to the spending cuts.

"The real gamble would have been to have done nothing and just allow the deficit to accumulate and risk a serious loss of confidence."

© 2010 AFP

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