PM tackling 'enemies of enterprise'
David Cameron has pledged a personal drive to sell Britain around the world as the coalition struggles to pull UK plc out of the doldrums.
Despite fears that soaring oil costs could undermine the fledgling recovery, the Prime Minister dismissed "cowardly" calls for public spending cuts to be eased. Instead, he insisted the only way forward was to tackle the "enemies of enterprise" in Britain by cutting tax and bureaucracy, and boost trade.
In a speech to the Conservative spring forum in Cardiff, Mr Cameron said Chancellor George Osborne's crucial Budget in just over two weeks would be "the most pro-growth for a generation".
"Someone joked to me the other day that the biggest growth industry in Britain this past decade has been the people writing the rules," Mr Cameron told activists. "But actually it's no joke.
"Every regulator, every official, every bureaucrat in government has got to understand that we cannot afford to keep loading costs onto business because frankly they cannot take it any more. And if I have to pull these people into my office to argue this out myself and get them off the backs of business then believe me, I'll do it."
The premier stressed that the government would not merely be cutting tax and regulation and "getting out of the way".
"An enterprise government is an active government using its power and clout to open up new opportunities for business," he said.
"While there are contracts to be won, jobs to be created, markets to be defended - I will be there. If it's making sure Rolls Royce engines are in the world's planes, I'll be there. If it's making sure skyscrapers in the Gulf are designed by British architects, I'll be there.
"I'll be there not just because it's my job, not just because it's my duty, more than that - because I passionately believe - no, I know that this country can out-compete, out-perform, out-hustle the best in the world and I'm going to use every last drop of my energy to make sure that happens."
Mr Cameron also said he would be watching banks "like a hawk" to make sure they fulfilled lending commitments to small business.