Belfast Telegraph

PM vows to tackle 'enemies of enterprise' in Budget

By James Tapsfield and Benjamin Wright

David Cameron has put his faith in "go-getting" entrepreneurs to pull UK plc out of the doldrums.

Despite fears that soaring oil costs could undermine the fledgling recovery, the Prime Minister has dismissed "cowardly" calls for public spending cuts to be eased.

Instead, he insisted yesterday the "only strategy" was to tackle the "enemies of enterprise" in Britain by cutting tax and bureaucracy and boosting trade.

In a speech to the Conservative spring forum in Cardiff, Mr Cameron said Chancellor George Osborne's crucial Budget on March 23 would be "the most pro-growth for a generation".

He blamed Labour for suppressing enterprise since 1997 - saying even his baby daughter Florence knew that "tax and regulation" was holding the country back.

"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."

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.

In a rallying call to his party ahead of local elections in May, Mr Cameron said only the Tories really "understood" enterprise.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said: "When we urgently need a plan for jobs and growth to get the economy moving again and help hard-pressed families all David Cameron and George Osborne can offer is empty words but precious little action.

"All we've heard from this Conference is the reheated rhetoric and warmed up policies of 30 years ago."