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'Pumped up' Cameron's tax warning

Britain is "staring down the barrel" of higher taxes and regulations for businesses if Labour wins the General Election, David Cameron has warned.

The Conservative leader framed the election as a "battle for the backbone of Britain" as he hailed small businesses as the "magic ingredient" behind the UK's economic recovery.

Mr Cameron cast the Conservatives as the party of "the small businesses, the entrepreneurs, the techies, the roof tilers, the retailers, the plumbers, the builders" and said a Tory Government would continue delivering the "pro-business environment" which small companies want, which would be at risk if Ed Miliband wins on May 7.

Unveiling the Tories' small business manifesto in London, Mr Cameron warned: "Labour think they know how to spend your money better than you do. They will put up your taxes. Labour think they know how to run your businesses better than you do. They will put up your regulations.

"You know what they call you? They say business is a predator. This is not some Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. This is what we are staring down the barrel of in 10 days' time if we don't get out there and fight for jobs and fight for enterprise and fight for our economy, and that's what we are going to do."

In a performance which was notably more impassioned that many of his campaign appearances, which have been criticised for lacking vigour, a shirt-sleeved Prime Minister said he was "pumped up" about the challenge of supporting business start-ups, adding that if he seemed excited, it was because he was feeling "bloody lively about it".

He acknowledged that the result in next week's poll remains uncertain, telling a business audience: "When I see those people who work hard and do the right thing, that is what this election is all about. You are the magic ingredient to the recovering economy, and we've got just 10 days to make sure that that magic ingredient and that recovering economy keeps delivering the jobs we want, keeps delivering the growth we need, keeps delivering for the public services we want to provide.

"If you think I'm going to roll over in the next 10 days and let Ed Miliband and Alex Salmond wreck that, you've got another think coming. We have got a fight on our hands and I am going to win that fight. It's a battle for the backbone of Britain, that's what this election is about."

The intervention comes after the leaders of 5,000 smaller businesses signed a letter to the Daily Telegraph supporting the Tory approach.

The companies, which employ nearly 100,000 people across the country, said they "would like to see David Cameron and George Osborne given the chance to finish what they have started".

Kicking off a week intended to be devoted to economic issues, Mr Cameron said that he wants to see 600,000 new businesses start every year by 2020.

He said he wanted to thank people who have started up their own businesses for creating an "entrepreneurial small business revolution" in the UK which had delivered 2.2 million new private sector jobs over the past five years - more than in the rest of Europe combined.

Mr Cameron said he wanted Britain to be "the best country in Europe to start a business and in the top five anywhere in the world", and said that employment prospects and investment in public services were dependent on entrepreneurs creating work in the private sector.

"The ambition is not just to be a pro-business, pro-enterprise, pro-growth, pro-jobs country," he said. "The ambition is to be a country based on the right values, on the values of work, on the values of effort, on the values of reward following that effort. That is what we need to succeed."

Mr Cameron added: "To all those people thinking of how to make that choice in the next 10 days' time, I would say this - those of you who've worked hard, those of you who've put in, those of you who want to build something, you have been in a fight. You have fought for jobs, you've fought for our recovery, you've kept people on in the difficult times, you are building this country.

"You've fought for Britain and I will always fight for you as your Prime Minister, knowing the economy comes first. There's nothing without a strong economy - you can have all the plans, all the dreams, all the policies and all the ideas in the world. They don't amount to a row of beans unless you've got a strong economy.

"That's what we've got in Britain. That's what you've all built these last five years. Don't put it at risk. Don't let it all go to waste. Get out there and fight - we can win."

Mr Cameron said that voters faced a "binary choice" on May 7, with anything other than a vote for the Conservatives likely to result in a Labour government.

"Don't vote Liberal Democrat thinking I'll probably end up with David Cameron - you won't, you'll probably end up with Ed Miliband. Don't vote Ukip thinking 'I want to make a point because some of the things in the last five years have annoyed me'. If you do that, you'll end up with Ed Miliband," he said.

"This is the choice that is emerging, it is a pretty binary choice. Not everything has been perfect these last five years, it's been tough for many people, I know. There has been an enormous amount of sacrifice to get to where we are but we are on the brink of something."

He added: "We have got 10 days to deliver this and they are going to be 10 days when I am going to work the hardest I ever have worked in my life because there is so much on the line."

Mr Cameron later visited the offices of digital marketing firm Tamoco in central London.

The company, which specialises in promotional campaigns that people can access by scanning bar codes with smartphones, received a start-up loan from the Government when it launched in November 2012.

Mr Miliband dismissed Tory plans to create 1,000 jobs a day as being "plucked out the air".

During a visit to Stockton-on-Tees, he said: "The Conservatives have no idea about how their proposal is going to actually happen. It is a figure plucked out the air."

Mr Miliband said he had "greater ambitions" than the Tories and highlighted how Labour plans to cut business rates, which he says would help smaller firms, while Conservative proposals to cut corporation tax would benefit the largest companies.

"I'm really proud of what we are saying about small businesses and what a Labour government would do," he added.


From Belfast Telegraph