Clarke Toes Single Currency Line
Bevins, Anthony, The Independent (London, England)
The golden rule of Tory policy was that taxes would only be cut when it could be afforded, Kenneth Clarke, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said yesterday.
He told the Conservative Party conference in Bourne-mouth that sticking to that rule was an essential prerequisite for earning and keeping the trust of the British people.
Labour immediately denounced Mr Clarke for saying that the Tories were instinctive tax-cutters - having introduced 22 tax increases since the 1992 election, including the imposition of value-added tax on domestic power and fuel bills. Mr Clarke said that the successful economies of the modern world would be the low- tax economies. But he added: "Affordable tax cuts are good for the economy. Unaffordable tax cuts can only damage the economy." That was why the key to tax cuts in next month's Budget was tight control over public spending, while ensuring that priority areas like schools, hospitals and the police were properly funded. However, the main focus of the Chancellor's speech was the section dealing with the European single currency - the ultra-sensitive area that left the Tories so damagingly divided up to the conference season. Mr Clarke told representatives that there was more that united them than divided them on Europe. They all supported a partnership of nations, the single market, free-market economics, budget-cutting and the fight against fraud. They all opposed a United States of Europe, the social chapter, protectionism and over-regulation. …