Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Tories to Put Economic Stability before Tax Cuts

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Tories to Put Economic Stability before Tax Cuts

Article excerpt


SHADOW chancellor George Osborne today relegated tax cuts to the distant future as he moved to restore the Tories' economic credibility.

In a keynote speech to the City, he was underlining leader David Cameron's message that stability and risk-avoidance would come first.

"Let me make this crystal clear today, we will put stability before tax cuts," he was due to say. Earlier, Mr Cameron declared in an interview with the Financial Times that stability must come "first, second and third".

That looked certain to displease media tycoon Rupert Murdoch who, in a rare interview, said the Tories should "shrink government and shrink taxation". He criticised Mr Cameron for worrying too much about "image" and not enough about hard policies.

"He's very bright . . . but it seems to be all about image," said the proprietor of The Times and The Sun. "I would really like to know a little bit more about what his vision is for the future of this country and his people.

You know, some facts and some real policies rather than just a lot of almost throwaway positions they take to change their image - so much so, that if you believe everything he says, there's not going to be an alternative between him and a New Labour government, certainly."

The tycoon hinted that a pledge to cut taxes and rein in "the nanny state" could win his support at the next election.

He said of Labour: "I think it has been a pretty good government in many, many ways. But they have, you know, extended the nanny state, the welfare state, and destroyed, gone a long way to destroy, this idea of personal responsibility for people's lives."

In his speech, Mr Osborne suggested the Tories will continue to let spending-rise, albeit more slowly than under Labour. Giving the Conservatives' first firm fiscal rule, he said he would always raise public spending more slowly than the rate of growth over the course of an economic cycle. …

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