David Cameron has spoken to the CBI today. His speechwriters have largely re-used his recent speech to the CPS. These are the main themes of the speech:
"It’s essential to reduce taxes on employment and wealth creation in order to enhance our economy’s competitiveness. But I don’t think it’s sensible today to write a Conservative budget for 2009 or 2010, with specific pledges on tax reduction… we don’t whether the economy will be growing or shrinking… we don’t know whether the debt burden will be high or very high… and so increased borrowing to fund tax cuts could put upward pressure on interest rates."
"I’m just about old enough to remember our ‘Double Whammy’ election poster. On pensions, Labour have done it again. First, a craven surrender to the public sector unions on the retirement age. And now, an attempt to sabotage Adair Turner’s pension policy commission. This is no way to run an economy. Your Director-General has accused the Government of "mortgaging Britain’s future for £750 billion" – his estimate of the cost of Alan Johnson’s decision to allow existing public sector workers to retire at 60. I share his – and your – frustration. We need strong political leadership for the long-term. I would respond to the Turner Report on the basis of a number of clear principles. Our policy must be: affordable… reduce means testing and promote a savings culture… be equitable between the public and private sectors… and encourage competition and private provision."
CULTURAL HOSTILITY TO CAPITALISM
"We need to campaign for capitalism. To promote profit. To fight for free trade. To remind, indeed to educate our citizens about the facts of economic life. The message is simple – you cannot win the battle against red tape unless you win the intellectual and cultural battle for open markets."
"There is now an exciting opportunity for a new alliance for EU reform, driven by new leadership on the centre-right. The first priority must be the return of powers over employment and social regulation. This would be the strategic imperative of my European policy."
"The CBI itself has estimated that the costs to employers of transport congestion are around £20 billion a year. Britain now needs a concerted programme of road building, accompanied by the introduction of advanced traffic management methods, including new solutions for road charging based on usage and the time of day. This, along with better market incentives for low or zero-carbon fuel sources, will enable us to meet the need for an efficient transport network while tackling the even more important challenge of climate change."
"We’re not doing enough to nurture the skills and talent of our people. So much potential is being wasted by this Government. A devastating lack of rigour in primary and secondary education. An examination system in which universities and employers have less and less confidence. A complete absence, after eight years in office, of any kind of coherent strategy for vocational education. And universities that are held back by centralised bureaucracy, telling them how much they can spend, what they should teach - and now, even who they should admit."