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Sir Richard Branson backs Conservative economic plans

Picture 6 Many of the papers this morning report comments by made by the country's best known entrepreneur, the Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson, which are highly supportive of the Conservative medicine being prescribed for the economy.

He gave his backing to the economists who backed George Osborne's strategy for reducing the deficit on Sunday, saying:

"I believe the UK's record budget deficit does pose a serious risk to our recovery. It would be damaging if we lost the confidence of the markets through delayed action, and saw interest rates have to go up steeply."

"We are going to have to cut our spending and I agree with the 20 leading economists who said we need to start this year. The next government, whatever party that is, must set out a plan to reduce the bulk of the deficit over a parliament by cutting wasteful spending and must not put off those tough decisions to next year.

"These factors threaten to undermine the confidence of international and UK businesses, consumers and the global financial markets. That could cost jobs and reduce investment in Britain. We must send a clear signal that we have the issues in hand and a clear strategy for UK plc."

Sir Richard stopped short of giving an unequivocal endorsement of the Conservative Party at the general election, but as the Daily Mail reports today, he met David Cameron and George Osborne at the Commons last week for what sources described as "a good meeting".

George Osborne naturally welcomed Sir Richard's backing for the economic strategy he is pursuing :

“Sir Richard Branson’s support for our economic policy of early action to deal with Britain’s debts is hugely welcome.  As Britain’s best known entrepreneur, he knows more about creating jobs and building an economic recovery than the entire Labour Cabinet put together.

“The whole country will want to pay attention to his warning that Gordon Brown’s approach could mean lost jobs, higher mortgage rates and less investment in Britain.  Coming just 48 hours after the country’s 20 leading economists made exactly the same argument, the momentum for change is growing every day.”

Jonathan Isaby

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