Tackling debt is key, says Cameron


Published: Sunday 11th January 2015 by The News Editor

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David Cameron has cast the coming general election as a choice between security and chaos, as he urged voters not to pass on a crippling “legacy of debt” to their children and grandchildren.

In a speech on Conservative plans to eliminate the state deficit by 2018 and run a surplus in the final years of the next Parliament, the Prime Minister will claim that voters face a choice on May 7 between “staying on the road to recovery or choosing the path to ruin”.

And he will seek to personalise the decision by asking parents and grandparents to consider whether, as a nation, they want to “pass on a mountain of debt to the next generations that they could never hope to re-pay”.

“To every mother, father, grandparent, uncle, aunt, I would ask this question,” Mr Cameron will say.

“When you look at the children you love, do you want to land them with a legacy of huge debts? D o you want to limit their future, to make life more difficult for their generation, b ecause we refuse to do the right thing in our generation?

“I say we have a responsibility to act. We can get Britain back to living within our means in a way that is fair and sensible and secure.”

While Conservatives would “secure a better future for you, your family and Britain”, victory for other parties would mean “confusion, uncosted plans, the spectre of more debt, the shadow of more taxes”, Mr Cameron will say.

And he will warn that “the writing is on the wall” for Britain if it fails to deal with its debts, with the prospect of higher taxes, higher interest rates and less money to spend on public services like hospitals and schools.

The speech comes a day before a Commons vote which Tories hope to use to highlight differences with Labour over economic strategy in the years after 2015/16. Chancellor George Osborne has accused Labour of setting the scene for tax rises equivalent to 3p on income tax by refusing to match his pledge to balance the books by spending cuts alone.

But Ed Miliband accused him of “plucking figures out of the air” and said Labour would eliminate the deficit by “common sense” spending cuts, tax rises targeted on the rich and a wage boost for the lowest-paid workers which he said would increase tax revenues and cut the bill for in-work benefits.

MPs will be asked on Tuesday to approve a new Charter for Budget Responsibility committing the Government to a goal of eradicating the structural current deficit on a rolling three-year horizon – which at the time of the next Budget will be 2017-18 – and ensure that debt is falling as a percentage of GDP by 2016-17. Labour has said it will back the plan, which it believes is compatible with its plans to eradicate the current deficit “as soon as possible” in the next Parliament.

Tory sources said Mr Cameron’s speech is the first of a series of six in which he will set out the key themes at the heart of the Conservative manifesto, with later addresses over the coming weeks dealing with jobs, taxes, education, housing and retirement.

He will commit the Tories to ensuring Britain lives within its means by running a surplus before the end of the next Parliament; cutting spending and waste, rather than raising taxes; controlling the welfare budget; cracking down on tax avoidance; and ensuring that those who can afford to pay most do. He will confirm Tory plans to continue increasing spending on the NHS.

And he will say that Tory plans in all other areas depend on success in dealing with the deficit.

Mr Cameron will say: ” It’s election year, and the choice is clear: staying on the road to recovery or choosing the path to ruin. Competence or chaos.

“With the other parties, all you get is confusion. Uncosted plans. The spectre of more debt. The shadow of more taxes on your family, your home, your business.

“With the Conservatives, you get the opposite. A strong and competent team, a proven record a nd a long-term economic plan that is turning our country around.”

He will add: ” Nothing we want to achieve will be possible unless we eliminate our deficit and deal with our debts.

“The security of your family depends on the stability of our public finances. Your job, your home, the mortgage you pay, the schools your children go to, the hospital you go to when you’re ill, the streets we live on, the very stuff that makes life worthwhile in our country – all these things depend on sound public finances.

“We cannot overstate how important this is. If we fail to meet this national challenge, the writing is on the wall.

“More borrowing – and all the extra debt interest that brings, meaning there is less money to spend on schools and hospitals and all the things we value as a country.

“More spending, and the higher taxes that will require – hard-working people thumped to pay for Government wastefulness.

“And higher interest rates too – punishing homeowners, hurting businesses, losing jobs. In short, economic chaos.”

Labour Treasury spokesman Chris Leslie said: “After a week when we’ve seen a Tory NHS crisis worsening day after day, it’s a staggering omission by David Cameron to fail to make the NHS one of his six themes.

“On the deficit, David Cameron has broken his promise to balance the books because he has failed to deliver rising living standards for all. Working people are worse off under the Tories and that’s why the tax revenues needed to get the deficit down have fallen short.

“The Tories have abandoned the centre-ground with a risky plan for even deeper spending cuts which would take public spending back to a share of national income last seen in the 1930s.

“Labour will cut the deficit every year and get the current budget into surplus and national debt falling as soon as possible in the next Parliament.

“Our tough but balanced plan is different from the Tories’ extreme and ideological approach. Alongside sensible spending cuts we will reverse David Cameron’s tax cut for millionaires and tackle the cost-of-living crisis. That’s the only way to balance the books in a fair way while protecting our NHS.”

Published: Sunday 11th January 2015 by The News Editor

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