Tories told tax cuts will have to wait
CHANCELLOR Kenneth Clarke yesterday ruled out tax cuts as a quick-fix to improve Tory fortunes.
Mr Clarke reminded the Tory party conference at Bournemouth of political realities; that quick cuts now to improve standing in the opinion polls would only backfire in the long-term.
He stressed the need for clear and detailed policies to get long-term success saying the British people did not want short cuts.
'The public don't want quick fixes, people won't believe in them,' he said.
'That is why this Government will ensure that economic growth doesn't collapse into inflation. That is why this Government will make sure we keep control of events.' He added: 'Never again must the economy come to a juddering halt as it has so often over the past 15 years.' There would be an end to boom and bust, he said. There needed to be a lot more improvement: 'Stick with us, the best is yet to come.' But he indicated that with possibly three more budgets before the next general election, he would be able to lower taxes when he had succeeded in reducing the level of public borrowing.
Mr Clarke recognised the suffering the recession had caused by emphasising the recovery.
He ruled out tax cuts but said voters should trust the Government on its timing ahead of a general election.
Mr Clarke said maintaining public services was more important than the short-term political gain.
'It is not easy to tackle public spending particularly if you feel strongly that we need a better National Health Service, a better education system and people need protecting against crime. Of course it is not easy but it is possible that we might be able to do so, that is why we have a Conservative Government.' Many in the party have called for cuts in income tax as the only way to remind the electorate that Conservatives are traditionally the low tax party. Labour claims taxes are now relatively higher under the Tories than they were under the last Labour government in 1979.
'I will cut taxes as soon as I prudently can. It's just a matter of when, not whether. We will only cut taxes for lasting economic benefits, not short-term political gain.' Mr Clarke accused Labour of talking 'gobbledygook' and said it would always be the party of high spending.
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