Cameron tells business to “fear” Labour coming for them

Prime Minister David Cameron speaking during the 2015 British Chambers of Commerce's Annual Conference at the QE2 Conference Centre in London.
Prime Minister David Cameron speaking during the 2015 British Chambers of Commerce's Annual Conference at the QE2 Conference Centre in London.
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Business leaders have been told to “fear” Ed Miliband as the Prime Minister warns a Labour Government will “come after you”.

David Cameron said the Labour leader was determined to demonise businesses as the “enemy” no matter how much they contribute to UK growth.

David Cameron at the British Chambers of Commerce's Annual Conference

David Cameron at the British Chambers of Commerce's Annual Conference

Speaking at the British Chamber of Commerce conference in London Mr Cameron sough to increase the recent divide between Labour and big business as the General Election approaches.

The PM mimicked former Labour leader Neil Kinnock who in 1983 told voters “I warn you not to grow old” under a Conservative Government, with his warning to employers .

Mr Cameron said: “I warn you not to grow your business - because they’ll come after you.

“I warn you not to take people on - because they’ll slap taxes on you.

“I warn you not to create wealth - because they’ll demonise you.

“I warn you not to aspire to aspire, to work, to turn a profit, to build something better - because, in their vision, you are the enemy.

“Private sector ‘bad’; public sector ‘good’.”

The Prime Minister accused Mr Miliband of regarding business as “the enemy” and said the Labour leader had ditched the belief held by his predecessors, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, that “business is the generator of growth”.

“That long-held consensus in British politics is now over,” said Mr Cameron.

“Labour want to hike up corporation tax, which new analysis shows could cost our economy over 96,000 jobs.

“They’ve opposed every planning reform and every welfare reform. They want to intervene in the market and fix prices.

“Worst of all - Labour have no credible plan to deal with the deficit.”

He claimed that a Labour government would mean “more borrowing, more debt, higher interest rates, a loss of confidence in Britain”.

Mr Cameron also announced that, if the Conservatives win May’s General Election, they will increase from 50 per cent to two-thirds the proportion of business rates that can be retained by local councils.

He told his business audience that this would be “a further big incentive to get councils on your side and get Britain building”.

In an apparent bid to neutralise Labour claims of a “cost of living crisis”, Mr Cameron called on business leaders to give their employees a pay rise after years in which many workers have seen their income decline in real terms, as zero or low-percentage rises failed to keep pace with inflation.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls later told the same conference that Labour’s plans for extra taxes on the wealthy was important to balance the nation’s books in a fair way.

Mr Balls attempted to win the backing of business by promising Labour would not create damaging uncertainty over the UK’s membership of the European Union.

He said: “I agree with your director general John Longworth that Britain must lead the debate for reform in Europe, we must bang the table for change and for the EU to work better for Britain.

“But we shouldn’t flirt with exit and put party interest above the national and economic interest.”

The shadow chancellor was speaking amid concern Mr Miliband had snubbed the high profile business event.

Mr Balls dismissed suggestions of a deliberate snub, telling BBC Radio 4: “This is really scraping the barrel of trivia.

“Ed Miliband has spoken to the British Chambers of Commerce twice in this parliament, he spoke to the CBI a few months ago, he’s at the Engineering Employers Federation in a few weeks’ time.”