GEORGE OSBORNE claimed there was just 36 days to save the economy as he tried to portray Ed Miliband and Ed Balls as a serious risk to the recovery today.
The Chancellor used a speech in Yorkshire to ramp up the Tories’ rhetoric around its main campaign theme urging voters to stick with his economic plan when they vote in May.
He was speaking at the Pudsey operation of drinks manufacturer Britvic whose chairman, Gerald Corbett, was among 103 business leaders to sign a letter warning a “change in course will threaten jobs and deter investment. This would send a negative message about Britain and put the recovery at risk.”
Mr Osborne claimed British General Election had “never seen a business letter like this” and “jobs are on the line” in the election.
Evoking memories of Tony Blair’s 1997 appeal to voters tthat there was only “24 hours to save the NHS”, he said: “Let me be clear: the policy decisions you take on business in the Treasury have a direct impact on people’s lives.
“Start to hike business taxes and confidence is undermined. Projects are shelved and investment doesn’t come to the country. You create an anti-business environment that leads to lost jobs, higher unemployment and families without the security of work.
“These are not abstract economic risks. They are an assault on everyday working people. And they are concrete reasons why we have 36 days to save Britain’s economic recovery.”
Mr Osborne was speaking the day after Labour had announced it would reverse a proposed corporation tax cut which came into force today and use the money saved to fund a cut in business rates for small firms.
The Chancellor said the Coalition had cut corporation tax from 28p to 20p to help create jobs in a world were businesses could choose to “move anywhere, set up factories and offices elsewhere, create jobs in any country”.
“We want businesses to come here, invest here, grow here, and create work here.
“This is about much more than dry headline rates of taxation. The tax cut today lowers the burden on almost 100,000 companies.
“And that, in turn, helps those businesses offer more jobs to families in Britain, with all the security that brings.”
Mr Osborne claimed efforts to rebalance the economy were also bearing fruit with the North growing faster than the South.
He also repeated his ambition to turn the North into an “economic powerhouse” by improving connections between its towns and cities.
The Chancellor said: “I think there’s a real opportunity here in the North of England to create something really special, a northern powerhouse where we connect together the cities and the counties of the North, not just here in Yorkshire but in the North West and North East to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.”
Mr Osborne was speaking in the Pudsey constituency which the Conservatives won in 2010 with a majority of just 1,659 and desperately need to hold onto to in the face of a concerted campaign from Labour have any hope of forming a Government after May 7.
He said the number of people claiming unemployment benefits in Pudsey had halved since the last election.
“That is not just a statistic, that is families who have real economic security, they have a job that provides the income so they can provide for their family,” he said.