Cameron Says Improving Economy May Allow U.K. to Reduce Taxes
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said the U.K. economy is “healing” and that should allow the government to cut taxes.
“As we start to see the economy grow stronger -- and it is growing stronger -- as we start to see the country improve, actually I want to give people back some of their hard-earned money and try to reduce their taxes,” Cameron said in an interview on the BBC’s “Andrew Marr Show” broadcast today. “Your economy does better if you say to people you’ve worked hard, you’ve done the right thing, here is some of your own money back in a tax reduction.”
With recent data showing strength in the economy, Cameron may find it easier to achieve his deficit-reduction goals as part of the biggest fiscal squeeze since World War II. Due to a weaker-than-expected recovery after the global financial crisis, Cameron’s Conservatives and their Liberal Democrat coalition partners have had to extend budget cuts until 2017-18, beyond the country’s next general election in 2015.
The government’s fiscal plans show “further need for spending reductions in order to meet our deficit targets” and “don’t include any plans for tax rises,” Cameron said.
The U.K. public have “set us this task of trying to turn the country round, sort out the deficit, get the economy moving again, build a country where hardworking people get rewarded,” Cameron said. “They’ll judge us in 2015 and I hope to persuade them that a Conservative-only government will be able to do even more of that.”
After returning to growth in the first quarter, Britain’s economy has shown some signs of gaining momentum. Measures of services, manufacturing and construction all improved in June and recent reports have suggested rising house prices and falling unemployment are spurring consumer confidence.
Data this week will probably show gross domestic product rose 0.6 percent in the second quarter, the most since 2012, compared with 0.3 percent in the previous three months, according to the median of 37 economist forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey. The Office for National Statistics will publish the data, a first estimate, on July 25.
Lawmaker Caroline Flint, a spokeswoman on energy for the opposition Labour Party, which has criticized many of the government’s spending cuts, said Cameron’s economic strategy hasn’t worked.
“We’ve seen a slight increase in growth, but nowhere near what they forecast,” she said in a television interview on Sky News. “It is fragile at the moment and I’m afraid this government isn’t doing enough to help.”
Cameron should break up the coalition next year so the Conservatives can campaign more clearly as a separate political party in the run-up to the general election, the Sunday Telegraph cited Conservative lawmakers Graham Brady and Bernard Jenkin as saying.
“I want to govern as a Conservative-only government,” Cameron said in his interview. “I’m aiming for victory and I’m going to fight all out for victory, and I think victory is achievable if we really roll up our sleeves and deliver.”
The prime minister will give a speech tomorrow on tackling child pornography on the internet. He said today that Internet companies need to block results for searches looking for child abuse images, and that the government will look at bringing in legal controls should they fail to comply.
“We need to have very, very strong conversations with those companies about saying no, you shouldn’t provide results for some terms that are so depraved and disgusting,” Cameron said. “If we don’t get what we need we’ll have to look at legislation.”
On the conflict in Syria, Cameron said the U.K. is sticking with plans to only give non-lethal support to rebel forces.
“I would accept that we’re on a depressing trajectory and we need to change that,” he said. “You’ve got an evil president who’s doing dreadful things to his people, I think he may be stronger than he was a few months ago, but I’d still describe the situation as a stalemate.”
Asked about his plans to renegotiate the U.K.’s relationship with the European Union ahead of a proposed referendum in 2017 on Britain’s EU membership, Cameron said more specific goals will be set out “over time.”
He is seeking to repatriate some powers and streamline decision-making as part of an overhaul of the political bloc.
“I go into these negotiations optimistic and confident that I can get a better deal for Britain,” he said. “I wouldn’t be going down this path if I didn’t think it was possible to get the result I want to achieve.”
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