Cameron Vows War on Red Tape as Labour Pitches to Business

Prime Minister David Cameron will announce a further crackdown on red tape today as he pushes the Conservatives’ claim to be the party most friendly to business in the U.K.

In a speech to the Federation of Small Businesses, Cameron will attack “ridiculous” rules, many of them covering safety at work, with a pledge to ax or amend more than 3,000 regulations, saving companies more than half a billion pounds ($824 million) a year.

“I am here to say we will let you get on with what you do best -- enterprising, innovating and, most importantly, creating jobs which give this country the long-term security we need,” Cameron will say, according to extracts released by his office.

With an economic recovery under way, Cameron is seeking to persuade voters to stick with the Tories at the May 2015 general election rather than back the Labour opposition, which leads in opinion polls.

Labour yesterday denied it is anti-business after its pledge to increase Britain’s top income-tax rate to 50 percent provoked a backlash from industry lobbies. The party will assert its own business credentials today by promising to set up a U.S.-style Small Business Administration if it wins power.

“We need government to be a better servant, and customer, of our small businesses and to make sure that entrepreneurs’ voices are heard at the top table,” Chuka Umunna, who speaks on business affairs for Labour, will tell the FSB conference, according to his office. “A U.K. Small Business Administration is necessary to realizing this ambition.”

Business Attack

Labour’s tax announcement, which it says is part of efforts to reduce the deficit “fairly,” faced further criticism today as the heads of 24 British companies including Ocado Group Plc and Kingfisher Plc warned in a letter to The Daily Telegraph newspaper that the plan could threaten investment and jobs.

In a BBC Radio interview today, Cameron said the economy is displaying balanced growth with job creation and accused Labour of returning to high taxation and high spending. “They seem to have learned absolutely nothing about what went wrong” in the past, he said. “They’re saying, if we have the keys to the car we’d drive in in exactly the same way.”

Cameron will say the government is on course to cut 80,000 pages of environmental guidance by March next year. He will also pledge to help homebuilders by reducing 100 “overlapping and confusing standards” applied to new homes, to less than 10.

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