David Cameron: We're building land of hope and opportunity


David Cameron mocks "Red Ed and Blue Peter polices"

David Cameron vowed to get behind business to create a "land of opportunity for all", in his big speech to close the Conservative conference.

His 50-minute address sought to set out dividing lines with "the 1970s-style socialism" he said Labour now offered.

He claimed the economy was "turning the corner" and the "land of hope is Tory", while "the land of despair was Labour".

Mr Cameron also hinted that benefits for under-25s could be cut in an effort to get more young people into work.

But Labour said the prime minister had failed to address the "cost-of-living crisis" and offered a land of opportunity "for just a privileged few".

'Nag and push'

During the 50-minute speech, Mr Cameron contrasted his own party's philosophy with that of the opposition, saying: "If Labour's plan for jobs is to attack business, ours is to back business."

He criticised Labour leader Ed Miliband, who promised in his end-of-conference address last week to freeze energy prices and increase corporate tax on big firms, telling Tory activists that "profits, tax cuts and enterprise... are not dirty, elitist words".

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What will stay in the memory from this conference is the Tories' laser-like focus on the threat from Ed Miliband which they once laughed off.”

End Quote

Mr Cameron argued that adding more state borrowing and spending to ease the "cost-of-living crisis" would risk putting the UK on the economic trajectory of Greece.

"It's all sticking plasters and quick fixes cobbled together for the TV cameras - Red Ed and his Blue Peter economy, " said the prime minister.

Earlier in the week, Chancellor George Osborne announced plans to make the long-term unemployed undertake work placements if they want to continue receiving benefits.

In his speech, Mr Cameron did not make any specific policy announcements, but suggested his party was looking at further changes to the welfare system to include in its manifesto for the 2015 general election.

It was wrong that young people could "choose the dole" and right to "offer them something better".

Mr Cameron added: "And let no one paint ideas like this as callous.

"Think about it: with your children, would you dream of just leaving them to their own devices, not getting a job, not training, nothing?

"No - you'd nag and push and guide and do anything to get them on their way… and so must we. So this is what we want to see: everyone under 25 - earning or learning."

'Stand tall'

Mr Cameron, who did not repeat previous no-notes speeches, often looked straight into the lens of the TV camera to address directly the audience outside the Manchester conference centre.

The BBC's chief political correspondent Norman Smith said it was a surprisingly sober speech in parts, with Mr Cameron stressing there was still much work to do to fix Britain's economy.

David Cameron says the HS2 rail line would be offered by the "party of the future"

It was not enough just to clean up Labour's "mess" and pay off the deficit, he wanted to "build something better in its place".

He added: "In place of the casino economy, one where people who work hard can actually get on; in place of the welfare society, one where no individual is written off; in place of the broken education system, one that gives every child the chance to rise up and succeed."

Mr Cameron invoked the spirit of his predecessor Margaret Thatcher, the winner of three general elections, who died earlier this year, saying she had "made our country stand tall again, at home and abroad".

He also made efforts to distance his party, and himself, from the Liberal Democrats, with whom the Tories have ruled in coalition for more than three years.

He promised: "When the election comes, we won't be campaigning for a coalition, we will be fighting heart and soul for a majority Conservative government - because that is what our country needs...

"This party at its heart is about big people, strong communities, responsible businesses, a bigger society - not a bigger state."

'Strong message'

To cheers, Mr Cameron attacked the Lib Dems for "trying to take all the credit" for lowering the minimum earnings threshold at which people start paying income tax.

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Labour want the choice at the 2015 general election to be between which party can best help voters with the cost of living. Today the prime minister challenged that analysis”

End Quote

He joked: "Well, memo to the Lib Dems: you lecturing us on low taxes is like us lecturing you on pointless constitutional tinkering.

"We are Tories, we believe in low taxes and, believe me, we will keep on cutting the taxes of hard-working people in our country."

Mr Cameron received a standing ovation after the speech, his ninth to conference since becoming leader in 2005.

But, afterwards, Labour leader Ed Miliband said the prime minister had offered nothing to address "the cost-of-living crisis facing Britain's hard-working families".

The Lib Dems said they, not the Conservatives, had made a manifesto commitment in 2010 to raise the level at which people start paying tax to £10,000.

What impact will 'earn or learn' have?

And UKIP leader Nigel Farage said the pro-business message conflicted with the reality that membership of the EU was costing the UK "billions in red tape and direct payments from high taxes".

But there was a more favourable response from business groups, with CBI director-general John Cridland saying the prime minister had "sent out a strong message about how vital British business is to the future prosperity of people across the UK".

Simon Walker, director-general of the Institute of Directors also welcomed the speech, but warned that firms would "be looking for him to match the sentiment with action - if tax cuts aren't dirty, let's have a few more of them".


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  • rate this

    Comment number 169.

    I can't see "Call me Dave" surviving. Having missed the biggest open-goal by failing to gain a majority after G Brown Esq left the goal unattended, Dave is actually seen by many Tories as a loser.

    The right-wing press clearly see Boris as the heir apparent and are increasing lining up behind him.

  • rate this

    Comment number 168.

    I want the opportunity to be able to vote Scotland out of the UK as I'm sick to the back teeth of the lot of them

  • Comment number 167.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 166.

    Today, Cameron says he is opposed to the "casino economy".
    Last week, Osborne was in court defending the "casino bankers".

    Actions speak louder than words.

  • rate this

    Comment number 165.

    "profit, wealth creation, tax cuts, enterprise"

    The problem Mr Cameron none of the above filters down....Friedman was wrong, wealth trickles up not down.

    Better words would be, social justice, distributions of wealth, social mobility, investment, regulation, accountability.

  • rate this

    Comment number 164.

    Meanwhile Joe Bloggs of 1 Working Class Street is paying more tax"

    Totally wrong

    Salary £25,000

    Tax/NI in 2009/10 = £5,826.35

    Tax/NI in 2013/14 = £5,181.40

    Voting this down won't change the figures above. They are facts

    And, please, don't try and say you're paying more VAT. You'd have to spend £25,798 ALL OF IT on VATable goods to pay more VAT than tax/NI saved

  • rate this

    Comment number 163.

    Well there's more holes in this than a string vest. For tax cuts read tax avoidance, although 'New' Labour punched quite a few holes in the tax code this lot have made it far worse. When it comes to austerity we are not 'all in it together'. There's going to be a lot more of that as well with a potential public sector wage freeze until 2020! Non-dom peers? Now that is an oxymoron!

  • rate this

    Comment number 162.

    Pure rhetoric and totally unsupported during their time in government. What strong communities and what responsible businesses - who avoid / evade paying taxes, migrate work overseas, do not take on apprentices, fail to pay interns and reward executives with pay increases of 300% while the rest have their wages frozen.

  • rate this

    Comment number 161.

    One is tempted to say " What a load of bolleau " :))
    Its not as if he's any good at speaking even ... He has to have a team of writers to even do that ... Not unusual for politicians ... Perhaps that's been something we should have caught onto before ... If they can't even speak for themselves they can't run a country
    And lets be honest, none of these useless burgers have a clue :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 160.

    105 Tam o Shanter -- wasn't he a sad old Jaikie that believed in witches , warlocks and other fairy tales like the supporters of the SNP lost cause ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 159.

    'Opportunity for all' (the rich to further exploit the poor).

  • rate this

    Comment number 158.

    What's wrong with being elitist? Don't be ashamed of it, David. This country is going to the dogs because governments are pandering to the people that bring nothing to society, and not helping out those at the top who create wealth.

  • rate this

    Comment number 157.

    Profit, wealth creation, tax cuts and enterprise ARE dirty, elitist words in this country! Those words largely encourage greed and selfishness. Generally speaking, enterprises will employ people, but at minimum wage level. The Tories try to suggest they care about everyone but that is a lie. They want to repress ordinary workers so that they will not fight back. Now the Labour Party...hmmm....No!

  • rate this

    Comment number 156.

    I dispare at some of the rubbish spouted on here, its seems the socialist trolls are out in force, if they get their wish we will all be working in the public sector, paying no taxes and living of the state, basically like Greece!

  • Comment number 155.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 154.

    Why do we have a government that hates it's own people!

    They must hate everyone that is not rich, why do Tories not build a wee Island somewhere and live with the rest of their rich friends and we can get on with having a fair society with opportunity for all!

  • rate this

    Comment number 153.

    "Putting his party firmly on the side of business, he will also promise to make the UK a land of opportunity".
    Yes but for whom?
    As the business man said to the employee.

    Working hard has enabled me to buy this brand new expensive car.
    And if you work really hard next year...I will be able to buy myself an even bigger and more expensive one.

    Shangri-La for some.
    Diaspora for the rest of us Dave?

  • rate this

    Comment number 152.

    The US has shut down Government. We can see how the neoliberal theory works out in practice. The US should now be in a period of growth. All of the things Cameron is taking the opportunity to bring to this land.

  • Comment number 151.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 150.

    Opportunity for who? What opportunities?

    Is this all part of being all in it together, which we aren't, and taking care of the hard working people, who work hard and get nothing.

    Or does he mean that this will be a land of having the opportunity to increase division, making the rich richer, the poor poorer and screwing everyone who isn't one of his friends?


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