Gordon Brown joins the Thatcher appreciation society

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The Independent Online

By Jo Dillon

By Jo Dillon

31 October 1999

GORDON BROWN will tomorrow come clean on what many have suspected about the Labour Government - its admiration for Baroness Thatcher.

In a speech to the Confederation of British Industry he will outline plans to reform the capital markets, building on foundations put in place by the former Tory prime minister.

Mr Brown is expected to say: "People say that Mrs Thatcher created an enterprise society. We must always be looking for new ways to promote enterprise and open enterprise up to all.

"We must be better than we have been in the past. We must go beyond what was achieved in the Eighties and we must give everyone, not just the few, the chance to turn their ideas into profitable businesses, to start firms, to create jobs, and win business for Britain."

The Chancellor is expected to say that boosting the enterprise economy is his "major challenge" in the run-up to the next election and that steps to promote and enhance thriving small businesses are to be at the heart of his policies in the coming year.

And, in what is expected to be a precursor to a pre-Budget report on 9 November, he will tell British business that improving the productivity and dynamism of their firms is his goal.

The Chancellor is keen to focus on bringing to life issues like competition, research and design and improving access to capital, skills and training.

And he will take the platform at the CBI conference ahead of Tony Blair and Stephen Byers, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, who will expand on Mr Brown's vision in speeches on Tuesday.