Tories will target Labour 'disguise'

Shadow Chancellor will respond to Budget by attacking Labour on taxes and job creation

PETER LILLEY will use the debate over the Government's Budget on Tuesday to launch the Conservative Party's post-election attack on New Labour's economic programme.

The shadow Chancellor will characterise Brown's first fully-fledged effort in balancing the nation's books as a high-tax, high-spend exercise in disguise. "I shall be concentrating on Labour's tax increases because it is their biggest breach of an election promise," he said.

Beyond taxes, however, Mr Lilley sees job creation as the pivotal political issue for the Government. If the Blair-Brown team is effective in injecting new jobs into the economy, its re-election will be difficult to stop, he acknowledges. But if the Government's welfare-to-work and other job- boosting programmes abort, New Labour's appeal as a kinder, gentler Thatcherism will crumble.

Speaking at a press conference at Conservative Central Office on Wednesday last week, Mr Lilley exemplified the shift to the centre of all industrial nation political parties in the face of the rising power of the global financial markets. Just as Labour repositioned itself as the party of "tough love" under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, the Tories under Mr Lilley and opposition leader William Hague are positioning themselves as the party of laissez-faire with a conscience.

Mr Lilley's objective on Tuesday will be to dent the credibility of the Government's econ- omic policy. "Brown is going to present his Budget as 'radical' - as something different from previous Labour Budgets," said a Lilley researcher. "We shall show it isn't different."

Mr Lilley portrays Mr Blair as a closet true Thatcherite and Mr Brown as old Labour. "Brown believes social cohesion is a prerequisite for allowing capitalism to flourish," he said. "You can argue that point. Tony Blair was going around before the election and telling people: 'Trust me, I'm going to sell out the poor'," said Mr Lilley.

The result, according to the shadow Chancellor, is a good-cop-bad-cop routine that has bamboozled the electorate into thinking it is getting the best of both worlds. But this sleight of hand, Mr Lilley said, will not work if the extra jobs needed to improve the nation's standard of living do not materialise.

"The Government's welfare-to-work programme is about redistribution - redistribution of jobs," he said. "The new jobs that under 25s will get will be taken from older workers."

But Mr Lilley said the Conservatives would not be putting forward thinking of its own on job creation any time soon. Debate over job creation is therefore likely to remain stuck where it was before the change of government, at least until the welfare-to-work programme is seen to succeed or fail.

Mr Lilley did make old Tory arguments about job creation. He said Labour's prospective minimum wage would deter employers from creating jobs at the bottom of the ladder. He added that the Conservative philosophy of giving employers liberty to pursue their affairs was better than the targeted support of fast-growth sectors of the economy favoured by Labour.

Asked why he would not be offering alternatives to the Government's job creation schemes, Mr Lilley replied: "Detailed debate at this point would be bad for our party. It would inevitably turn into rows about what we should have said in our last manifesto."

Asked if the Tories were using this excuse to hide the fact that they had done no fresh thinking on job creation, the shadow Chancellor hedged.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee Recruitment Consultant Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Recruitment Consultant - Soho - IT, Pharma, Public Sector

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35,000 first year: SThree: The SThree group i...

Sales Executive

£20 - 24k (Uncapped Commission - £35k Year 1 OTE): Guru Careers: We are seekin...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week