Major to revive Eighties culture

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The Independent Online
THE REVIVAL of the 'enterprise culture' of the Thatcher decade was yesterday given priority by John Major for the new year.

He hinted that more action to encourage capital investment by companies may be taken in the Budget by Norman Lamont, who will hold a strategy meeting early next month. The Chancellor announced in his Autumn Statement that capital allowances would be raised from 25 per cent to 40 per cent.

Mr Major conceded in a BBC interview on his flight back from Washington that he had been blown off course in 1992 by 'events'. But in a foretaste of his new year message, he said he would be attempting a fightback on the domestic front in 1993.

'There is a great deal that I wish to do. There is a great deal I think needs to be done and clearly one wants to look at the opportunities for recreating the enterprise culture that was so successful in the 1980s.

'That certainly must be a priority, to ensure that companies have confidence to invest. By invest, I mean capital investment, for two reasons: for the medium-term growth and prosperity that will produce in this country, and for the short-term job-creation as that investment is actually put in hand,' he said.

The growth package agreed at the Edinburgh EC summit and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade increased the prospect of recovery. 'I do see it as a year in which we begin to recreate the confidence, the growth and the prosperity of British industry and commerce,' Mr Major said.

However, 1993 promises to be less prosperous for Norman Lamont. Mr Major confirmed that he had dropped plans for a January reshuffle of the Cabinet, as the Independent reported on Saturday. 'I think moving ministers around too speedily is not conducive to good government. I am not anticipating a January reshuffle.'

But he was less than expansive in his support for the Chancellor. Asked whether there would be a new Chancellor with a new economic policy, Mr Major replied: 'You just asked me whether there was about to be a reshuffle and I indicated that there was not about to be a reshuffle.'

Reviewing his 'annus horribilis' which included Britain being forced out of the ERM and Denmark's rejection of Maastricht, Mr Major quoted one of his predecessors: 'Somebody once asked Harold Macmillan what determined policy and he said, 'Events, dear boy, events'. Well, events determined our policy and I think there was a good deal of bad luck over that period.' But he added: 'The government that never made mistakes never did anything.'

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