Economy 'shock therapy' needed, says David Davis

 

George Osborne was challenged by a senior Conservative backbencher today to set out a new programme for economic growth before it is too late.

David Davis, who stood against David Cameron for the Tory leadership in 2005, urged the Chancellor to use the forthcoming Autumn Statement to set out plans to haul the country out of recession.

He said the economy needed "shock therapy to jolt it out of the torpor".

"Inaction could deliver decades of decline and disappointment to a whole new generation," he said.

He suggested the coalition's deficit reduction programme had been "too little, too late" and called for a wide-ranging package of support for small and medium-sized companies to kickstart growth and employment.

That meant cutting taxes, regulation and energy costs and ensuring adequate bank lending was available.

"We are not quite out of time. It's the 11th hour, if not the 59th minute," he said in a speech hosted by the Centre for Policy Studies think tank.

"Our Chancellor is a clever and resourceful man.

"He should take the opportunity of the Autumn Statement in a few weeks' time to lay out a plan to reinvigorate Britain."

Mr Davis said the Government was making "heavy weather" of deficit reduction with growth prospects looking "poor".

He warned the Chancellor that, although he could point to factors outside his control, he had to develop his own response.

"An alibi is not a policy. There is a risk that by focusing on parcelling out blame, we accept our circumstances with too much fatalism.

"In economics, to understand should not be to excuse. The parlous circumstances should not be an excuse for inaction, but rather a spur to dramatic action."

He pointed to other countries like Germany and Switzerland that had performed well in similar circumstances

"Britain's problem cannot simply be attributed to bad banks at home and collapsing export markets abroad," he said.

"It is more fundamental than that, and demands more fundamental action.

"Indeed, if we do not take a coherent and radical approach to galvanising our economy, there is a serious risk that we will face a decade, or even decades, in the doldrums.

"So if we fear to act because we have anxieties that the alternative policies are too 'risky', we should start by facing up to the real risk - that inaction could deliver decades of decline and disappointment for a whole generation."

He went on: "Today what is needed is a modern shock therapy for our economy, to jolt it out of its torpor. When one of the possible futures facing us is decades in the economic doldrums, what looks risky may in fact be the safest course."

He urged the Government to exclude small businesses from swathes of red tape and to cut taxes - especially what he termed "the employment killers" of capital gains tax, employers National Insurance and corporation tax.

"More than this the Government should lay out a long-term vision of a tax and regulatory structure which will encourage enterprise and favour employment creation in the private sector," he said.

"It should make clear to the people of Britain that there is a competitive future.

We believe that Britain can compete in the global markets of tomorrow, if the Government is willing to liberate Britain's energy, enterprise and creative genius."

PA

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