'Stop moaning and work harder', says Hague
Sunday 13 May 2012
Foreign Secretary William Hague has said there is only one answer to Britain's economic woes - hard work.
In a blunt message to the country's bosses, he said they should stop complaining and get on with the business of wealth creation.
His comments, in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, are a direct riposte to business leaders who criticised the lack of measures for economic growth in the Queen's Speech.
“There's only one growth strategy: work hard,” Mr Hague said. “I think they should be getting on with the task of creating more of those jobs and more of those exports, rather than complaining about it.”
Asked if his comments could be compared to Lord Tebbit's “on your bike” message to the unemployed in the 1980s, Mr Hague said: “It's more than that. It's 'Get on the plane, go and sell things overseas, go and study overseas'.
“It's much more than getting on the bike, the bike didn't go that far.”
The paper said that Mr Hague, as a former comprehensive schoolboy from Yorkshire whose parents manufactured soft drinks, was seen as the best person to deliver the tough message, rather than David Cameron or George Osborne, who have been criticised for their privileged backgrounds.
Shadow cabinet office minister Michael Dugher said ministers should stop blaming other people for their mistakes.
“The Conservatives said after the local elections that they had got the message,” he said.
“Instead, these out-of-touch government ministers are burying their heads in the sand and just want to blame everybody else for the fact their economic plan has failed.
“The truth is it's ministers who need to 'work harder' - at getting an economy that promotes growth and creates jobs.”
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said everyone needed to work harder to create growth - because while Government can create the conditions for growth, the investment needed must come from business.
"Government will create the conditions for us all to work a little bit harder," he told the BBC's Sunday Politics programme.
"I think the nature of the world has changed, we've got to recognise we are in competition not just with our European neighbours but also the balance is shifting towards the Far East.
"Growth will only come from people making things, people selling things, it cannot come from Government - Government can only create conditions for growth."
Mr Pickles highlighted the Going Places Fund his department has administered and the Regional Growth Fund, as well as cuts to corporation tax.
And challenged on forecasts for business investment, which the Office for Budget Responsibility has cut, he said: "It isn't going to come from Government.
"There isn't a magic wand. All we can do is create the conditions.
"We've reduced the level of taxation on business, we've encouraged people to invest, but it's a difficult financial time. You only have to look at what is happening on the continent to understand that.
"Britain is a trading nation.
"I'm saying it can never come from Government.
"What is massively important for us is to bear down on the deficit. We could probably create a false boom if we followed Labour's policies of borrowing more but ultimately we would arrive at a reckoning sooner or later."
Mr Pickles said the Queen's Speech should be seen in the context of "radical reforms" made since the coalition took office in 2010.
And he said he personally wanted to see the Government go further on slashing red tape - proposing a one regulation in, two out measure, a stronger policy than the Government's one in, one out pledge.
Mr Pickles said: "Government can't create growth, only the conditions for growth.
"We are only going to be able to do this if we all work harder... the only way we can pull out of this is by all of us working harder."
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