Liam Fox: 'We must recapture the wealth creation agenda'

From a speech given by the Conservative leadership contender to the Centre for Policy Studies, in London
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The Independent Online

Twenty years ago, it would have taken minutes for a Conservative politician to stand up and state that most basic of truths: there is no such thing as government money, only taxpayers' money. Yet there was silence - evidence that the Conservatives were unwilling to tackle head - on the damaging Blair-Brown consensus.

It was that consensus that dominated the general election campaign. The debate was merely about how to distribute the cake rather than how to increase the overall size of the cake. That must now change. Conservatives need to take time to explain both the economic and moral cases for reducing taxes. Conservatives must recapture the wealth-creation agenda.

It's not as though there isn't a stack of evidence to back up the case that lower taxes can produce more revenue by increasing the rate of economic growth. And you only have to look at over-taxed Britain falling below its trend growth to see that the converse is true.

When the correct balance is struck between creating wealth and collecting tax, a whole range of virtues is released. The enterprise and creativity of the individual are liberated. Creativity produces diversity. Diversity produces innovation, and innovation leads to excellence and regeneration of the economy.

It is the opposite of the economic situation in which we now find ourselves in the UK. Government in Britain is growing like a weed. It suffocates us with regulation, taxation and standardisation. Worst of all, Labour genuinely believes it is presiding over some sort of progress.