Lowering costs and clipping the red tape

The
Conservative Party intends to slash business red tape by introducing a
deregulation commission and resisting further European Union directives.

If
elected, the Tories would introduce a new body that would closely monitor and
restrict the costs of regulation.

Shadow
Trade and Industry Secretary David Heathcoat-Amory said, "Managers need to
be able to manage, so we need to get business costs down and clip red tape.

"We
want well-paid staff in secure employment, but realise that can’t be done by
passing a law. It has to be achieved by promoting the competitiveness and
productivity of British businesses, which are now more than ever exposed to the
chill winds of international competition."

A
Conservative government would change the UK’s relationship with the EU. It
would not ratify the Nice treaty and would insist on keeping a national veto on
European legislation.

"The
EU economic model is characterised by a high level of so-called employment and social
protection, but in fact it has led to high unemployment and the loss of
international competitiveness," said Heathcoat-Amory.

The
promotion of business competitiveness is a key Conservative promise.
Heathcoat-Amory claimed the productivity gap as measured by output per worker
had widened between the UK and France, Germany and America since 1997.

He
said, "We would adopt a double approach. We want to reduce burdens to
release management time and to lighten business costs, and at the same time
promote training and skills through public agencies."

Business
taxes would also be reduced. The climate change levy and IR35, the new tax rule
of subcontracted employees, would be abolished.

In
the workplace, Heathcoat-Amory is concerned that further legislation supporting
work-life balance practices could be dangerous to business.

He
said, "The Government’s instinct is to reach for the legal button in the
run up to the election, but all the costs will be borne by the companies
themselves.

"If
a company loses its competitiveness and profitability and invests less as a
result, the long-term consequence will be fewer jobs. The best thing we can do
for the employee is to ensure that there is a continuous supply of good and
well-paid jobs in expanding British companies."

Heathcoat-Amory
says only a Conservative government would be sympathetic to business. "We
have a government that doesn’t understand business. Few of them have ever
worked in any sort of commercial environment whatsoever. It is all a theory to
them."

Manifesto:
at a glance

Tax
and the economy
– Public spending not to outstrip the growth of the economy
– £8bn of tax cuts
– No more "stealth" taxes
– Cut fuel tax by 6p a litre

Business
– New deregulation commission to cut red tape
– Promote business competitiveness

Education

– 10,000 new teachers
– Endowment for universities

Health

– Increase in NHS funding
– Increase staffing, but no figures

Constitution
– Transfer power from central government to effective local councils
– Strengthen parliamentary scrutiny of the government

Europe
– A more flexible European union
– Vetro further transfers of power from Westminster to Brussels
– Retention of the pound

Crime
– 6,000 extra police recruits
– Less police bureaucracy

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