Cameron felled by a Redwood

Tax cuts for the Tories, courtesy of John Redwood.

Mr Redwood told the BBC’s Sunday programme the proposals were aimed at improving Britain’s “ability to compete”.

He said there had been previous successes in deregulation, such as opening up the telecommunications market.

Success! For who?

“We need to extend that experience much more widely across the economy and show that getting rid of unnecessary rules and regulations is creative, is enterprising and extremely helpful to those who need some help in life.”

He said businesses which did not have to spend money on such regulations could instead invest the cash.

Or the bosses could pocket the difference…

The report will call for the repeal of working time regulations and many rules affecting the financial services industry.

Other proposed measures include scrapping controversial Home Information Packs (Hips) and relaxing the regulations on herbal remedies, charity bingo and raffles.

The policy package has been drawn up by a policy review group, set up by Mr Cameron and headed by Mr Redwood.

Mr Cameron, who has refused to bow to internal pressure to promise upfront tax cuts, was reported to be fully backing the plans.

Shadow chancellor George Osborne worked on the proposals with Mr Redwood, but a party spokesman said he was only advising him on how to write and present the report.

In other words, Osborne is being instructed that what is needed is a shift away from the touchy-feely stuff.

Labour has seized on the proposals as evidence the right wing of the Tory “old guard” is confidently pushing its agenda again.

Cabinet minister Andy Burnham said it was a sure sign of Mr Cameron’s “loss of grip and authority”.

“And to shore up his position with the right wing, Cameron is letting the old guard sing the old tunes again,” he said.

“But this directly undermines the spending pledges Cameron has been making. He is losing control and all his PR stunts to suggest change are being exposed as nothing more than that, empty stunts.”

Right, but Labour is just as keen to cut regulations, and attacking the Tories on this is mere opportunism.

The Trades Union Congress said the repeal of working time regulations and the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act would be a move backwards.

“If these reports are true, the Conservative Party will put itself on the side of bad employers and undercut the good who are happy to obey these legal minimum standards,” a spokesman said.

The Tory proposal comes amid a poll suggesting Labour has moved to 10 points ahead of the Conservatives since Gordon Brown took over as prime minister.

The poll for YouGov put Labour on 42% – two points ahead of a month ago – with the Conservatives down one on 32% and the Liberal Democrats on 14%.

About that supposed Labour lead, note that the polls suggesting this come from the Murdoch press. Old Rupert seems to have a soft spot for Gordy.

And by the way, Labour is behind by sixteen points in Scotland, where the SNP are going from strength to strength:

SNP Business Manager Angus Robertson MP has commented on the sensational poll in the Daily Mail by Progressive Scottish Opinion which puts the SNP at 48% to 32% for Labour and also shows 40% of the public are satisfied with the new SNP Government with only 12% unfavourable.

Commenting Mr Roberstson said:

“These are sensational figures, showing SNP support up 15 points since the election – and clearly there is no ‘Brown bounce’ in Scotland. The poll underlines the success of the SNP government in delivering our programme for the first 100 days at a pace that has left the opposition parties gasping, and unable to keep up.

“This is the highest opinion poll rating we have ever recorded.

“The SNP has build credibility and competence in government, and that is reflected in the satisfaction figures running at over three-to-one in favour. No previous Scottish government has build up such a solid platform of support in its first 100 days.

“Support for independence depends on how you ask the question – with as many polls in favour as against – and the important thing now is that we will lead a national conversation on Scotland’s constitutional future which will galvanise further support.”

Supposedly, support for independence is down, but there is still strong support for a referendum on the matter, plans for which are being trailed already.

And if Brown does hold a snap election in October, the winners north of the border could be the Scottish Nationalists, who might just translate support for the party at the national level to an increase in seats at Westminster.


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