Cable: Tories and Labour have turned their backs on the economy and business

Vince Cable makes a major intervention in the election campaign today with a speech on the economy and Brexit. He is not going to mince his words.

He will

  • Accuse both Labour and the Conservatives of adopting a Brexit strategy almost designed to inflict maximum economic damage by rejecting membership of the single market and customs union, as well as other benefits of the EU
  • Warn that the economic storm clouds are already gathering once more from rising inflation, falling real wages and rising personal debt to slowing spending and growth
  • Highlight the Liberal Democrats’ positive economic plan, including boosting spending while still achieving a surplus on the current budget
  • State that “under Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leadership’s model for economic management is the bankrupt, hyper-inflationary Venezuela.”

Here’s a flavour of what he’s going to say.

If we crash out of the single market and customs union and revert to World Trade Organisation terms, respected independent estimates suggest that our trade will slump by almost a third by 2030. Far from turning Britain into a centre for exports, the main thing we would export under Theresa May would be jobs.

Labour’s plans for a spending spree funded by taxing the rich and corporations have been described by the IFS as wholly unrealistic, and will certainly scare off the investment and talent that are fundamental to our global economy. The May-Farage extreme Brexit that Labour voted for will drive out high-earners and leading international companies, leaving lower tax receipts for public spending.

We are also the only party that genuinely recognises the crucial role of entrepreneurship in generating job creation, innovation and productivity improvements that are fundamental to our economic success. As our endorsement by The Economist shows, we are rapidly becoming the party of business.

Theresa May keeps insisting that no deal is better than a bad deal, but respected consultancy firm Oliver Wyman has estimated that an extreme Brexit would cost the financial sector £38bn a year with tax receipts down annually by £10bn. They also warn it would cost 75,000 jobs. This would devastate the economy, but Theresa May just doesn’t seem to care.


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  • Alan Depauw 2nd Jun '17 - 10:32am

    Does the electorate know anything about the World Trade Organisation, which, upon leaving the single market, would replace the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice?

    The ECJ is composed of judges from each EU member including the UK, assisted by 11 Advocates-General, again including from the UK. The WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body is composed of all 164 WTO members who are civil servants appointed by their respective nations. Its Director-General is a Brazilian who decides on the composition of Dispute Panels to settle trade disputes upon the advice of various parties including the WTO’s secretariat. The latter is made up of himself, a Nigerian, an American, a Chinese representative and a German representing the EU. Appeals are heard by the Appellate Body, whose members are from America, India, Korea, Mexico, Mauritius, China and a Belgian representing the EU.

    So in which body, the ECJ or the WTO, is the UK likely to have most influence?

    Furthermore, WTO rules do not properly cover agriculture, services, intellectual property and non-tariff barriers.

    To cap it all, all major nations are also members of trading blocs. Upon leaving the single market, the UK would belong to none.

    It’s difficult to make a sound-bite out of all that, yet surely the electorate ought to be made aware of what would replace the single market if they choose to leave it, as they would by voting Tory or Labour.

  • Alan,

    Everything you say is true and it is what the Lib Dems are saying. However by far the majority of the electorate are in denial. half the electorate think under May Brexit will be great, a large number of others think Labour will give them lots of free stuff. After the election their will be a lot of very disappointed people. If the Tories get in Brexit will be a disaster and how the brave Brexiteers will wail, while probably blaming the EU. Not that will help as their delusions of being special are ruthlessly blasted away. If Labour get in their voters will soon find out that nothing is free in this world and hard decisions will soon be taken.

    The UK I’m afraid is in need of a blast of cold harsh reality, they won’t like it but perhaps it will teach the electorate to avoid snake-oil salesmen and women.

  • Eddie Sammon 2nd Jun '17 - 11:47am

    This is very good from Vince. I’d say we needed more of this pro business talk but I thought the 2015 election campaign was a good one so what do I know? I think I prefer this manifesto though.

  • John Littler 2nd Jun '17 - 12:51pm

    Letter of complaint to the BBC:

    I am complaining to the BBC again about Andrew Neil. This time over his baiting and abusing of Tim Farron, as I did about his vicious attack on the leader of the Remain campaign over the video he made about the Leave campaign’s inconsistencies.

    I am absolutely supportive of the BBC in every way, except in it’s biased handling of politics these days.

    Andrew Neil is an ex Murdoch editor, a right wing figure and instead of going out of his way to compensate for this he uses thuggish techniques on his opponents. There is no attempt to hide this.

    Andrew Neil deliberately fashioned that interview to be a car crash for Tim Farron, interrupting, baiting, twisting the agenda and instead of being fair and informative, to create conflict and try put words into his mouth. I am getting totally sick of it.

    Quite apart from anything, you are creating unwatchable television.

    Then instead of highlighting the positive and informative parts of that interview, the BBC chose via video, to highlight the part of the interview where Farron had had enough of that dreadful treatment and talked over him. The social media is full of complaints about it.

    The BBC is doing it’s best to re-elect the most incompetent and unsuitable Prime Minister in history, set on the most dangerous course since the war. It is incredible.

    I am considering refusing to pay for my licence for a year as a protest, as the BBC is doing nothing to represent me, or to be even handed and no amount of phony detector vans would convince me otherwise.

  • John Littler 2nd Jun '17 - 12:53pm

    Oxford Economics put the three party programmes into a model and the following came out on economic growth:

    1st LibDems with 0.9% ahead of Labour
    2nd Labour with 1% ahead of the Tories

  • Bill le Breton 2nd Jun '17 - 1:56pm

    This from Andrew Duff also significant and worthy of a read

  • John Litter – The party should promote such figures on their Facebook page

  • Peter Martin 2nd Jun '17 - 4:23pm

    I hope Vince Cable doesn’t say things like “under Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leadership’s model for economic management is the bankrupt, hyper-inflationary Venezuela.”

    Why not throw in the USSR and North Korea too? It’s really just scaremongering nonsense. We can expect that from Tories but I’d hope for better from Lib Dems.

    There is no possibility of the UK ever becoming bankrupt providing it maintains its own currency. The dangers are of too much recession or too much inflation. All governments have to maintain a sensible middle course to prevent against either.

    Deficits and exchange rates will take care of themselves if the economy is functioning well. A deficit will simply mean that others want to save their money in pounds. Is that really a problem?

  • Richard Underhill 2nd Jun '17 - 5:33pm

    Before she was in the shadow cabinet Diane Abbott appeared frequently on tv programmes with Andrew Neil. She called him “an alpha male” about which he did not complain. Recently the Daily Politics did a feature on alpha males, such as Putin on horseback and Trump playing golf with academic research findings. They did not mention the cover of Time magazine which showed the winners of post-war US presidential elections in each of which the taller man won. Bill Clinton said of Hillary that ” I can’t make her taller”.

  • Richard Underhill 2nd Jun '17 - 5:36pm

    Coalition cabinet minister Vince Cable has said that Tory cabinet ministers did not support Theresa May’s immigration target.

  • Andrew McCaig 2nd Jun '17 - 7:13pm

    John Littler,
    I will add to your criticism. I just listened to R4 and they said they were going to see how the Lib Dems are doing in the SW. So did they go to St Ives where a respected former MP is standing with Green support. No, they got their vox pops in Truro and Falmouth where we fell to 16% last time! Small wonder they could find few keen Lib Dem supporters! It was a shocking piece of journalism akin to judging our chances in Leeds NW by a visit to Pudsey….

  • The point that escapes some is the British public don’t like the negative demonising of Jeremy Corbyn. Sorry, Vince, but Liberal Democrats pursue it at their peril – not least because echoing the Tories reminds voters of the Coalition years.

    There is a natural human well of sympathy for Corbyn reinforced whenever he is interviewed and perceived to be a quiet spoken man with a gentle sense of humour – rather than the devil incarnate. Presenting the ‘One Show’ with a pot of jam made from his allotment was a stroke of genius. He is having a good campaign.

    He has pursued a coherent radical policy platform straight out of Keynes and Beveridge designed to appeal, as he says, to the ‘Many not the Few’. He has picked up on the injustices of multinational corporations and the austerity welfare cuts agreed, sadly, by the Coalition. As an observer it seems to me he has won the campaign (not the same as winning the election). May by contrast appears complacent, indecisive and wooden. The polls show that Corbyn has the big mo – momentum.

    Sadly the Lib Dems appear to be caught up with their own preoccupations and distractions outside mainstream concerns – and also as a one trick pony. To suggest Brexit can be stopped by a dozen Lib Dem MP’s is not perceived to be real politick……. certainly not in England…..and in Scotland there are other avenues to stay in Europe.

    There seems to be no coherent Lib Dem strategy. I don’t blame Tim for this because it seems to be campaigning by committee with some cringe worthy posters. Much damage was done by short sighted tactics pursued in the Leadership campaign two years ago. Don’t throw a boomerang…. you don’t know when it comes back.

  • @David Raw
    “The point that escapes some is the British public don’t like the negative demonising of Jeremy Corbyn.”

    Quite. The frothing-at-the-mouth stories coming from the likes of the Telegraph do nothing but appeal to those who already froth at the mouth. Negative personal campaigning almost always backfires. I’m not much of a fan of Corbyn in the same way that the PLP aren’t much of a fan. However, the PLP did a far more effective job of reducing Corbyn’s popularity with the public by writing very polite, courteous letters explaining their reservations about his leadership during the leadership election last year. Now that they’re being silent on the issue and campaigning to keep their own seats he’s doing well just by being courteous and talking about policies in the face of May’s empty, negative campaign.

  • Peter Martin 2nd Jun '17 - 8:41pm

    What Vince should be saying is:

    The UK Government is monetarily sovereign. It has the exclusive, monopoly authority to issue British pounds. Pounds come from nowhere else. When the UK Government spends, it is literally spending pounds into existence to ‘pay for’ programmes. So, the question of ‘enough money’ is entirely irrelevant to the UK. When it comes to government spending, it is always a question of real resources: Enough workers, enough steel, enough food, enough hospitals, enough medicines, enough cars, enough of everything but ‘money’. Pounds are merely a tax voucher that the government manufactures to purchase goods and services created by the private sector.

    Because the government taxes and declares a punishment for not paying the tax, people are then forced to obtain pounds. They do that by selling their goods and services to the UK Government and the government then manufactures pounds to pay for them. By being the sole, exclusive issuer of the Pound Sterling, the UK Government always ensures that it can purchase whatever it needs to function as government in perpetuity without fear of going ‘broke’. This is the entire point of the British pound – to provision the UK Government with goods and services.

    This is what every economist knows to be the case. When there’s a major war in progress it’s all taken as a given. But when peace breaks out tunes change. But nothing really changes in the way the economy works. It’s resources that dictate what we can and can’t afford.

  • In the last few days of campaigning, we need the country to hear plenty of Vince Cable, who is widely respected. he is one ‘yesterday’s men’ that we need badly.

  • Ed Shepherd 3rd Jun '17 - 3:45pm

    I question the assertion that “high taxes” scare off businesses and “talent”. Is there really evidence of this? If that was the case, are nations with low-taxing governments brimming with start-ups and entrepreneurs? Maybe but can anyone prove that? Or is it that high-taxes when well-spent create the safe and secure society that innovators need to work in? Do people with ideas for new businesses or valuable skills really decide not to bother working harder because they would pay more (direct) tax? Do they sleep in rather than create a new invention or develop a new product? Surely their passions and enthusiasms drive them and they probably give little thought to their taxes; just leaving that to their accountants to sort out. Ironically, some of the most notable innovators seem to end up living simple lifestyles and give vast sums of money away: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, George Soros, Warren Buffet. Did great inventors like Alan Turing or Barnes Wallis do it for money or because of other factors? My experience is that hard workers just work hard because it is in their character and they aren’t adding up their tax or NI liabilities as they go along. Some of the laziest people I have known were the ones who whinged most about paying tax when they had to…unlike real innovators, they had time to whinge!

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