British Parties Scrap Over the Business Vote
Britain's political parties battled over the business vote Monday with the opposition Conservatives taking potshots at ruling Labour's claim to have embraced the private sector.
“Never has business had such a false friend,” declared Conservative leader William Hague.
Hague argued that Britain's industry had suffered since Labor came to power in 1997, while Tory shadow finance minister Michael Portillo unveiled a “business manifesto” with tax cuts for business, including repealing a tax on the self-employed.
The Labor party of Prime Minister Tony Blair is campaigning for re-election on June 7 on its economic record, saying the party traditionally considered the workers' friend has also established a business-friendly reputation.
Two weeks of campaigning has seen little change in the opinion polls, which show Labor leading the Tories by some 20 points.
But Hague said Labor was just trying to coast on the good business climate in Britain established over decades by successive Conservative governments -- while stealthily increasing taxes on business by five billion pounds a year.
Hague noted nearly 150 businessmen and women sent a letter to the Daily Telegraph saying a second term of Blair's Labor government could be a disaster for Britain's future prosperity.
Last week, a smaller number of business leaders wrote to the Times saying business should back Labor -- LONDON (Reuters)
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)