British PM highlights reducing budget deficit, rebalancing economy

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Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron Friday made his first keynote speech on Friday, saying that tackling the government's budget deficit and rebalancing the economy were the government's principal tasks.

Cameron said "Our economy has become more and more unbalanced, with our fortunes hitched to a few industries in one corner of the country, while we let other sectors like manufacturing slide." It has become over-reliant on welfare, with mass worklessness accepted as a fact of life and around 5 million people now on out- of-work benefits.

"It has become increasingly hostile to enterprise, with business investment in the past decade growing at around one percent each year -- only a quarter of what it was the decade before. It has become far too dependent on the public sector."

Cameron, the Conservative leader and the first coalition government prime minister in Britain since the Second World War 65 years ago, said that he aimed to liberalize tax rates, and to halt and roll back the interference of government in regulating the economy and the country.

He said, "If you're a minister who wants to bring in a new piece of regulation, first you've got to find an existing one to get rid of. No one should underestimate how revolutionary this is. For a long time, the whole business of Whitehall (central government) has been about creating new regulations. This new rule completely blows that culture apart."

He vowed that over the coming months the government would cut corporation tax rates by simplifying reliefs and allowances and tackling avoidance; abolish employers' National Insurance Contributions (the tax paid by employers for the National Health Service) on the first 10 jobs created by new businesses for the next two years and reform tax rules to allow more foreign firms to invest in Britain more easily.

Cameron's Conservative party is often seen as being a party with little support in the major urban areas.

He said he would be appointing ministers for several major cities and urban areas whose job would be to champion those areas and drive growth and jobs, partly by tackling structural obstacles in central government as they arose.

The prime minister was introduced for his speech, which was made in Yorkshire in the north of England in a region which has suffered a loss of manufacturing jobs over the past three decades, by the Cabinet's business secretary, Dr Vincent Cable.

Cable is a Liberal Democrat from the left-wing of his party and many commentators speculate that he will be the first member of the Cabinet to resign because he cannot stomach the coalition's policies.

He undermined these predictions with a public display of support for Cameron, and Cameron went out of his way in speech to highlight the powers he is giving to Cable's department to refuse new regulations unless old ones can be removed.

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