Cameron pledges spending scrutiny

ALL government spending would be scrutinised by an independent regulatory oversight committee under plans which would be introduced if the Conservatives win the next general election.

Graham Dines

ALL government spending would be scrutinised by an independent regulatory oversight committee under plans which would be introduced if the Conservatives win the next general election.

In his first speech to this year's gathering which is taking place for the first time in Birmingham, David Cameron set out a strategy to reconstruct the way people were helped to cope with the rising cost of living and the impact of the credit crunch.

Addressing his party conference in Birmingham, Mr Cameron set out proposals for an independent body to monitor state spending and a beefed-up role for the Bank of England in overseeing the financial sector.


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Other ideas set out in the Tory economic reconstruction plan include a fuel duty stabiliser to help even out the effects of rising oil prices.

Mr Cameron contrasted his party with the disunity at the top of the Government. “I want us to show that, at a time when the Government has completely lost its way, that there is a very clear, a very strong, a very united and a very positive alternative - the modern Conservative Party”

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Labour, he said, had spent their conference last week “talking about themselves to themselves” while the Tories this week would “spend all of our time talking about the problems people face in our country and the changes we want to make as a party and, if elected, as a Government,”

The conference opened amid signs that Labour had received a bounce in the polls after last week's conference, with the Prime Minister and his Chancellor recovering some public trust. Nevertheless, the aggregate of the latest polls opinion polls would give the Conservatives an overall Commons majority of

Mr Cameron said it was important for the party to avoid becoming complacent because “we have to win so many people's trust about how we will be able to take this country forward.”

With Fleet Street photographers on the lookout this week for champagne swilling Hurray Henries in the conference bars and restaurants, Mr Cameron warned delegates: “We are meting at a time of great economic difficulty and a time of huge anxiety.

“We have to ask the question who brought us and our economy to this position? Who was it that spent and spent and borrowed and borrowed and gave us that massive budget deficit?

“The answer is our Prime Minister, the then Chancellor, Gordon Brown - and my message to Gordon Brown is this: You have had your boom and your reputation is now bust.”

In a stinging attack on Gordon Brown, shadow foreign secretary William Hague said: “Last week, he shed crocodile tears over the 10p tax fiasco: it had caused him real pain.

“But I don't remember any pain in his expression when he announced the abolition of the 10p tax rate. He didn't feel pain when he chose to clobber five million lower paid working people - he only felt the pain when they found them out.”

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