POLITICS

David Cameron's Conservative Conference Speech Lambasted By Financial Times

02/10/2014 14:20 BST | Updated 02/10/2014 14:59 BST
Bloomberg via Getty Images
David Cameron, U.K. prime minister, pauses as he addresses delegates at the Conservative party's annual conference in Birmingham, U.K., on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. Cameron pledged to cut taxes for people on middle incomes as well as the lowest paid if he wins next year's general election, taking the fight to the Labour opposition that's leading in the polls. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

David Cameron's speech to Conservative activists at his party's last conference before the general election, promising £7.2 billion of tax cuts, was received very warmly by many papers.

However, the Financial Times dismissed his two big tax pledges as "electoral gimmickry", warning in its editorial that they were "neither sober nor realistic".

The newspaper may still be a bit irked after the Prime Minister described it as being full of "dry and dusty economics".

This comes after experts indicated that the Prime Minister's pledges, in the event of the Tories winning a majority, would help the rich more than the poor.

In a cutting judgement on Cameron's speech, the FT said: "Mr Cameron may feel that his party is so far ahead of Labour on the economy that it can afford to indulge in electoral gimmickry. But his proposed tax cuts leave the Tories with an economic strategy of questionable coherence."

"Having already promised to slash public spending by £25bn in the next parliament, they have now loaded on a £7.2bn tax cut, increasing the size of the hole to be filled."

The FT concluded that the consequences of Cameron's stance on public spending "does not bear thinking about" and would see "further savage cuts" to all departments, with the exception of the NHS.

The Sun Leads Almost Universal Press Praise For David Cameron's Conference Speech

"No explanation has been offered of what this would mean for spending on defence and the police," the FT said. "At the end of a Tory conference where the threat of Islamist terrorism was frequently invoked, the idea of further deep cuts in these areas seems bizarre."

"In the bid both to draw a clear dividing line with Labour and reassure the wavering right, they have staked out a fiscal position that is neither sober nor realistic."

Meanwhile, FT columnist Janan Ganesh wrote in his column: "If the deficit is so serious, voters might wonder, why are taxes going down? An image of flinty discipline has worked well for the Tories and Thursday’s speech moved some way from it in tone and content."

Cameron may now regret mocking the FT newspaper only days before his big conference speech. Speaking to BBC's Newsnight, he said the Tories' economic plan was not drawn "from the pages of the Financial Times...just dry & dusty economics."

Cameron passes judgement on the FT's "dry and dusty" pages (from 7.53)

He added: "It's actually a plan to make sure people can feel 'If I work hard, I can get a job'. The problem is that people can fee disconnected from economic success and we have to reconnect them. It's about saying we get your aspirations, it's not a left or right thing."