Cameron: Punish Labour for a generation

Labour must be punished “for a generation for their economic crimes,” Conservative leader David Cameron has said in a keynote speech on the economic downturn.

Talking to students at the London School of Economics (LSE) Mr Cameron made a further attempt to stop the deterioration in his poll results since the economic crisis began.

But Mr Cameron’s speech was overshadowed by a Populus poll for the Times which showed Labour support cementing itself in after the Pre-Budget Report.

Mr Cameron confirmed his party would not match Labour’s spending plan for 2012.

“We simply can’t go on as we are,” he said.

“When you’re borrowing so much it’s quite wrong to borrow even more.

“Labour are using this crisis to suspend all reasonable fiscal principles.”

The Conservatives had already detached themselves from Labour spending – a hallmark of Mr Cameron’s leadership – but today was the first time it confirmed it would not be matching the 2012 plans.

There was also a call for Gordon Brown to launch a general election.

Mr Cameron said he would concentrate on monetary solutions to the economic crisis. He reiterated the party’s plans for government-guaranteed loans and waste cutting initiatives in Whitehall.

He also argued that excessive borrowing created an environment of uncertainty where families put off major purchases and businesses refrained from investing.

The Tory leader also placed a great deal of emphasis on reforms of public services.

“These Labour politicians have been found out, and just like before they should be punished for a generation for their economic crimes,” Mr Cameron said.

“The Conservative response to these twin problems of recession and record debt is to deal with both together; understanding the connection between the two.”

Yvette Cooper, chief secretary to the Treasury, said: “David Cameron has confirmed the Conservatives would do nothing to boost the economy right now.

“David Cameron has shown he would let recession last longer and run deeper, just as Margaret Thatcher did in the eighties, costing us all more in the long run.

“Either Cameron doesn’t understand the global economic problems we face or he doesn’t care.”

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said: “People desperate for help in these tough times will be amazed by David Cameron’s determination to do nothing while Gordon Brown borrows billions of pounds to do the wrong things.”

Mr Cameron had his third anniversary as leader of the Conservatives over the weekend.

His lead soared after a short Brown-bounce when the former chancellor entered Number 10, but the economic downturn has improved Labour’s fortunes.

Mr Cameron’s speech comes as Sony announced the 8,000 redundancies worldwide.