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Keighley hosts PM's major speech on economy
3:28pm Thursday 14th March 2013 in Keighley
Prime Minister David Cameron chose Keighley district from which to deliver a keynote speech on the economy.
The Conservative leader gave his national headline-catching address at Cross Hills-based engineering firm Cinetic Landis last Thursday.
His visit had been shrouded in secrecy until the night before amid tight security measures.
He cited the company as the kind Britain needed to succeed against intense competition from China, Brazil, India and other emerging economies.
Cinetic Landis makes high-precision CBC grinding machines, providing cutting-edge technology for the engineering industry.
The £85 million turnover plant, which has more than 400 employees, exports 90 per cent of its products, mainly to China and Germany.
Mr Cameron spoke in a factory extension that opened in December as part of a six-year plan to expand and upgrade production and help the French-owned firm move into new markets.
In a speech delivered to a specially-invited audience of local business leaders, politicians and other community figures, Mr Cameron revived the catchphrase of one of his Tory predecessors, Margaret Thatcher, when defending the government’s economic policies.
“There is no alternative,” he said, no “magic money tree” to cure the nation’s financial ills.
Mr Cameron pledged to stick to his guns, dismissing claims of a Cabinet rift regarding economic policy following a magazine article by Business Secretary Vince Cable that seemed to suggest the government should borrow more for infrastructure projects in a bid to lift itself out of the current recession.
Mr Cameron added: “Tackling the deficit is the first essential step for growth. And if we don’t do it, we’ll end up facing even greater austerity.
“So, those who think we can afford to slow down the rate of fiscal consolidation by borrowing and spending more are jeopardising the nation’s finances, and they are putting at risk the livelihoods of families up and down the country.”
He said the government was not “laissez-faire”, and that ministers were determined to back industrial sectors where Britain has a “global comparative advantage”.
The PM added he was ready to fight for measures to improve competitiveness, such as planning reform, road building and high speed rail.
He argued there were “signs our plan is beginning to work”, with jobs being created and the economy rebalancing.
“Of course, these signs of progress are just the beginning of a long, hard road to a better Britain,” he added.
“But the very moment when we’re just getting some signs we can turn our economy round and make our country a success is the very moment to hold firm to the path we have set.
“This month’s Budget will be about sticking to the course because there is no alternative that can secure our country’s future.
“I know some people think it is being stubborn to stick to a plan, that somehow this is just about making the numbers add up with no care whatsoever for what it means for people affected by the changes we make.
“But nothing could be further from the truth. My motives for sticking to the plan are exactly about doing the right thing to help families and business up and down the country.”