By Lindsay Muir.
Leader of the Conservative party David Cameron this morning announced Tory proposals to slash the National Insurance contributions paid by businesses. The announcement comes less than 24 hours after Prime Minister Gordon Brown hinted at possible tax cuts in the face of a financial crisis that shows no signs of abating.
The Conservatives plan to save businesses £2,500 on their National Insurance contributions should they employ a jobseeker who has been out of work for 3 months or more. They claim that the scheme could save businesses around £2.5bn as well as creating 350,000 jobs. The scheme would be a saving on the £8,000 which the Tories claim is the true cost of unemployment benefit per unemployed worker.
Mr Cameron stated in his press conference this morning “we would like to take that money and give it to employers if they take people off the unemployment register.” His announcement follows, what he claims, was successful implementation of a similar scheme in the United States and Canada.
Gordon Brown has attacked the Conservative proposals after calls for him to “personally guarantee” that unemployment figures will not rise above 3 million. The Premier has defended the new deal scheme calling it “the best employment-creation scheme in the world”, a scheme that the Tories wish to scrap. Mr Brown also stated that the Tories proposal is an expensive one which would not necessarily guarantee the creation of more jobs. He also rubbished the Conservative rejection of tax-credits, which he claims offer the unemployed an added incentive to find work.
This morning’s verbal scrap between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition comes as a Populous poll for the Times newspaper put the Prime Ministers approval rating at 35% up five points on last month while the Tories were down 4 points to 41%. Interestingly 52% of those polled were of the opinion that Gordon Brown was still the best man to deal with the current financial crisis compared to just 32% in support of David Cameron. Nevertheless 42% still believe that David Cameron is the right man to lead Britain after the next general-election.