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Statement by John Major, prime minister and leader of the Conservative Party, at a news conference at Conservative ...
Statement by John Major, prime minister and leader of the Conservative Party, at a news conference at Conservative Central Office:

'Today I want to talk direct to the people of Britain, and give them a warning.

'They should have no doubt that if they elect a Labour government, they would be worse off - financially and in other ways - than under a Conservative government.

'We have built an economy that is growing faster than any of our major European competitors. A Labour government would destroy that success.

'To know what Labour would be like in government, you only need look at Labour in power in local government. And at the difference between Britain and Europe where the policies Labour advocate are in place.

'Government spending in Britain is now much lower than the rest of Europe. Any Labour government would put up spending like every Labour council does.

'That means your taxes would go up. We now have the lowest taxes of any major European economy. We would lose that under Labour.

'I warn you today. If Labour gain power, they have promised an emergency tax raising budget in July.

Two days before the election, Labour still won't tell you what they plan in a July budget for one simple reason. Because John Prescott said it would be stupid to tell you they plan to put taxes up.

'So I challenge Gordon Brown. If you plan to hit the ground running on Friday, what will you hit the British with?

'Thanks to Robin Cook yesterday, we already know that, if you're a householder, Labour's windfall tax would put up your gas and electricity bills.

'And we know, if you've a private pension, your retirement savings would be hit.

'Independent accountants estimate a£5bn tax would cost pension plan investors£500 if they have£10,000 invested in utilities.

'For the rest they'll keep you guessing.

'And I must warn you a July budget is not the only way they'd hit you.

'Your council tax would go up too. Because Labour would take away the caps we've put on Labour councils to keep council tax down.

'Small businesses would be hit especially hard. Not only because local councils would get the freedom to raise business rates, but they'd also miss out on the rates relief - worth up to£430 - we've already promised them.

'If you're a parent with children staying on at school, Labour would take away your child benefit. Their teenage tax would cost you£570 a year.

'If you're a homeowner, your mortgage cost would go up because of Labour's spending, and because the unions' pay demands and Labour's minimum wage would push up inflation.

'And over half a million people could lose their job.

'Because if Labour follow policies like those in Europe and sign up to the Social Chapter and minimum wage, the extra costs on business mean we would get Europe's unemployment too.

'I warn you again. A vote for Labour is a one way bet.

'Higher tax. Higher inflation. Higher mortgage costs.

'An emergency tax raising budget in July.

'Six surrenders at Amsterdam that would lock us into Europe's high unemployment.

'Labour have nothing to offer that would make you better off. Their policies can only make you worse off.

'Don't risk it.'

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