The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1992Prime Minister (1990-1997)

Press Release – Prime Minister’s Comments on a Conservative Recovery – 3 April 1992

Below is the text of the Conservative Party Press Release on Mr Major’s comments on a Conservative recovery. It was issued on Friday 3rd April 1992, reference 773/92.


Extract from a speech by the Rt Hon John Major, Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party, at Meopham, Kent today.

“The choice at this election could not be clearer. We can have a Conservative economic recovery or a Labour slump. All the ingredients for recovery are in place:

– falling inflation;

– falling interest rates;

– stable exchange rates;

– falling levels of debt leaving companies and individuals ready to invest and expand.

All we need is the confidence that will come from a Conservative victory on 9 April.

By contrast, Labour would damage your wealth. Taxes would rise. Inflation would rise. The value of shares would fall. Choice would be cut and opportunity limited. That is the wrong prescription for Britain.

On 10 April Britain will wake up to a new Government. It will – and must be – a Conservative Government. For, as 93 per cent of businessmen say, it is only Conservative policies that will bring us recovery.

Remember, only one businessman in a hundred thinks Mr Kinnock in government would help recovery. Entirely suitable for a Party that thinks the way to escape a recession is to put up tax. I say – and say again – you cannot tax a nation into revival; you cannot stimulate success by a tax policy that penalises the successful and drives small traders bankrupt.

On 10 April, if you vote Conservative, you will wake up into a world in which:

– inflation, already below German levels for the first time for a generation, is targeted for zero;

– interest rates, which have come down eight times in 18 months, will be reduced when it is prudent to do so;

– the exchange rate is stable because the world has confidence in Britain;

– income tax will be reduced for all – with a long-term target of 20 pence in the pound;

– ownership for all is the objective of Government policy;

– people and businesses are given the freedom and choice to take the decisions that are right for them.

In other words you will see the classic ingredients for recovery. And the whole world of commerce and industry will be breathing a sigh of relief that the threat of socialism is gone.

The keystone will have been placed in the solid arch we have built for recovery – the confidence that will come from a Conservative victory.

The confidence for every business to go out and invest and create jobs. That is what Britain needs. You will only get it with a Conservative Government.

In the past, under Labour, people looked to Britain and talked of the British disease – strikes, industrial failure, seemingly irreversible decline. The spending power of the average family rose by just £2 a week in five years of bitter, strife-torn Socialism.

Now, under the Conservatives, the nations of the world are queuing up for a dose of the British cure – low tax, privatisation, wider ownership, deregulation, and the end of trade union power.

It is the recipe that has raised the spending power of the average family man by £68 a week since we came to power – a surge in living standards for the ordinary family man – 20 times faster than the last Labour government. That is where the new wealth of Britain has come from:

– record resources for the Health Service and for pupils in our schools;

– four million new homeowners;

– four-and-a-half million young people with personal pensions;

– six million shareholders in privatised companies;

– a sea-change in life behind the front-doors of Britain – cars, freezers, videos, washing machines, central heating in numbers never dreamed of before.

Those things didn’t fall as manna from heaven. They came because they were worked for. They came because we cut tax and achieved growth to raise earnings and increase public resources as never before.

It would be a disaster if we abandoned – here in Britain alone – the policies that have given the people the elixir of wealth for which we searched for so long.

It would be like going out at the beginning of spring and cutting down a mighty oak tree because its leaves were not showing. It would be to pour the stifling concrete of socialism on the ground where that tree had grown.

For Socialism could do nothing for recovery. It would snuff out recovery.

If we woke up to a Labour government or a Lib-Lab government on 10 April we would see all the foundations of recovery uprooted and destroyed:

– inflation would rise as Labour say they are ‘happy’ to see it do – Labour’s target would add £2,500 million to business costs;

– interest rates and mortgage rates would be certain to soar;

– the exchange rate would be unstable because the world lacked confidence in a Labour Britain;

– income tax would surge up as the successful were clobbered. Everyone would be caught in Labour’s tax attack – taxes will never be reduced under Labour, that’s official;

– ownership would be threatened as house prices fell and the value of privatisation shares and personal pensions collapsed;

– we would have a government in power which preferred regulation and control to freedom and choice.

Businesses. Jobs. Families. All would suffer. Britain would have woken to the Nightmare on Kinnock Street.

When it comes to recovery Labour would be destroyers.

Their only political programme is to destroy everything the British people have done these last few years. Low taxes? They would reverse them. Low inflation? They would abandon it. Personal pensions? They would wreck them. Family savings? They would devalue them. Trade unions? They would unleash them. House prices? They would drag them down. Share values? They would force them down. Personal success? They would punish it. Business confidence? They would smash it.

Wherever they found the spark of enterprise they would snuff it out. For all our futures, they must not be allowed to do it. And on 9 April the British people will have the sense to see through socialism and to stop them.”