BIRMINGHAM, England, Oct 6 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron addressed his Conservative party’s annual conference on Wednesday, seeking to regain control of the political agenda after a row over cuts to welfare benefits.
Below are highlights from Cameron’s speech.
“We need to get behind our wealth creators. That’s what we’re doing -- dealing with the deficit so interest rates stay low.
“I don’t believe in laissez-faire. Government has a role not just to fire up ambition but to help give it flight. So we are acting to build a more entrepreneurial economy.”
“And there’s another way we’re getting behind business -- by sorting out the banks. Taxpayers bailed you out, now it’s time for you to repay the favour and start lending to Britain’s small businesses again.”
ON DEFICIT REDUCTION
“Reducing spending will be difficult. There are programmes that will be cut. There are jobs that will be lost. There are things government dboes today that it will have to stop doing.
“Many government departments will have their budgets cut by on average 25 percent over four years. That’s a cut each year of around seven percent.
“The spending cuts we do have to make, we’ll make in a way that is fair.”
ON LOCKERBIE BOMBER RELEASE
“There are some red lines we must never cross. Like the sight of the man responsible for the Lockerbie bombing, the biggest mass murderer in British history, set free to get a hero’s welcome in Tripoli. No. It was wrong, it undermined our standing in the world and nothing like that must ever happen again.”
“If we left tomorrow those (Al Qaeda) training camps could easily come back, because Afghans are not yet capable of securing their own country.
“But we will not stay a day longer than we need to. British combat forces will not remain in Afghanistan after 2015.”
ON DEFENCE REVIEW
“Our defence review will match our commitments with the resources we’ve got. This will mean some big changes.
“We will renew our nuclear deterrent based on the Trident missile system.”
ON VOTING REFORM
“Next May, there’ll be a referendum on electoral reform. I don’t want to change our voting system any more than you do. But let’s not waste time trying to wreck the bill -- let’s get out there and win the vote.”
Reporting by Estelle Shirbon, Matt Falloon and Peter Griffiths
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