Page last updated at 16:03 GMT, Monday, 10 September 2012 17:03 UK

Cable denies Tory-Lib Dem rift within department


Business Secretary Vince Cable has rejected suggestions that ideological divisions within his ministerial team are hampering efforts to bolster UK economic growth.

Answering an urgent question in the Commons on 10 September 2012 on the government's industrial strategy, Mr Cable said he had identified a series of ways in which the government could beneficially influence the economy.

Ministers planned to pursue policies that would help entrepreneurs gain access to finance, provide support for specific emerging technologies, and develop the skills of the workforce, he said.

But shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna noted that it would be "impossible to implement this strategy without the unequivocal backing of Number 10 and the Treasury".

He drew attention to the installation, following Prime Minister David Cameron's ministerial reshuffle, in Mr Cable's department of Conservative MPs Matthew Hancock and Michael Fallon.

When Mr Cable worked for the late Labour leader John Smith, Mr Fallon had been working for his political rival Baroness Thatcher, Mr Umunna said, arguing that Thatcherite policies continued to dominate the Tory MP's thinking.

Mr Umunna asked the Lib Dem business secretary: "Does his strategy even enjoy the support of his ministerial team, let alone other departments?"

Mr Cable responded: "Let me just emphasise that this has the absolute, full support of the prime minister, the chancellor and my colleagues behind me, and we shall be working together on a team basis to deliver this industrial strategy."

Over the weekend, Mr Fallon announced proposals to exempt smaller businesses from health and safety inspections and scrap up to 3,000 other regulations.


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