Theresa May claims free market capitalism is 'greatest agent of human progress'
Theresa May will argue free market economics is better than "an abstract doctrine or an ideological concept"
Theresa May - PA
Theresa May will today claim that free market capitalism is "the greatest agent of collective human progress ever created".
The Prime Minister will make the claim just a day after Jeremy Corbyn said the capitalist system faces "a crisis of legitimacy".
In a clear swipe at the Labour leader, she will say capitalism is aimed at improving the lives of ordinary people rather than "serving an abstract doctrine or an ideological concept".
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Free market economics, which has been pursued by governments in Britain since Margaret Thatcher, believes that an 'invisible hand' will improve lives of those at the bottom of society if those at the top are allowed to create as much wealth as possible.
Yesterday Jeremy Corbyn told Labour conference: "A new consensus is emerging from the great economic crash and the years of austerity, when people started to find political voice for their hopes for something different and better. 2017 may be the year when politics finally caught up with the crash of 2008 - because we offered people a clear choice."
Today May will defend the economic model in a speech to mark 20 years since Labour gave the Bank of England freedom to set interest rates.
She will say: "A free market economy, operating under the right rules and regulations, is the greatest agent of collective human progress ever created.
"It was the new combination which led societies out of darkness and stagnation and into the light of the modern age. It is unquestionably the best, and indeed the only sustainable, means of increasing the living standards of everyone in a country.
"And we should never forget that raising the living standards, and protecting the jobs, of ordinary working people is the central aim of all economic policy. Helping each generation to live longer, fuller, more secure lives than the one which went before them. Not serving an abstract doctrine or an ideological concept – but serving the real interests of the British people."
The Prime Minister will also defend the Government's austerity programme, insisting the UK must continue to deal with its debts.
She will say: "To abandon that balanced approach with unfunded borrowing and significantly higher levels of taxation would damage our economy, threaten jobs, and hurt working people."
The Chancellor also announced a £2bn increase to the Scottish budget, support for oil and gas and progress on city deals
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