Cameron tells under-25s: 'Earn it or else learn it'
David Cameron has warned under-25s could be stripped of welfare benefits in a move to ensure youngsters either "earn or learn".
The Prime Minister used his speech to the Tory party conference to flesh out his vision of aspirational Britain as a "land of opportunity" where everyone has the chance to get a decent job, buy a home or start a business.
But he revealed the next Conservative manifesto is likely to promise to prevent young people claiming unemployment benefits after leaving school or college so that they can no longer "opt for a life on benefits".
In a wide-ranging speech, Mr Cameron warned the job of fixing Britain has only just begun and pleaded to be given the chance to "finish the job".
Reforms to the economy, welfare and schools would ensure everyone will have "the chance to make it" – arguing: "The land of despair was Labour, but the land of hope is Tory."
And he made clear his intention to reduce taxes, telling activists: "We're Tories. We believe in low taxes."
Much of Mr Cameron's address attacked Labour, accusing Ed Miliband of adopting an anti-business agenda and dismissing his promises to cut the cost of living as "quick fixes". He maintained Conservative support to business, praising entrepreneurs as "national heroes".
Mr Cameron denounced Labour's plan to hike corporation tax rates for large businesses as "just about the most damaging, nonsensical, twisted economic policy you could possibly come up with", warning it would cost jobs.
And he added business, not government, would drive the economic recovery: "We know that profit, wealth creation, tax cuts, enterprise, these are not dirty, elitist words – they're not the problem, they really are the solution."
Dismissing "Red Ed and his Blue Peter economy", Mr Cameron borrowed one of Mr Miliband's slogans to tell the conference: "I tell you what, Britain deserves better than that lot."
But the Conservative leader also sought to claim ownership of territory where his party has traditionally found it difficult to make inroads against Labour – even urging activists to applaud the "noble and vital calling" of social work.
The announcement on a crackdown on unemployment benefit builds on last year indicating the end of automatic access to housing benefit for under-25s.
He said: "Today it is still possible to leave school, sign on, find a flat, start claiming housing benefit and opt for a life on benefits.
"It's time for bold action here. We should ask, as we write our next manifesto, if that option should really exist at all."
Sheryll Murray, Conservative MP for South East Cornwall, said she welcomed the Prime Minister's pledge that under a Tory government "people are being afforded the opportunity to better themselves." Neil Parish, Tory MP for Tiverton and Honiton, said: "We got the strong sense that business is not bad, profit is not bad – and that means more jobs and better opportunities."