Britain's Conservatives were set to start their party conference Sunday, with party leader David Cameron and other top leaders focusing on the economy and mapping out how they would handle it differently than the Labour government, reported dpa.
In remarks before the meeting in Birmingham, Cameron promised he would set out an "alternative" to the government's economic policies and that he backed "short term" action to protect peoples' savings and give the Bank of England powers to rescue failing institutions.
Amid reports of an impending nationalization of the ailing bank Brandford and Bingley, he declined to comment, but according to Press Association he added: "In the short term we should legislate to show we are going to protect deposits and savings."
The Tory conference in Birmingham comes amid indications that the Conservatives' lead over Labour is declining in the wake of last week's Labour parley in which Prime Minister Gordon Brown gave a strong speech to shore up his party's fortunes.
The Sunday Telegraph published a survey by the BPIX polling institute which showed the Conservatives now with a 12-point lead over Labour. In August, the lead had been 23 points.
The BPIX poll showed the Conservatives wioth 43 per cent backing, to 31 per cent for Labour and 17 per cent for the Liberal Democrats. The latest data indicated that Labour had received a boost since its party conference.
On a personal level, the BPIX poll showed that voters narrowly preferred Brown and Labour chancellor Alistair Darling over their Conservative counterparts, Cameron and George Osborne, by 36 to 35 per cent, respectively.
The BPIX poll took place between September 24 and 26, with 2,020 adults questioned.