ATTACK: Business Secretary Vince Cable did little to dampen speculation he is keen to become LibDem leader. Picture: Getty
The Business Secretary also accused some Tories of finding the prospect of workers being sacked an "aphrodisiac" during a speech at the party's conference in Brighton.
Mr Cable also did little to dampen speculation he is keen to become LibDem leader and potentially enter a Coalition with Labour after the next General Election.
The cabinet minister used his speech to predict that no party would win outright at the 2015 General Election and warned of the dangers of rampant capitalism as he confirmed plans for a new "business bank".
But his most colourful language was reserved for the party with which he shares Government. He told delegates that the LibDems had "seen off the 'head bangers' who want a hire and fire culture and find sacking an aphrodisiac".
The Coalition Government has flirted with the idea of so-called no-fault dismissal.
Some Tory ministers are thought to be convinced that employment laws hold back businesses from expanding and predict the economy would grow if they made it easier for workers to be let go.
But Mr Cable insisted now was not the time "for the state to step back" as he confirmed a new £1 billion "business bank" will offer financing to small and medium-sized firms.
He also rebranded his "mansion tax" policy a "chateau tax" yesterday as he urged the French, as well as Tory "backwoodsmen", to adopt the plans to raise a levy on millionaires' homes.
Critics have expressed doubts that the new bank, which will not be up and running for at least another 18 months, could achieve results.
Paul Aitken, CEO of loans company Borro, said the Government needed to put its "money where its mouth is".
"The Business Bank should inject some hope into small and medium-sized businesses however, so many initiatives have been promised that have failed to meet the objectives set," he added.
The Institute of Economic Affairs think-tank warned the plans were "incoherent". But the CBI backed the proposals, which they said would help to deliver much-needed capital to growing businesses.
SNP Treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie called for Scotland to get its "fair share" of the new financing. He said a previous scheme to promote bank lending, Project Merlin, saw Scotland get just 4.5% of funds, far less than its 8.4% population would suggest.
He said: "This is a welcome but long overdue first step to start tackling the serious problems small businesses face in the teeth of the UK's economic crisis."
l Fellow LibDem minister David Laws criticised the party for "flirting" with other parties in a thinly veiled rebuke to Mr Cable. He said: "Flirting with somebody else in a public or private way is not sensible."
Contextual targeting label: