UK's Cameron: Economic crisis as serious as 2008

AP News
Posted: Oct 05, 2011 11:24 AM
UK's Cameron: Economic crisis as serious as 2008

British Prime Minister David Cameron warned on Wednesday that Europe's deepening debt crisis poses a threat to the world economy as serious as the 2008 credit crunch.

In a somber speech at an annual convention of his Conservative Party, Cameron vowed to stand by Britain's sharp austerity measures _ despite the county's meager growth _ and insisted the U.K. would not help fund "endless bail-outs" of its tottering European neighbors.

"The threat to the world economy _ and to Britain _ is as serious today as it was in 2008 when world recession loomed," Cameron told delegates in the northern England city of Manchester.

"The Eurozone is in crisis, the French and German economies have slowed to a standstill, even mighty America is being questioned about her debts," he said.

Cameron made his keynote address after Britain's Office for National Statistics said the country's economy grew by a weaker than expected 0.1 percent in the second quarter, fueling worries over sluggish growth.

"We need to tell the truth about the overall economic situation," Cameron told delegates. "People want to know why the good times are so long coming."

He insisted that Britain's program of 81 billion pounds ($126 billion) of public spending cuts, which are seeing thousands of public sector jobs lost and welfare payments axed, would eventually return the country to prosperity.

"Slowly but surely we're laying the foundations for a better future. But this is the crucial point _ it will only work if we stick with it," Cameron said.

Cameron also took on critics, including many within his party, who demand cuts to Britain's 8.4 billion pound ($13.2 billion) annual aid budget. Aid spending and health are the only two sectors spared from Cameron's austerity drive.

"I really believe, despite all our difficulties, that this is the right thing to do," Cameron insisted. "That it's a mark of our country, and our people, that we never turn our backs on the world's poorest."