- David Cameron - Davos forum - economy - UK
Britain's Cameron to talk up 'success' of austerity
British Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to extol the virtues of budgetary discipline and claim the UK economy is on the mend as politics take centre stage at the World Economic Forum on Friday.
AP - In a nod to the post-crisis atmosphere, British Prime Minister David Cameron will tell the World Economic Forum that his country’s austerity measures are starting to bear fruit while U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will lay out his country’s strategy to help the economy.
Friday is setting out to be a decidedly political one for the Forum, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel – who has been at the heart of the past year’s struggle to save the euro – giving her own speech, too.
But Cameron, whose Conservative-led coalition government has imposed a series of tough measures – from tax hikes to budget caps – to reduce the country’s debt, will have center stage first.
“Already we’re making progress,” he said, in extracts released by his office ahead of the speech Friday to the annual gathering in the Swiss ski resort of Davos. “Not long ago we were heading toward the danger zone where markets start to question your credibility.”
Cameron said Britain’s triple ‘A’ credit rating had been saved and market interest rates had fallen.
“All this has happened not in spite of our plan to cut the deficit, but because of it. That’s why we must stick to the course we have set out.”
Still, unemployment has also risen and thousands will see some form of state benefit cut as the government tightens the belt on spending.
But that is a trade off many other European countries are increasingly resigned to as they try to juggle crippling levels of public debt in the wake of the global financial crisis.
The Davos meeting’s mood has improved since last year, but the 2,500 government and business leaders attending remained wary this week of the possibility that the global recession might return.
For Europe, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and Merkel will mark opposing poles on the spectrum of economic recovery when they take the stage in Davos Friday.
The woes of wealthy countries will contrast with the more upbeat tones in speeches by leaders of developing economies such as Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Mexico’s Felipe Calderon.
Not far from the conference venue social activists are planning to use the occasion of the Forum to name and shame the corporation with the worst social or ecological record in 2011. The same event will see the launch of OpenLeaks, billed as a rival to the secrecy-spilling website WikiLeaks.