British PM adviser "profoundly" sorry for recession comments

19th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

A senior adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron "profoundly" apologised after claiming in Friday's Telegraph newspaper that Britain had "never had it so good," despite the recent downturn.

David Young, who sits in British parliament's upper house, told the paper that "the vast majority of people in the country today... have never had it so good, ever since this recession - this so-called recession - started."

The Lord immediately wrote a letter of apology to the prime minister, and acknowledged his comments were "inaccurate and insensitive" in a statement.

A spokesman for the British leader said he was "very unimpressed" with the man he appointed as his enterprise adviser earlier this month.

The PM "believes at this difficult time politicians need to be careful with their choice of words - these words are as offensive as they are inaccurate," his spokesman said.

Young told the paper that low interest rates had made home-owners better off and that forecasted public sector job losses of 100,000 a year were "within the margin of error" when the whole 30 million-strong workforce was considered.

The former trade and industry minister said that people would look back upon the government's four year, 80-billion-pound (128.3-billion-dollar, 94-billion-euro), spending cuts and "wonder what all the fuss was about."

London Underground staff and journalists from the BBC have already staged strikes over funding reform and an estimated 50,000 students marched on London earlier in the month to protest against a threefold hike in tuition fees.

Young dismissed protesters as "people who think they have a right for the state to support them."

The businessman, who served in Margaret Thatcher's government, later retracted his remarks.

"I deeply regret the comments I made and I entirely understand the offence they will cause. They were both inaccurate and insensitive," his statement said.

"Millions of families face a very difficult and anxious future as we come to grips with the deficit. I should have chosen my words much more carefully.

"I have tonight written to the prime minister to apologise profoundly for what I said."

Young's words echo those of former prime minister Harold Macmillan, who famously said in 1957, as Britain began to pull itself out of post-war austerity, that "most of our people have never had it so good."

© 2010 AFP

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