'No other way' than cuts to fix economy: British PM

6th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

British Prime Minister David Cameron defended plans for stinging public sector cuts in a major speech Wednesday, saying there was "no other responsible way" of sorting out the nation's finances.

In his first address as premier to his Conservative party's conference, Cameron said he knew that Britons were "anxious" about the cuts, full details of which will be unveiled in a spending review in two weeks.

But he insisted there was no alternative due to the serious state of the public finances inherited by his coalition government when it took power in May.

"I know how anxious people are," he told the conference in Birmingham, central England.

"'Yes,' they say, 'of course we need to cut spending. But do we have to cut now and by this much? Is there another way?'

"I wish there was another way. I wish there was an easier way. But I have to tell you: there is no other responsible way."

The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition inherited a record deficit of 154.7 billion pounds (188 billion euros, 242 billion dollars) from the outgoing Labour government led by Gordon Brown.

Cameron said Britain would spend 43 billion pounds on debt interest payments alone this year.

The government's public sector cuts are expected to average around 25 percent over four years in many departments and Cameron's plans have prompted threats of co-ordinated strike action by Britain's trade unions.

© 2010 AFP

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