Eurozone crisis accelerates need for British cuts: Clegg

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A sharp deterioration in the eurozone economy has forced Britain to slash its record public deficit faster than anticipated, Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said on Sunday.

Britain's new coalition government will on Monday outline how it intends to immediately begin cutting state spending by 6.0 billion pounds (6.9 billion euros, 8.7 billion dollars).

Ahead of the country's general election earlier this month, Clegg had publicly opposed plans by the Conservatives -- the party with whom his Liberal Democrats now share power -- to begin wielding the axe as soon as this year.

But in an interview with the BBC on Sunday, Clegg said "we need to show at a more accelerated timetable than I'd initially thought that we're going to get to grips with this great black hole in our public finances."

Clegg added: "I don't think anybody could have anticipated then (before the election) quite how sharply the economic conditions in the eurozone would have deteriorated and that the need to show that we were trying to get to grips with this suddenly became much greater.

"I don't think anybody could have predicted... the situation in Greece would have had this knock-on effect which has created immense anxiety on our European doorstep -- the European Union market to which we export the vast majority of our services and goods."

© 2010 AFP

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