Fight through global economic storm, urges Cameron


Cameron: 'Our plan is right, our plan will work'

Prime Minister David Cameron has said the UK must not be "paralysed by gloom and fear" but show "some fight" to get through the global economic storm.

In his Tory conference speech he warned that the threat of global recession was as serious as it was in 2008.

But he urged a "can-do" attitude and the "spirit of Britain" to see the country through to better times.

Labour accused him of "squeezing living standards and choking off the economic recovery" as UK growth was downgraded.

Mr Cameron's speech to the Conservative Party conference in Manchester was delivered as official figures showed slower UK economic growth than had been thought and amid the worsening eurozone crisis.

Part of the speech was re-written at a late stage to remove a call for households to pay off credit card debts amid Downing Street fears Mr Cameron would appear out-of-touch with ordinary voters.

'Slowly, but surely'

During the 50-minute address, he told party activists that "nobody wants false optimism" about the state of the economy and acknowledged it was an "anxious" time for many people, with rising prices, job losses and a shortage of affordable housing.

"As we meet here in Manchester, the threat to the world economy - and to Britain - is as serious today as it was in 2008 when world recession loomed.

Start Quote

Let's summon the energy and the appetite to fight for a better future for our country, Great Britain”

End Quote David Cameron

"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.

But Mr Cameron rejected Labour calls for a slowdown in deficit reduction and to introduce short-term tax cuts to boost growth, telling party members: "Our plan is right and our plan will work.

"I know you can't see it or feel it yet. But think of it like this: the new economy we're building, it's like building a house. The most important part is the part you can't see - the foundations that make it stable.

"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."

Mr Cameron struck a self-consciously upbeat tone during much of the speech as he invoked what he called "the British spirit".

He said that "we don't have to accept that success in this century belongs to others" and urged the UK to "show the world some fight".

And he repeatedly stressed that only he could provide the leadership the country needs in "difficult times" - as demonstrated, he said, by his decision to go to war in Libya.

'Can-do optimism'

He rejected claims that the government was doing nothing to boost growth, saying the only way to deal with Britain's "debt crisis" was to pay off its debts.

He pointed to planning reforms and cutting red tape as examples of how the government was boosting growth - but vowed not to repeat the mistakes of the past on bank regulation when building the "new" economy.

Mr Cameron said it would be down to the British people - and British industry - to make growth happen: "Let's reject the pessimism. Let's bring on the can-do optimism. Let's summon the energy and the appetite to fight for a better future for our country, Great Britain."

And he had a tough message for critics of controversial planning reforms: "To those who just oppose everything we're doing, my message is this: Take your arguments down to the job centre. We've got to get Britain back to work."

Start Quote

Our economic difficulties have gone well past the point where can-do optimism can make a difference”

End Quote Brendan Barber TUC

There were few new policies - apart from an announcement that 90,000 young people would take part in the third year of the National Citizen Service and plans to increase the adoption rate for children in care.

And he got a round of applause for announcing a consultation on legalising gay marriage.

His jibe that his party does not "boo" its former leaders - a reference to the heckling of Tony Blair's name at Labour's conference last week - went down very well in the hall.

His vow to keep Britain out of the euro and avoid eurozone bail outs also got good rounds of applause - as did his promise never let Labour anywhere near the British economy again.

'Action not rhetoric'

He ended with a direct message to the nation: "We have the people, we have the ideas and now we have a government that's freeing those people, backing those ideas.

"So let's see an optimistic future. Let's show the world some fight. Let's pull together, work together. And together lead Britain to better days."

For Labour, shadow business minister Chuka Umunna said his party had set out a five-point plan to create jobs, while Mr Cameron continued to offer "nothing but platitudes and more of the same".

"This morning David Cameron was lecturing families about the need to pay off credit card bills. By the afternoon he had been forced to drop the offending language, but his policies are still squeezing living standards and choking off the economic recovery," he added.

Trades Union Congress general secretary Brendan Barber said: "Our economic difficulties have gone well past the point where can-do optimism can make a difference.

"We need policies for jobs and growth and help for families suffering the biggest fall in living standards in a generation."

Federation of Small Businesses chairman John Walker welcomed the prime minister's "vision of a deregulated economy" but said there must now be "clear action to match the rhetoric."



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  • rate this

    Comment number 468.

    yeh, right cameron et al have credit cards. millionaires with credit cards. is he for real???

  • rate this

    Comment number 467.

    So the big red pen has been wielded by the spin meisters at the Millbank Tower dream factory.

    Which out of touch Tory buffoon thought it would be a good idea to tell normal people such as Nurses and Teachers faced with a 2 year real term pay cut of 12% and an additional tax on public sector workers masquerading as pension contributions that now would be a good time to pay down the credit card!

  • rate this

    Comment number 466.

    @farkyss Please do not use sweeping generalisations to sum up the plight of those in debt. For some, it does amount to circumstance rather than greed. Oh and when you say no sympathy for those spending beyond their means, do you also include this country's government (past and present) in that? Whether you realise it or not, this is a global problem, not localised to us.

  • rate this

    Comment number 465.

    Maybe people should just cut their cards and make the banks eat their APR just like Greece? Or stop watching tv commercials that make you want stuff you can't afford. Working people are carrying the inflated salaries of government, repaying wasted money and facing cuts in core services. When will someone start talking about a fair sharing of repositioning the nation for growth and security?

  • rate this

    Comment number 464.

    You and your government Mr Cameron have no idea, either about how to get us out of this mess or what it is like for us individuals at the thin end and suffering - suffering to feed and clothe our children, fretting over every single penny and constantly agonizing about the future.

    You may sympathize, but you will never ever understand.

  • rate this

    Comment number 463.


    "But Thatcherism (AKA Blair/Brown ism) and extreme capitalism has and is failing, and it is socialism that has had to pick up the tab and bailout the failed banks... "

    The decision to bail out the banks was made by your capatilists (AKA Brown or so you state), so how do you conclude that the socialists came to our rescue?

  • rate this

    Comment number 462.

    He's such a wonderful and clever PM. Never gave it a thought that by reducing my credit card debt I would in turn reduce my overhaul debt. So here's me, thousands of pounds sitting under the bed doing nothing, now I can put it to good use. Again, thanks PM, you are the brightest of the bright.Oh,here's another one, put one foot infront of the other when walking forward otherwise you'll fall over.

  • rate this

    Comment number 461.

    The view I have made about Cameron is that he is leading an administration that Ted Heath would have been proud.

  • rate this

    Comment number 460.

    386.Green Future
    16 Minutes ago
    And so they should, it's a smart move. I like to see how people would survive if they had to contend with 15% base rates, which was the case in the early 80's & 90's.
    Plerase remind us of who was responsible for that and how it happened?

  • rate this

    Comment number 459.

    Due to my own personal circumstances, I realised that you can never plan (and save) for *all* unforeseen events.

    I -and I'm sure many others- are left unable to pay off our credit debts, although I daresay we would love to, rather than be chased by credit cards.

    Debt is frightening and stressful.

    Millionaires lecturing us on how we should be managing on meagre incomes is aloof and insulting.

  • rate this

    Comment number 458.

    Its a real pity that commentators cannot be objective. The international evidence is that borrowing is NOT the aswer. Spending should be encouraged, but NOT as a consequence of increased borrowing. And spending what you DO NOT HAVE will cause a problem.

    Now, tell someone who NEEDS to save for a pension to spend it instead. Go on!

  • Comment number 457.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 456.

    "If David Cameron does not realise that there is insufficient money in the economy to pay this debt off, then there is a good chance that Osborne doesn't realise this either."

    Gordon Brown may have let his obession with becoming Prime Minister and winning an election compromise his judgement, but I fear Cameron & Osborne haven't got any judgement to be compromised.

  • rate this

    Comment number 455.

    Not until the country and business stops paying big bonous for failuer will we get out of this rut. Also shops must do there bit by keeping the prices as low as possible remember it is just as good these days to make £900.000 Profit as it is £1,000,000. Read correctly and you woill see no lose just less profit. ,

  • rate this

    Comment number 454.

    Big difference between household and Govt spending. Households don't affect their income by varying spending. Governments do. As they spend less they reduce economic growth, and then their income reduces too. The Govt has missed its own growth forecast by miles, so get ready for it missing debt reduction targets too. What will their policy be then?

  • rate this

    Comment number 453.

    The worrying part is that we are being told to deal with our personal debt, but spend spend spend to get the country out of debt. I'd love to clamp down on higher credit limits for low incomes and pay day loans that amount to 2600 percent interest per year but the government needs people spending so it isn't going to happen any time soon.

  • rate this

    Comment number 452.

    Damnit, I had intended to just keep borrowing until my bank went bust. Oh, wait. Damnit, they went bust but they still want the money back. Even though they didn't have it to start with. Anyone got the number for the EU bailout fund manager? I live in the that enough?

  • rate this

    Comment number 451.

    Are people on here that stupid to think that spending money that they do not have or cannot pay back, is good for the economy? The utter nonsense like 'i thought we were supposed to be spending', really shows a complete lack of understanding of this Economic Crisis. Sound advise, get your own house in order and pay off debt where you can

  • rate this

    Comment number 450.

    Incredible how many people still believe the debt crisis has anything to do with the borrowing of ordinary citizens. Too many gullible fools who fall for the same banker tricks over and over. People just can not grasp that the total debt of every family is trivial compared to Government debt and taking money out of the economy to pay debt would actually make things much worse. Elephant!

  • rate this

    Comment number 449.


    I remember reading an article saying how the average Brit had four times more credit card debt than the average European back in 2006/7.

    Funnily enough Germany was polled as one of the lowest.

    Is this be because German children are taught about life structure and economics at school, whilst a Brit child picks up on "insurance is a scam" and "don't get a pension, it's a con".


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