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British Chancellor claims success of economic policies

10-04-2010 11:49 BJT

LONDON, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- British Chancellor George Osborne, the country's finance minister, on Saturday robustly defended the new coalition government's economic policies and claimed they had already seen success after only five months.

Osborne, the Conservative chancellor in the new Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition, said in his first interview since the summer that "the British economy is on the mend."

The coalition formed on May 11 in the wake of the inconclusive May 6 general election, which saw the ruling Labor party defeated after 13 years in office, and set as its principal task the cutting of the record public sector spending deficit, which stands at 153 billion pounds (240 billion U.S. dollars) for 2010-11.

Osborne aims to cut this by 111 billion pounds (about 166 billion dollars) in four years, the largest cut since the Second World War. To do that a mixture of budget cuts and tax rises are planned, with most government departments, except health and overseas aid, ordered to find cuts of up to 40 percent.

Osborne stressed that Britain, which only came out of recession in the final quarter of 2009 after six straight quarters of decline, must earn its way in the world. He said in his interview with The Daily Telegraph: "The steps we have taken have provided a platform for stable sustainable growth and that is a huge achievement."

He added: "In the end, Britain has to understand that a lot has changed in the last two years. There has been a massive transfer of economic power in this world to the East. The world does not owe Britain a living. We have to go out there and earn our way."

The Conservative party is set to hold its annual conference in the midlands industrial city of Birmingham in the coming week, and Osborne is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech on Monday, in which he will defend government economic policy against criticism from part of his own party that he has increased taxes.

He said that his decision to put up Value Added Tax, a sales tax, was driven by the need to bring stability to the government balance sheet the new coalition government inherited. He said: "We have inherited probably the worst economic situation of any government but we have rolled up our sleeves and got on with the job of sorting it out."

He added: "I believe in lower taxes. They are a good thing and I would dearly love to give back people more of their money and I never forget, by the way, that it is their money. It's not the Government's money, it is the people's money."

Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: Xinhua

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