Britain faces a year of ‘heavy lifting’ to get the budget deficit under control, David Cameron warned last night.
But he acknowledged it would be a ‘difficult year’ for many people.
Mr Cameron also hinted that the Government would take fresh steps to crack down on Islamic extremism in the wake of a string of alleged terror plots around the world involving people who have spent time in Britain.
He said: ‘We must ask ourselves as a country how we are allowing the radicalisation and poisoning of the minds of some young British Muslims who then contemplate and sometimes carry out acts of sickening barbarity.’
On the economy, he insisted that Britain has a ‘really bright future’ provided the budget deficit left by Labour is tackled.
But he acknowledged that ‘a lot of the heavy lifting will happen in 2011’, adding: ‘2011 is going to be a difficult year, as we take hard but necessary steps to sort things out.
‘The actions we are taking are essential because they are putting our economy and our country on the right path. Together we can make 2011 the year that Britain gets back on its feet.’
The PM said that without the tough decisions made by the Coalition, Britain could be facing a similar fate to Greece and Ireland, which have needed humiliating bailouts to stave off economic collapse.
But Mr Cameron said the disastrous legacy left by Labour had forced ministers to take decisive action.
He insisted the cuts were not being imposed for ‘ideological’ reasons, adding: ‘We have been living seriously beyond our means. We have to sort this out. Every sensible person knows this.
The national interest dictates that we do the right thing, which is to act, not the easy thing, which would be to delay.’
After the embarrassment of a string of Liberal Democrat ministers, including Business Secretary Vince Cable, being secretly recorded criticising Tory colleagues, Mr Cameron acknowledged that governing in coalition was ‘not always straightforward’.
He added: ‘We don’t agree on everything. We never said we would.’
But he insisted that the ‘more collegiate approach’ was in the interests of the country.
The Prime Minister said the creation of jobs in the economy was ‘uppermost in my mind as we enter the New Year’ – with experts warning that unemployment will rise.
But he said it was entrepreneurs and business that created genuine jobs – with the Government only able to provide a competitive framework.
Mr Cameron added that he wanted to tackle barriers to small business, including the unwillingness of the banks to lend, to ‘create a new economic dynamism’.
And he pledged that the Coalition would do more to improve social mobility, which he said had ‘stalled’ under Labour.
He said Britain was ‘shamed’ by the fact that bright children from poor homes do worse in this country than in many others.
Source: The Mail