• France's news in English

Cameron starts new year with 'swipe at France'

AFP/The Local · 2 Jan 2014, 08:24

Published: 02 Jan 2014 08:24 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Prime Minister David Cameron boasted on Wednesday that Britain would become a post-recession flagship in 2014, in what was reported as a swipe at France's "disastrous" economic policies.

Writing in The Times newspaper, Cameron said Britain was a country on the rise as he warned against "the great mistakes that led up to the great recession - more borrowing, more spending and more debt".

Though Cameron did not name the "countries currently following that approach", The Times said it was a "swipe at France" and an "apparent gibe" at President François Hollande.

"Cameron's dig at France in warning over debt", said the front page.

His remarks "will be widely interpreted as an attack on Mr Hollande, who is under pressure as France's economy continues to struggle," the daily said.

Cameron wrote: "2014 is when we start to turn Britain into the flagship post-great recession success story.

"With record numbers of new businesses, we can be the enterprise capital of Europe.

"We must not resurrect the dangerous thinking that got us into the mess from which we are now recovering," the centre-right Conservative leader warned.

Blaming the previous centre-left Labour government, which lost power in 2010, he said the British economy contracted by 7.2 per cent during the economic downturn.

"If you doubt how disastrous a return to Labour-style economics would be, just look at countries that are currently following that approach," he wrote.

"They face increasing unemployment, industrial stagnation and enterprise in free-fall. The opposite of what's happening here.

"Our recovery is real, but it's also fragile, and there are more difficult decisions ahead. A return to that economic madness would devastate this country."

While Britain is predicting economic growth of 1.4 percent in 2013 and 2.4 percent in 2014, France's national economics statistics institute INSEE predicted growth of 0.2 percent for 2013, while the country's belt-tightening
budget is based on projected growth of 0.9 percent in 2014.

France's economy contracted 0.1 percent in the third quarter of 2013.

Socialist French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said last month that his government would not copy British economic policies, saying they had created poverty and inequality.

"I see a lot more poverty, more inequalities and if I was to look for a model to reform France I would want to save the French model reforming it and certainly not copy what others do, especially not if we're not talking about the best," Ayrault told French private TV network TF1.

Asked about cuts in public spending imposed by British Prime Minister David Cameron's government, Ayrault said "France is about to regain the level of national wealth it had before the 2008 crisis (which) Britain has still not

Story continues below…

"So the situation in Britain, with the mass poverty that it generated is far worse than in France."

In Britain, unemployment has hit a four-year low, at 7.4 percent. INSEE said the French unemployment rate rose by 0.1 percent in the three months to September to 10.5 percent.

Cameron said his government would reduce the national deficit further in 2014, cut income taxes, slash red tape for small businesses and invest in infrastructure projects.

He pledged to cap Britain's overall welfare budget.

"New year is a time for resolutions. Here's mine: to make 2014 the year in which Britain begins to rise," he said.

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Is Marks & Spencer to close Champs-Elysées store?
Photo: AFP

Is it goodbye to crumpets, jam, and English biscuits?

After Calais, France faces growing migrant crisis in Paris
Photo: AFP

While all the focus has been on the closure of the Jungle in Calais, France must deal with the thousands of migrants sleeping rough in Paris. And their numbers are growing.

Restaurant boss suspected of kidnapping Cannes millionaire
The Nice residence of the president of Cannes' Grand Hotel, Jacqueline Veyrac. Photo: AFP

A restaurant owner 'harbouring a grudge', apparently.

Le Thought du Jour
Vive le pont - The best thing about French public holidays
Photo: AFP

The UK might have guaranteed public holidays, but France has "les ponts".

What's on in France: Top things to do in November
Don't miss the chocolate fashion show in Lyon. Photo: Salon du chocolat

The autumn is in full swing in France, and there's plenty to do.

What Paris 'squalor pit' Gare du Nord will look like in future
All photos: Wilmotte et Assoicés

IN PICTURES: The universally accepted 'squalor pit of Europe' is finally getting a facelift.

Halloween: The ten spookiest spots in Paris
Is there really a ghost on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower? Photo: AFP

Read at your own peril.

Halloween holiday in France: Traffic nightmares and sun!
Photo: AFP

But it's great news for the country's beleaguered tourism industry.

French MPs vote to make Airbnb 'professionals' pay tax
Photo: AFP

Do you make a lot of money through Airbnb in France? You'll have to pay a share to the taxman in future.

France and Britain accused of abandoning Calais minors
Photo: AFP

Scores of young migrants are forced to sleep rough for a second night.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
Mouth fun? French words you just can't translate literally
How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Lonely Planet says Bordeaux is world's best city to visit
What rights to a future in France for Calais migrants?
Myth busting: Half of French adults are now overweight
How speaking French can really mess up your English
The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
jobs available