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Cameron: tackling debt will change our lives

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 07 June 2010

As David Cameron warns Britain's debt is "even worse" than the government thought, Channel 4 News FactCheck analyses his claim that more is spent on debt interest payments than on schools.

David Cameron

In a major speech on the economy the prime minister said the impact of the government spending cuts due to the debt problem will be "enormous" and could be felt for decades.

In a stark warning about the scale of Britain's debt Cameron said his government's proposed plans will "take the whole country with us" as the coalition begins to tackle the £156bn deficit. No one will escape the effects of the coalition's strategy to address the deficit, Cameron said in a bid to persuade people of the need for "difficult decisions".

The prime minister accused Labour of "reckless" spending and said the public sector had to be brought "back into line".

If drastic cuts were not implemented, the Treasury would be spending an annual £70bn on debt interest within five years - more than on schools in England, transport, and fighting climate change put together.

Speaking alongside new Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander, Cameron told an audience in Milton Keynes that now the Con-Lib coalition had been given access to the books, it was clear that the "overall scale of the problem is even worse than we thought".

FactCheck investigates David Cameron's claims
- Debt interest costs versus schools spending
- How many public sector jobs did Labour create?

"The decisions we make will affect every single person in our country. And the effects of those decisions will stay with us for years, perhaps decades, to come," he said.

"It is precisely because these decisions are so momentous, because they will have such enormous implications, and because we cannot afford either to duck them or to get them wrong that I want to make sure we go about the urgent task of cutting our deficit in a way that is open, responsible and fair," he said.

His comments come as ministers prepare for an emergency budget due to be delivered by Chancellor George Osborne on 22 June.

Osborne and Alexander will on Tuesday publish the principles meant to underpin both the budget and the spending review which will come later in the year.

Speaking today Prime Minister Cameron said that the UK's position was better than that of Greece, which has been left in financial and social turmoil in the wake of the credit crunch adding that his government is ready to support austerity measures.

"I want this Government to carry out Britain's unavoidable deficit reduction plan in a way that strengthens and unites the country," he said.

"Around the world people and their governments are waking up to the dangers of not dealing with their debts.

"And Britain must be part of that international mainstream."

Speaking at the weekend Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat deputy prime minister, insisted that the plans to cut spending would not mark a return to Thatcherism.

The government's new Office of Budgetary Responsibility is expected to downgrade Labour's forecast of 3 per cent growth next year.

Cameron had earlier suggested that high welfare and public sector pay bills were on the government's list for cuts. Child tax credits for better-off families are also expected to be curbed.

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