Prime Minister David Cameron uses his New Year’s message to warn next year will be “difficult” – but insists Britain has a “really bright future” ahead. Julian Rush looks at what is to come in 2011.
In his New Year’s message, Mr Cameron said the UK would be “one of the international success stories” of the new decade, once the economic problems had been dealt with. And he stressed that the spending cuts being made by the Coalition were not done out of “ideological zeal”, but to deal with the hole in Britain’s finances.
2011 is going to be a difficult year, as we take hard but necessary steps to sort things out. Prime Minister David Cameron
He said: “The national interest dictates that we do the right thing, which is to act, not the easy thing, which would be to delay. In doing so, we should be clear: Britain has a really bright future to look forward to.
“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.”
But charities have warned that the cuts could threaten another key aim of Mr Cameron’s Government, establishing the concept of “Big Society“.
David Robinson, the co-founder of charity Community Links – described by Mr Cameron as “one of Britain’s most inspiring community organisations” – warned that cuts were causing “wobbling” in the sector.
In an open letter sent to Mr Cameron and published in the Guardian newspaper, he wrote: “Charities like us are surely the bedrock of the Big Society, and we are wobbling. Cuts in public expenditure in many areas of our work, coupled with major changes in Legal Aid and New Deal, mean the future of much of our work is uncertain and potentially at risk.”
David Cameron says it will be difficult - have a look at some other predictions for 2011
“We have a credible plan for restoring confidence in our economy. But we have to see it through. A lot of the heavy lifting will happen in 2011,” he said.
“Each and every minister in this Government is acutely aware that the plans we have in place are tough, in fact incredibly difficult, but we are clear that the alternative – indecision and delay – would mean taking unacceptable risks with our economy, our country and our people.”
Following a string of Liberal Democrat ministers telling undercover reporters what they really thought about the Coalition, Mr Cameron acknowledged that working together was “not always straightforward” but said both parties were committed to working in the national interest.
“We don’t agree on everything. We never said we would. But I believe we are bringing a new style of Government,” he said.
By nature I am an optimist – about people, about human nature, and, above all, about the future of our great country. Prime Minister David Cameron.
He said the Coalition would approach the “difficult year” ahead with the same positive frame of mind as it had approached co-operation.
“By nature I am an optimist – about people, about human nature, and, above all, about the future of our great country,” said Mr Cameron.
“If we sort out our problems, and make the most of our many opportunities, we can be one of the international success stories of the new decade.”
Mr Cameron also used his New Year’s message to warn that the terrorist threat to the UK was “as serious as it ever has been”, and police and security officers were working “around the clock” to combat the threat.
“For many years now we have been aware of the threat we face from international terrorism. Recent arrests show that that threat is still very much with us. And it is as serious today as it ever has been,” he said.
“As we enter the New Year our police officers, together with their colleagues in the security and intelligence agencies, are working round the clock to foil plots that would do terrible harm to our people and our economy.”