Cameron pro­motes ap­pren­tice­ships amid aus­ter­ity doubts

The Pak Banker - - 6BUSINESS -

Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron will point to his youth-em­ploy­ment plans to­day to prove he’s picked the right course as opin­ion polls and some fel­low Tories ques­tion his eco­nomic lead­er­ship.

“Ap­pren­tice­ships are at the heart of our mis­sion to re­build the econ­omy, giv­ing young peo­ple the chance to learn a trade, to build their ca­reers, and cre­ate a truly world­class, high-skilled work­force that can com­pete and thrive in the fierce global race,” Cameron will say in Buck­ing­hamshire to­day, ac­cord­ing to re­marks re­leased in ad­vance by his of­fice.

The pre­mier is seek­ing to de­fend his eco­nomic strat­egy as the coun­try is on the brink of fall­ing into a triple-dip re­ces­sion and last month lost its Aaa credit rat­ing from Moody’s In­vestors Ser­vice.

Chan­cel­lor Ge­orge Os­borne is pre­par­ing to present his bud­get to Par­lia­ment on March 20. Lib­eral Demo­crat Busi­ness Sec­re­tary Vince Ca­ble is one of a num­ber of voices call­ing for the government to look at whether the bal­ance of aus­ter­ity ver­sus growth-stim­u­lat­ing mea­sures is right.

“To be in a po­si­tion where 10 days be­fore the bud­get the whole strat­egy is now be­ing openly de­bated in the Cab­i­net — you’ve got Boris John­son, the Mayor, the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund, Vince Ca­ble, even Theresa May to­day cast­ing doubt on the chan­cel­lor’s growth plans for the fu­ture, clearly there’s a prob­lem,” Ed Balls, the op­po­si­tion Labour Party’s trea­sury spokesman, told Sky News yes­ter­day.

“The mar­kets, like the coun­try, are cry­ing out for a plan for growth to get the econ­omy mov­ing be­cause they know with­out that it can’t work,” Balls said.

Bar­clays Plc said yes­ter­day that it would re­cruit a fur­ther 1,000 ap­pren­tices and an­nounced a new plan to sup­port 10,000 young peo­ple into work.

Bri­tain’s econ­omy shrank 0.3 per­cent in the fi­nal quar­ter of 2012, leav­ing it on the brink of a triple-dip re­ces­sion. Labour says the lack of growth is the re­sult of Os­borne’s spend­ing cuts to nar­row the bud­get deficit. Moody’s cut the U.K.’s top credit rat­ing last month, cit­ing the weak growth out­look and chal­lenges to fis­cal con­sol­i­da­tion.

A sur­vey by polling com­pany Opinium Re­search LLP for the Observer news­pa­per yes­ter­day found 58 per­cent of vot­ers be­lieve the U.K.’s aus­ter­ity pro­gram is harm­ing the econ­omy against 20 per­cent who think it is the cor­rect course. Opinium ques­tioned 1,950 vot­ers be­tween March 57 and weighted the replies to rep­re­sent na­tional opin­ion.

Cameron said March 7 there is “no alternative” to pur­su­ing aus­ter­ity mea­sures to cut the U.K.’s deficit. Yes­ter­day, the plan was backed by Deputy Prime Min­ster Nick Clegg, a Lib­eral Demo­crat, who said the government’s aus­ter­ity mea­sures and in­vest­ment in growth were pitched at the right level.

“To be un­flinch­ing is not to be un­think­ing,” Clegg told his party’s spring rally in Brighton, south­ern Eng­land. “The idea that the choice is be­tween a cruel and un­bend­ing Plan A and a myth­i­cal plan B is sim­ply not the case.” “Balancing the books is a judg­ment, not a sci­ence,” he said. “And our plan has al­ways al­lowed room for ma­neu­ver.”

Two days ago, Con­ser­va­tive Home Sec­re­tary Theresa May ap­peared to make a sub­tle bid for the party lead­er­ship if Cameron fails to win a ma­jor­ity at the 2015 elec­tion. She set out an eco­nomic plan to a con­fer­ence of grass­roots Con­ser­va­tive sup­port­ers in Lon­don and said the Tories must “gov­ern for the whole coun­try.”

She also ap­pealed to party tra­di­tion­al­ists by sug­gest­ing the U.K. with­draw from the Euro­pean Con­ven­tion on Hu­man Rights, an idea re­jected by Clegg yes­ter­day.

May’s in­ter­ven­tion un­der­lines the ques­tions Cameron is now fac­ing about his lead­er­ship fol­low­ing the party’s third-place rank­ing in a spe­cial elec­tion.

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