Darling: UK recovery ‘around the corner’

Alistair Darling said he was “confident” of a return to growth and a
sustainable recovery, despite ongoing risks to the global economy.

Ahead of a meeting of the G20 ministers next month, Mr Darling wrote in a
Guardian newspaper article that the Government was prepared to spend
“whatever we can” to tackle recession and soaring unemployment.

Mr Darling also said Britain was ready to commit £6.8 billion to the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) as part of a co-ordinated response to the
global financial crisis.

World leaders said in April that they would treble the IMF’s resources to $750
billion (£463 billion) to help support the emerging markets most hit by the
recession. The UK and Europe should take the lead in helping meet the
target, according to the Chancellor.

“I am determined the recovery will be sustainable and lasting, that no-one
should be consigned to the scrapheap, like so many were in the recessions of
the ’80s and ’90s,” wrote Mr Darling.

He added: “My priorities are clear: keeping people in work, getting credit
flowing and getting public spending on a sustainable footing in the medium
term. In the past year, we have committed an additional £5 billion to make
sure that we don’t leave people to languish on the dole. And in the run-up
to the pre-Budget report, I will consider further measures.”

However, he reiterated that the UK faced “difficult choices” in ensuring the
Government remained on track with its aim to halve the ballooning public
deficit within four years.

His comments follow official figures on Friday which revealed that the economy
contracted by less than originally feared in the second quarter – down 0.7%
against the first estimate of a 0.8% decline. But there are fears of a price
shock for consumers and businesses as tax breaks and support measures come
to an end.

A 2p rise in fuel duty is due on Tuesday, while there will be a return to
17.5% VAT in the new year, as well as the end of a stamp duty holiday
looming large and an expected closing of the car scrappage scheme within
months.

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