LONDON – As the world recovers from the Great Recession, the question facing advanced economies is this: How do we deliver sustainable growth and rising prosperity for our citizens?
In Britain, we have an economic plan that delivers economic stability, deals decisively with our record budget deficit, opens the country to trade and investment, and addresses the structural weaknesses that are holding us back as a place to do business and create jobs. Of course, every country is different – and the policy prescriptions for each need to recognize that. But the lesson from the British experience is that the only way to deliver prosperity – to win the so-called “global race” – is by tackling problems head-on.
When the coalition government came to office three years ago, the United Kingdom’s deficit was forecast to be higher than that of any other country in the G-20, at more than 11% of GDP. Unlike the United States, we did not have the benefit of issuing the world’s major reserve currency. And our proximity to the eurozone, engulfed in a sovereign-debt crisis, meant that restoring fiscal credibility and preventing a spike in market interest rates was our most urgent priority.
So, over the last three years, we have been working through a steady deficit-reduction plan. As a result, we have achieved a larger reduction in the structural deficit than any other major advanced economy.