UK needs 10 years of austerity to recover - think-tank

By @ibtimes on

Britain needs 10 years of austerity to resolve its economic problems, independent think-tank Reform was quoted as saying in the Telegraph on Tuesday.

The London-based think-tank questioned the plans of the Conservative-led coalition to restore growth by creating a building boom, and urged Chancellor George Osborne to stick to his spending cuts, the Telegraph reported.

Slow growth is inevitable given the levels of debt in the economy, Reform was quoted as saying.

Even under the best economic scenario, the programme of austerity should be at least a 10-year project with the first parliamentary term achieving deficit reduction and the second consolidating the gains, Reform said, according to the Telegraph.

Reform said austerity was the new normal, adding that the government needed to avoid quick fixes and inconsistency so it can lure the business investment that will revitalise the country's economy, the newspaper reported.

An excessive emphasis on quick fixes -- prioritising immediate wants while postponing hard decisions -- is one reason the UK economy is in the mess it is in. Inconsistency creates uncertainty and uncertainty reduces firms' incentives to invest and expand, the think-tank was quoted as saying in the newspaper.

Osborne can do little to stimulate the recovery other than holding a strict line on fiscal discipline, simplifying taxes and regulations and maintaining consistent policies, the think-tank said according to the Telegraph.

Reform is a non-party think-tank which aims to set out a better way to deliver public services and economic prosperity.

(Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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