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After reiterating the 2014 withdrawal date for UK troops from Afghanistan, David Cameron called on the conference delegates to "show how profoundly grateful we are for everything they do".
David Cameron said: "You know our work experience programme, where we give young people the chance to work in a supermarket, a shop, an office?
Here's what one union official said about it. I quote: 'The scheme belongs back in the nineteenth century, along with Oliver Twist and the workhouse. It is nothing short of state sponsored slavery.'
What a snobbish, appalling attitude to the idea of work. We're not sending children up chimneys, were giving them a chance. What's cruel isn't asking something of people - it's when we ask nothing of them. Work isn't slavery, it's poverty that is slavery."
During his speech, David Cameron thanked all those responsible for the success London 2012, including "the zinger on the zip-wire", London Mayor Boris Johnson.
Speaking about the economic recovery David Cameron said: "I know you are asking whether the plan is working.
"And here's the truth: the damage was worse than we thought, and it's taking longer than we hoped.
"The world economy - especially in the Eurozone - has been much weaker than expected in the past two years.
"When some of our big trading partners like Ireland, Spain and Italy are suffering, they buy less from us.
"That hurts our growth and makes it harder to pay off our debts.
"But here is the crucial thing you need to know.
"Yes it's worse than we thought, yes its taking longer, but we are making progress."
Prime Minister David Cameron told the Conservative Party Conference that although it was "sink or swim, do or decline" time for Britain, "We will rise to the challenge".
Latest ITV News reports
ITV News got instant reaction to David Cameron's speech from voters in Corby where a by-election is due to be held in November.
The Prime Minister said the power of enterprise and aspiration would help overcome the economic crisis.