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'We will not flinch on the deficit' - Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg is expected to tell delegates at the Welsh Liberal Democrat conference in Cardiff that the coalition government has slowed the pace of cuts in response to worsening economic conditions.

But he'll tell the conference that the UK Government must and will stick to its plans to reduce the deficit despite the decision by another international credit agency to downgrade the UK's credit rating.

I want to make one thing clear: We will not flinch on the deficit. But to be unflinching is not to be unthinking. And 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 judgement, not a science. And our plan has always allowed room for manoeuvre.

When economic circumstances around us deteriorated and UK growth forecasts suffered, voices on the right called for us to respond by cutting further and faster. But instead we took the pragmatic choice to extend the deficit reduction timetable.

Far from being rigid and dogmatic, we chose to meet our deficit reduction target on a slower timetable. By international comparison we are proceeding at a sensible pace.

The fiscal contraction this year and next year is less than under Obama’s deficit reduction plans, and, indeed, less than France and Spain’s plans too.

– Nick Clegg

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