U.K. Economy May Take Three Years to ‘Heal’, Clarke Says

Former U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Ken Clarke said the British economy may take another three years to “heal.”

Prime Minister David Cameron’s government, in which Clarke is a minister without portfolio, is reducing spending at a slower pace than most European countries in a strategy that will gradually restore growth to the economy, Clarke said in an interview with Sky News today.

“We’re cutting spending more slowly than almost any of the other western European sovereign debt-infected countries,” he said. “So long as that pace is good enough to heal the economy, get us back to growth as soon as we possibly can, that’s the way to proceed.”

The impact of the global financial crisis meant that process could be slow, Clarke said. Unlike many countries in Europe, the U.K. has retained investor confidence, he said.

“We’re bouncing along the bottom, not achieving normal growth because we’re in the middle of a financial crisis gripping the western world,” he said. “We’re coping and our head’s above the water but we’ve got one or two, three years even still to go. We’ve got to be allowed to do this job.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Penny in London at tpenny@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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