Obama: David Cameron’s austerity policies drove the UK into recession

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Former US President Barack Obama and former UK Prime Minister David Cameron at 2013 G8 Summit

Former US President Barack Obama has blamed David Cameron’s austerity policies for driving the UK into recession following the 2008 financial crash.

In his memoir ‘A Promised Land’, published yesterday (17 November), the former president said he liked Cameron as a person, but made no attempt to hide his disdain for his economic policies.

By contrast, he was highly complimentary about Cameron’s predecessor Gordon Brown, saying he was “fortunate to have him as a partner” during the early months of the crisis.

Mentions of UK leaders are outnumbered by references to Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Nicolas Sarkozy.

And the hallowed phrase is used only once, in a picture caption showing Obama and his wife Michelle meeting the Queen, who is said to “embody the special relationship” between the trans-Atlantic allies.

Mr Obama recalled how Mr Cameron was “a willing partner” on international issues from climate change to marriage equality and international aid.

But he left no doubt that he believes the coalition government led by Cameron from 2010 offered the wrong response to the global crash, by deploying cuts to reduce the deficit rather than spending to boost economic activity.

“Cameron hewed closely to free-market orthodoxy, having promised voters that his platform of deficit reduction and cuts to government services—along with regulatory reform and expanded trade—would usher in a new era of British competitiveness,” he wrote.

“Instead, predictably, the British economy would fall deeper into a recession.”

Obama, who had agreed with Mr Brown on the need for stimulus spending after the global financial crisis, said that the “stubborn embrace of austerity” by European leaders including Cameron and Merkel was “more than a little frustrating”.

 

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