British Treasury Chief Alistair Darling on Tuesday hit back at European Union calls for more aggressive deficit cuts, saying such moves would risk tipping Britain back into recession.
Responding to reports that the European Commission will tomorrow recommend that Britain move more quickly to reduce its ballooning budget deficit, he said the EU's recommendation would take 25 billion pounds ($37.92 billion) out of the British economy.
It would also risk "seriously derailing the economy and tipping our economy back into recession," Darling said after a meeting of European finance ministers.
Darling said Britain "notes with great interest" the EU advice "but we make our own decisions in the U.K. and as long as we are in government and I am the Chancellor that will remain the position."
The size of the deficit has been a major point of difference between Darling's Labour party and the opposition as the two lock horns before a national election.
The Conservatives were quick to latch onto the EU criticism as a chance to attack the government.
Darling, due to publish his pre-election budget March 24, said his 2008 plan to more than half the deficit in four years is "most aggressive plan of any advanced economy."
Under plans submitted to the EU commission, Britain will reduce its deficit from 12.6 percent of gross domestic product in the 2009-2010 fiscal year to 5.7 percent of GDP in 2013-2014 and 4.6 per cent in 2014-15.
The commission is expected to make a formal recommendation for faster budget cuts on Wednesday. Reports say the EU wants Britain to reduce its deficit to 3 percent of GDP by 2015.
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