LONDON (AP) — Britain’s prime minister says the Summer Olympics and the queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration will raise the country’s profile on the international stage, but that 2012 will be a tough year.
In fact, David Cameron said he sympathizes with citizens “who are worried about what else the year might bring.”
“There are fears about jobs and paying the bills,” Cameron said Monday in a video message meant to mark the new year. “I know how difficult it will be to get through this — but I also know that we will.”
Rising joblessness and the European financial crisis have weighed heavily on Cameron’s government, which came to power in 2010 on the back of promises to control the country’s debt and restore economic growth.
Both goals have been thrown into doubt over the course of 2011.
The Bank of England has forecast little or no growth over the next few months, and rating agency Moody’s recently warned that Britain’s cherished triple A credit rating is at risk, despite determined and controversial efforts to slash the country’s public spending.
And Britain isn’t even one of the hard-pressed users of the euro currency.
Cameron said that 2012 will be the year his government “does everything it takes to get our country up to strength,” promising new but unspecified curbs on what he called the excesses of Britain’s financial industry.
But he said the Olympics, which begin in July, and the Diamond Jubilee in June, marking 60 years of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, will raise Britain’s profile abroad.
“It gives us an extraordinary incentive to look outward, look onwards and to look our best: To feel pride in who we are and what — even in these trying times — we can achieve.”
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