Cabinet member sees gloom in Britain

Feb. 10, 2009 at 7:52 AM

LONDON, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- A close confidant of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the global recession was evolving into the worst downturn in 100 years.

"I think this is a financial crisis more extreme and more serious than that of the 1930s," said Ed Balls, Britain's secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, The Times of London reported Tuesday.

"The reality is that this is becoming the most serious global recession for, I'm sure, over 100 years as it will turn out," he said.

The comment from an official as high ranking as a British Cabinet member stirred response from opposition party members.

Shadow Chancellor George Osborne said the comments were "a very worrying admission from a Cabinet minister," The Times said.

"We are being told (the downturn) will last for over a decade, far longer than Treasury forecasts predict,'' he said.

Liberal Democrats' Treasury spokesman Vince Cable said "government ministers are oscillating between complacent optimism and this doom-laden picture of Armageddon."

"Surely, the truth lies between the two," he told The Times.

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