Wednesday AM June 23rd, 2010

The British Consul-General stationed in Houston says the new coalition government is compelled to put together an emergency budget to tackle the country’s record debts. Ed Mayberry reports.

Paul LynchBritain’s Treasury Chief George Osborne has announced the toughest cuts to public spending in decades, as well as a rise in the VAT, or Value-Added Tax from 17.5 to 20 percent.  Paul Lynch is the UK’s consul-general in Houston.

“The reasons why the government has felt it necessary to put together an emergency budget are quite clear: we were in the longest and deepest recession since the second World War, the government had inherited huge levels of debt—the highest deficit in Europe, apart from Ireland.  And so it’s an emergency situation, and tackling this is the single greatest economic challenge that the government faces.”

The coalition government even got an agreement from Queen Elizabeth to accept a freeze on her support from taxpayers.

“There is a recognition across the country (that)w we’re in extraordinary times, extraordinary economic times, and an emergency budget was the right thing to do.  Some things get implemented straight away–some of the taxes rises—and some are put off to allow some time for implementation.  But essentially it all becomes government policy and the law of the land from today.” 

The consul-general is traveling to London for an annual meeting of the heads of posts from around the world, normally held at the beginning of the year, but delayed until after the May 6th election.  It’s a chance for the foreign secretary to meet all his ambassadors and consul-generals from around the world.