Major hails economic 'successes'

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JOHN MAJOR yesterday led a concerted effort by the Cabinet to boost confidence in recovery with a bullish declaration that 'people simply do not realise the transformation that is taking place in the British economy'.

The Prime Minister used a speech at St Ives in Cambridgeshire on manufacturing industry to declare that: 'It is vital that they can take the opportunities that this transformation has to offer. We should be more self-confident and we should say more about our successes.'

He was speaking as John MacGregor, Secretary of State for Transport, said at Pulham Market in Norfolk: 'All of the fundamental elements necessary for a steady and sustained recovery are in place - low interest rates, higher productivity and falling unemployment.'

Mr Major, touring his Huntingdon constituency, said he was 'delighted' that the ceasefire in Bosnia appeared to be holding. He will seek to reassure President Yeltsin at a meeting in Moscow on Tuesday that the Nato allies and Russia are on 'the same side' in seeking peace in Bosnia.

Meanwhile, Mr Major has delivered a calculated snub to Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the extreme right-wing Russian MP, by ensuring that he does not meet him during his trip to Moscow next week. Mr Zhirinovsky has been left off an invitation list to representatives of all Russian political parties for a lunchtime reception at the British embassy.

Mr Major is expected to stress to President Yeltsin during his visit that the 10-day deadline imposed on Serbian forces and designed to lift the siege of Sarajevo does not mean that the Western allies have come down on one side in the current conflict.

Downing Street was also emphasising yesterday that the threatened sanction of air strikes is in keeping with UN resolutions which were agreed last year by the Security Council, which includes Russia.