Eurozone resolution would help UK, says William Hague


Nothing could do more to kick-start a UK economic recovery than an end to the eurozone crisis, Foreign Secretary William Hague will tell business leaders.

The problems now engulfing the single currency had been "obvious from the beginning" but sorting them out was crucial to British interests, Mr Hague will say.

Addressing the CBI annual dinner in London, he will also predict that coalition economic policies would prove as influential as Margaret Thatcher's 1980s privatisations and trade union reforms.

"The eurozone is facing profound challenges - many of which were obvious from the beginning - now exacerbated by weak growth and excessive debt," he is due to say.

"Commodity price shocks are leading to rising costs and dampening recovery.

"And we are starting to see the creeping fingers of protectionism in parts of the world - picking at the edges of the free and open markets on which the international economy depends.

"This is what we are up against as a country.

"No single event would provide a bigger boost to the British economy in the short term than the resolution of the eurozone crisis and a return to growth in Europe.

"And the crucial ingredients of achieving that growth are fewer barriers to business, more free trade, less intrusive regulation and the understanding that governments have never and will never create wealth solely through their own activities."

Setting out the Government's actions to deal with the "deep underlying problems" in the British economy, he will draw a direct comparison with the Thatcherite reforms.

"We are reducing the deficit and bringing public finances under control, creating a tax system that fosters growth and is attractive to business, reducing corporation tax to among the lowest in the G20 and lifting two million people out of tax altogether, introducing a welfare system that encourages people into work and an education system that gives people the skills they need to succeed.

"By doing these things, we are turning around the fortunes of our economy for the long term.

"It is my firm belief that in the 2020s these reforms will be seen as having been as important to our country as the trade union reforms and privatisations of the 1980s."