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Cable sobre el encuentro del embajador en Londres con el gobernador del Banco de Inglaterra

Durante un encuentro en febrero del año pasado, el gobernador del banco de Inglaterra cuestiona la capacidad de los 'tories'

ID: 249236
Date: 2010-02-17 17:18:00
Origin: 10LONDON364
Source: Embassy London
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN
Dunno:
Destination: VZCZCXRO5961
PP RUEHAG RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHLO #0364/01 0481718
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 171718Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4989
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 LONDON 000364

SIPDIS
NOFORN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/16/2020
TAGS: ECON, EINV, PGOV, UK
SUBJECT: BANK OF ENGLAND GOVERNOR: CONCERN ABOUT RECOVERY,
CONSERVATIVES' READINESS, AND THE UK IN THE EU

Classified By: Ambassador Louis B. Susman for reasons 1.4 b and d.

1. (C/NF) Summary. Reining in the UK's debt will be the
greatest challenge facing the party that wins the expected
May 6 general election, Bank of England Governor Mervyn King
told the Ambassador in a February 16 meeting. While neither
party has adequately detailed plans to reduce the deficit,
King expressed great concern about Conservative leaders' lack
of experience and opined that Party leader David Cameron and
Shadow Chancellor George Osborne have not fully grasped the
pressures they will face from different groups when
attempting to cut spending. King also raised concerns about
the global economic recovery, arguing that global growth in
2010 would be anemic and a double-dip recession remained a
possibility. Greece's profound economic troubles will trigger
a further consolidation in power within the euro-zone, with
Germany and France likely to impose the right to scrutinize
if not exercise some control over Greek government accounts
in return for an implicit or explicit guarantee, he
predicted. The UK has been on the sidelines in the debate
over Greece and could have less influence in the EU, as
Germany and France will seek greater political cohesion in
the euro-zone in the aftermath of the Greek crisis, he
stated. End Summary

Bleak UK and Global Economic Picture
------------------------------------

2. (C/NF) For the next ten months, the UK faces the challenge
of adopting deficit-reduction measures, controlling inflation
and addressing rising unemployment. The deficit is expected
to reach 12.6 percent of GDP in 2010. Inflation for the
twelve-month period, December 2009 to December 2010, reached
3.5 percent, primarily a result of the return of the VAT rate
to 17.5 percent and higher energy prices. King predicted that
inflation would drop to two percent this year, since energy
prices are expected to stabilize, with oil price per barrel
remaining at or near USD 70. The UK also likely faces rising
unemployment. Businesses will cut jobs faster this year and
eliminate many part-time positions, as employers realize that
economic recovery will be a long, drawn-out process, said
King. The U.S. already has gone through this pain of rising
unemployment, and saw in the last quarter of 2009, a rise in
productivity. The UK - and Europe in general - has not gone
through this restructuring, and productivity fell throughout
2009.

3. (C/NF) The global picture was also worrisome, commented
King. At the February 6 G7 meeting in Iqualit, Canada, the
German and Japanese Finance Ministers, raised concerns about
weak domestic consumption and the slow recovery of export
trade, King stated. While China's domestic spending,
primarily on its large infrastructure projects, helped
ameliorate the worst of the global economic crisis, there has
been no noticeable change in domestic consumption. China's
consumers will not lead economic growth, he said. Given these
factors, as well as the high U.S. unemployment and Europe's
expected rising unemployment, it was hard to be optimistic
about recovery in 2010, King argued, and noted a double-dip
recession was still a possibility.

Conservatives - Not Prepared
----------------------------

4. (C/NF) Conservative leaders David Cameron and George
Osborne do not fully grasp the pressures they will face when
attempting to cut back on spending, when "hundreds of
government officials will make pleas of why their budgets
should not be reduced," stated King. In recent meetings with
them, he has pressed for details about how they plan to
tackle the debt, but received only generalities in return.
Both Cameron and Osborne have a tendency to think about
issues only in terms of politics, and how they might affect
Tory electorability. King also raised concerns that Osborne's
dual roles as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer but also as
the Party's general election coordinator could create
potential problems in the approach on economic issues.

5. (C/NF) King also expressed concern about the Tory party's
lack of depth. Cameron and Osborne have only a few advisors,
and seemed resistant to reaching out beyond their small inner
circle. The Cameron/Osborne partnership was not unlike the
Tony Blair/Gordon Brown team of New Labour's early years,
when both worked well together when part of the opposition
party, but fissures developed - for many reasons - once
Labour was in power. Similar tensions could arise if Cameron
and Osborne disagreed on how to handle the deficit, and the
lack of depth in their inner circle, would aggravate the
situation.

LONDON 00000364 002 OF 002



Greece's Problems Will Re-Define Euro-Zone
------------------------------------------

6. (C/NF) Germany and France will ultimately have no choice
but to offer explicit guarantees of Greek debt, argued King.
The euro-zone could not risk a Greek default and euro
devaluation would not be an acceptable political option for
Germany or France. Germany and France will likely, as a
condition of any guarantee, require the ability to scrutinize
if not exercise some control over the Greek budget.
Longer-term, the drive for greater political cohesion will
accelerate. The EU's one single success was the monetary
union, and now that success has been undermined. Leaders in
Germany and France have recognized that allowing monetary
union to happen without corresponding political cohesion was
a mistake and one that needed to be rectified, King opined.

7. (C/NF) The euro-zone's move to greater political cohesion
could poise some disadvantages for the UK, King speculated.
During the February 16 ECOFIN meeting, euro-zone governments
politely listened to Chancellor Darling when he commented on
the situation in Greece, but he was not invited to attend
internal discussions since the UK is not part of the
euro-zone. It would be incumbent for the UK to demonstrate
that it has something meaningful to say and to be
constructively engaged in the EU, should this greater
political cohesion among the euro-zone governments occur,
commented King.









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