David Cameron and George Osborne have insisted they will stick to their spending cuts programme despite deepening economic gloom and renewed threats of co-ordinated strike action.
The Prime Minister used a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to stress that there are "no short-cuts" to a stronger economy.
In a separate speech at the Swiss ski resort, the Chancellor dismissed the "siren voices" urging the Government to pull back from the cuts.
Union officials met in London to discuss the prospect of industrial action over the pay freeze and job cuts in the public sector.
After growth figures earlier this week showed the economy shrank by 0.5% in the final quarter of 2010, research published on Friday showed a dramatic fall in consumer confidence.
Mr Cameron said: "It's going to be tough - but we must see it through. The scale of the task is immense, so we need to be bold in order to build this economy of the future."
"The British people know these things. They understand there are no short-cuts to a better future. Those who argue that dealing with our deficit and promoting growth are somehow alternatives are wrong. You cannot put off the first in order to promote the second."
Labour has accused the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government of sacrificing growth with overly aggressive spending cuts.
Mr Osborne said that heeding Labour's calls would lead to "disaster", telling a business leaders' lunch: "It's clear that for some that temptation remains - a bit more government spending here, pumping the bubble back up a bit there.
"We are absolutely clear - allowing ourselves to be seduced by those siren voices would only lead to even greater disaster down the line. Right now the right long-term choices for the economy are the difficult choices. Adjustment will not be without struggle."