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Cameron: Labour will wreck recovery

David Cameron has kicked off a crucial political year with a stark warning about the consequences of electing a Labour government.

In an apparent reference to France, the Prime Minister said the performance of other countries proved that Ed Miliband's approach would wreck the fledgling economic recovery.

He also highlighted the importance of the independence referendum being held in Scotland in September .

Writing in The Times, the Tory leader set out the battleground for the general election in 16 months' time.

He said 2014 would be the year when the government started to "turn Britain into the flagship post-Great Recession success story".

Taking on Labour's argument that economic growth is not feeding through to average workers' living standards, Mr Cameron stressed that the recovery "must work for everyone".

"For me, a Britain on the rise isn't just a country that punches above its weight in the world; it's a Britain where everyone who wants to work hard and get on can do so. A country in control of its destiny. A country where every person has the peace of mind to know they can make something of themselves and provide security for their family," he said.

"During the recession I insisted we were all in it together. As we recover, let me be clear: we are still all in it together."

Mr Cameron said the coalition would continue to increase the personal tax-free allowance this year, as well as keeping fuel duty down, capping welfare and controlling immigration.

He accused Labour of "arrogance and complacency", saying the party was still advocating the "great mistakes that led up to the Great Recession - more borrowing, more spending and more debt".

"If you doubt how disastrous a return to Labour-style economics would be, just look at countries currently following that approach," he went on. "They face increasing unemployment, industrial stagnation and enterprise in free fall. The opposite of what's happening here."

Although Mr Cameron did not name France, many Conservatives compare Labour's approach to that of President Francois Hollande.

The Prime Minister said the referendum will be the "biggest decision Scotland has ever been a sked to make".

"The outcome matters to all of us, wherever we live in the UK," he said. "This is not a vote for the next few years, but a vote that could change our country forever.

"Our family of nations is at its best when we work together with shared interest and common purpose.

"This year, let the message go out from England, Wales and Northern Ireland to everyone in Scotland we want you to stay - and together we can build an even stronger United Kingdom for our children and grandchildren."

Annabelle Ewing MSP, SNP, said: "David Cameron's new year message confirms that the No campaign is Tory-led and Westminster-led - but while the Prime Minister is keen for his government to be at the centre of the No campaign, he is too frightened to debate with First Minister Alex Salmond.

"David Cameron's New Year resolution should be to acquire some courage, and debate Mr Salmond face to face."

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