PM plays down embarrassing moment
David Cameron has suffered an embarrassing moment when his Indonesian host suggested that boosting government spending and preventing companies laying off staff was the best way to fix a wrecked economy.
The comments by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono came at a joint press conference in Jakarta as Mr Cameron continued his trade mission in South East Asia.
Mr Yudhoyono insisted he was not trying to tell other countries what to do, and every government had to find their own solutions. But he proceeded to set out an approach that seemed to contradict key policies being pursued by the coalition.
"In 1998 our economy was devastated. It collapsed. We learnt a lot. We had major reforms," he said.
"We did many things. So 10 years later, when the economy was impacted, we were united - the government, private sector, regions.
"We also developed policies - fiscal policies, monetary policies - that protected us. We should prevent (companies) conducting lay offs.
"We should safeguard unemployment levels. We know the community was impacted by this. We provided social assistance, we provided stimulus so that (people) can buy purchases.
"It seemed to work for Indonesia. It may not work in other countries. What is important is we have to prevent lay-offs, we must ensure people can buy, we must ensure industries can produce and we must make the government be able to make the right fiscal and monetary policy responses."
Speaking to ITV News in a round of broadcast interviews, Mr Cameron played down the incident.
"I think he was making a very sensible point which is that both of us have a challenge which is to generate the growth necessary to ensure that young people in our countries have a job and a future and that is critical in Indonesia just as it is critical in Britain," he said.