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UK austerity is over nearly a decade after crash: May

British Prime Minister Theresa May delivers her keynote address on the final day of at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Britain, October 3, 2018. REUTERS/Darren Staples

BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa May declared on Wednesday that her government’s austerity push was over after nearly a decade of spending cuts in many areas of public services.

“We are not just a party to clean up a mess, we are the party to steer a course to a better future,” May said in a speech to her Conservative Party’s annual conference.

“A decade after the financial crash, people need to know that the austerity it led to is over and that their hard work has paid off.”

May said the government’s new multi-year spending plan due next year would continue to bring down debt levels but would see support for public services go up.

Britain’s budget deficit has been cut from nearly 10 percent of gross domestic product in 2010 to around 2 percent.

May’s finance minister Philip Hammond has said Britain’s public debt levels remain too high at more than 84 percent of GDP and he has vowed to bring down that ratio each year.

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and William James, Writing by William Schomberg, Editing by Alistair Smout