LONDON (Reuters) - The Greek election result is not a defeat of austerity but a defeat of failed economic plans and should act as a reminder to Britain that it needs to stick to what it is doing, Chancellor George Osborne said on Monday.
Greek leftist leader Alexis Tsipras and his Syriza party swept to victory in a snap election on Sunday, promising that five years of austerity, “humiliation and suffering” imposed by international creditors were over.
“People get tired of economic failure, they tired of rising unemployment ... what you see is not a defeat of austerity, it is a defeat of economic plans that don’t work and in Britain we have got an economic plan that is working,” Osborne told BBC radio.
Osborne, whose Conservative party faces an election in May, said Syriza’s promises were going to “be very difficult to deliver” and warned the promise of greater public spending was “a false hope”.
“I hope that both sides now act responsibly,” he said. “It is certainly in the United Kingdom’s interests that we have stability, that we have a proper dialogue here between members of the euro.”
Under the right-leaning Conservatives, who have ruled in coalition with the centre-left Liberal Democrats since 2010, Britain has emerged from its deepest downturn since World War Two to enjoy one of the fastest growth rates of any advanced economy, with unemployment now at a multi-year low.
Osborne’s party has put the economy at the centre of its re-election bid, hoping to convert strong economic competence ratings into victory in what looks set to be one of most closely-fought contests in modern British history.
“(Greece) reminds the United Kingdom that we need to work through an economic plan that is delivering lower unemployment and growth and economic security,” Osborne said.
Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Michael Holden