Vince Cable has warned against "complacency" over the UK economy's apparent recovery (Reuters)
Business Secretary Vince Cable has insisted he was not undermining Chancellor George Osborne's claim that the UK economy is turning a corner after warning against "complacency" over the burgeoning recovery.
Liberal Democrat Cable appeared to echo the opposition Labour Party's attack on the Conservative chancellor in remarks released ahead of a speech by the business secretary due to be delivered at a manufacturing conference.
Labour's Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has consistently lashed out at his opposite Osborne for being "complacent" over the struggling UK economy.
"I think George Osborne got the tone absolutely right when he spoke the other day," said Cable on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme.
"The point I'm trying to make is this is a long-term haul. We've got a marathon not a sprint."
He added that it is going to take "a long time to get the UK economy on the right track".
Cable said his warning on complacency was aimed at "commentary" and "reactions" to the data rather than any specific individual.
"I don't want the public debate about this to become obsessive about a few weeks' data," he said.
In a City of London speech days before Cable's remarks, Osborne argued a recent uplift in UK economic data had vindicated him on his tough austerity programme of public spending cuts.
He said the figures show "tentative signs of a balanced, broad-based and sustainable recovery".
Private industry data compiled by research firm Markit shows the services, construction and manufacturing sectors all hitting new highs for output and activity during the third quarter.
Meanwhile, official data shows UK GDP growth accelerating from the first to second quarter, from 0.3% to 0.7%. As a result of improving numbers, several leading forecasters - including the IMF and Bank of England - has raised their growth estimates for the UK economy.
Despite claiming he supported the chancellor's words on the economy, Cable also said the Liberal Democrats "will be very distinct from the Conservatives in the message we give" ahead of the 2015 general election.
As in 2010, the Liberal Democrats could provide the key to power in the 2015 election if another hung parliament emerges. As a result, the party is attempting to balance itself between loyalty to the current coalition with the Conservatives and not closing the door on the Labour opposition.
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