BIRMINGHAM, England - Britain must cut its budget deficit and fix its economy or face long-term decline, Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron will say on Wednesday, seeking to convince voters that his austerity plan is the only way forward.
Cameron's Conservatives, who lead a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, lag a revived Labor opposition in opinion polls and face criticism for steering Britain back into recession and failing to hit their deficit reduction targets.
Labor accuse the government of contributing to the recession by cutting spending too fast, but the coalition argues its dedication to austerity has kept borrowing costs low and saved Britain from the claws of the Europe's debt crisis.
Cameron will bring Britain's political conference season to a close with a personal speech to his party that aides say will give an honest assessment of the economic challenges ahead and draw clear dividing lines with Labour.
"Unless we act, unless we take difficult, painful decisions, unless we show determination and imagination, Britain may not be in the future what it has been in the past," Cameron will tell the Conservatives in the central English city of Birmingham.