Business secretary Vince Cable has refused to predict when the UK economy will recover from the present economic downturn.
Speaking to the BBC at the launch of a small business support initiative, the Liberal Democrat stated this current situation is unlike any ever experienced before in the country, because it is centred on the collapse of the banking sector.
He described the state of the British economy as "in a very deep crisis" and added that predicting when it would recover is "very difficult" as the government is working to overcome problems such as broken financial institutions, massive personal indebtedness and the gaping public deficit.
Mr Cable's comments follow business surveys such as the Markit/Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply purchasing managers' index, which suggests the UK may return to growth in the third quarter.
At 08:40 BST, the FTSE 100 was down in London by 0.3 per cent – or 19.2 points – to an index value of 5845 points.
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