George Osborne, chancellor, comments on the Moody credit rating agency report:
"It was a reality check for the whole political system that Britain has to deal with its debts, that we can't waver in the path of dealing with our debts
"This is yet another organisation - in this case a credit ratings agency - warning Britain that if we spend or borrow too much we're going to lose our credit rating.
"The idea that I've abandoned growth is nonsense. Of course I want growth. Of course I want to see unemployment fall. That's what I spend every day of my life trying to bring about.
"But the truth is this. If you don't have confidence in a country's ability to pay its debts -- as you have seen with plenty of other European countries -- then you get negative growth, rising unemployment and no prospect of recovery."