LONDON, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Britain's Liberal Democrat deputy finance minist
er played down the importance of the country's top credit rating, preserving which has been at the heart of the country's austerity-focused economic policy.
Finance minister George Osborne, a member of the Conservative party that dominates the country's governing coalition, plans to erase Britain's huge budget deficit within five years.
Last week he said the coalition, in which the Liberal Democrats are the junior partner, would not ease back on getting to grips with the public debt, after rating agency Standard & Poor's affirmed the country's top-notch AAA debt rating.
But Osborne's deputy Danny Alexander told BBC radio on Monday: 'The credit rating is not the be-all and end-all.'
Osborne has resisted strong pressure to ease his tough deficit-reduction programme as the economy has sunk deeper into its second recession in four years.
Alexander advocated 'the right policy mix for the country to get people back into work, to support economic growth to deal with the huge problems in our public finances.'
The credit agencies' ratings reflected 'the credibility of that mix,' he said.
The other main rating agencies, Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings, also have Britain at AAA but with a negative outlook, warning that the country could be downgraded in the next couple of years if the government relaxes its fiscal stance.
(Reporting by Olesya Dmitracova; Editing by John Stonestreet) Keywords: BRITAIN RATING/
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