David Cameron has been forced to rewrite his Wednesday address to the Conservative Party conference after an early draft indicated that the prime minister wanted Britain's households to pay off their credit cards.
"Households - all of us - paying off the credit card and store card bills," the draft speech read.
According to PA, the comment sparked concern among retailers and economists, with the British Retail Consortium warning that urging people to "retrench" was "at odds with promoting growth".
According to Natalie Berg, an analyst at Planet Retail, Cameron’s call brought with it risks of further erosion to consumer sentiment and further stagnation.
Figures from the charity Credit Action show total UK personal debt stands at £1.45 trillion - more than the country’s entire gross domestic product (GDP). The interest paid daily by creditors is £175 million.
Cameron's aides said that the original speech was not meant to encourage the speedy payment of debt, but was supposed to encourage households to continue to manage their finances carefully.
The rewritten version is believed to highlight the country's suffering during the debt crisis. "That's why households are paying down their credit card and store card bills," Cameron is expected to say.
The prime minister is also expected to reassure the party faithful and the public at home that there is no need to change course on the economy even if the benefits are yet to be felt.