The latest GDP figures released yesterday were more grim than most people were expecting.
The BBC's economics editor Stephanie Flanders says that it is "almost certainly the worst four year period for the UK outside the two world wars in a 100 years" and the economy is now "almost 4% smaller than it was at the start of the recession".
Speaking to the BBC's Today programme, Business Secretary Vince Cable says he believes that it is right to have budget discipline but "that it is possible at the same time to have the foundations of a recovery".
"This is a once in a lifetime phenomenon," he told John Humphrys, "no one was expecting that the situation across the channel would deteriorate as much as it has done".
He explained that the government is now putting in place a "Plan A Plus" aiming to get the economy moving by creating big infrastructure projects.
Asked what he would do differently if he was chancellor, Vince Cable said that he is "not pushing for the job... we are part of a team."
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