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Britain's Prime Minister Says Worst of Recession Over

The worst of the recession is over and Britain's economy will slowly recover in 2010, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said in a New Year's message Wednesday.

In his message, broadcast from his official Web site, Brown said that he is confident that unemployment will start to drop and more small businesses will begin to flourish in the coming year.

His last year-end message was more somber, warning about the difficulties of coping with the economic downturn.

Brown said Britain has learned from previous recessions and that his government's decision to intervene in the banking sector has paid off.

"We have already seen off the worst of the recession," he said, adding that his first priority for the new year is to secure the recovery while cutting the deficit.

The leader promised to "get Britain moving again" by investing in areas including high-speed rail, aerospace and clean energy. He also said counterterrorism will be his focus next year.

Brown did not mention the general election that must be held before mid-2010 and that is widely expected to sweep his Labour Party out of office.

However, he made an indirect appeal to his party's core voting base — the middle-class — not to allow the opposition Conservatives to seize power.