By DAVID STRINGER, Associated Press
LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister David Cameron insisted Thursday he wants more than gold medals as London hosts the Olympics — he's hoping for a boost to the country's stalled economy as well .
At a meeting of international business leaders and dignitaries in London, Cameron urged overseas investors to see Britain as an attractive prospect, despite the economic woes rattling neighboring Europe.
Figures released Wednesday showed Britain's economy had contracted by a rate of 0.7 percent in the second quarter of the year, the third straight quarterly decline — leaving the country mired in recession.
"I want medals for Britain, and there will be no more passionate supporter of Team GB than me," Cameron said.
"But I've got a job to do this summer, and a big part of that job is to get behind British business, and do everything I can to help secure the trade and investment that will help get the world back to sustained, global growth."
On the eve of the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, Britain's government gathered about 200 business leaders and policymakers at London's Lancaster House, including India's commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma and Nigeria's trade minister Olusegun Aganga.
The event was the first of 17 business summits Britain is hosting during the Summer Games, bringing about 4,000 executives and ministers to London in an attempt to clinch over 1 billion pounds (US$1.6 billion) worth of deals and projects.
Despite Britain's stagnant economic growth, Cameron insisted that investors could depend on the country's long-term outlook — insisting that sharp public spending cuts due to run until at least 2017 are restoring the country's debt ravaged economy.
"The coalition government in Britain inherited the worst deficit since the Second World War," Cameron said. "But we have acted decisively to put in place a credible and steady plan to restore confidence in our public finances."
Associated Press writer Pan Pylas contributed to this report