DAVID Cameron and Nick Clegg have pledged to continue the Government's programme of deficit reduction as they appeared together to launch a mid-term review setting out the coalition's achievements so far and its plans for the remainder of this parliament.
Two and a half years on from the famous press conference in the Rose Garden of 10 Downing Street which marked the formation of the coalition, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister made a rare joint appearance before the media at No 10 to unveil what was billed as a "stock-take" of the Government's progress.
The 46-page document, entitled The Coalition: Together In The National Interest, lists actions from reducing the budget deficit to introducing reforms to the public services.
And it sets out plans - many of them previously announced - for further action in the period to the general election scheduled for May 2015.
Insisting that their actions to reduce the level of public borrowing were "necessary and right", the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister committed themselves to continuing to "pursue our deficit reduction plan while protecting vulnerable groups and key long-term investments".
And they confirmed that detailed plans will be published before the summer for public spending for the 2015/16 fiscal year, which are expected to extend the age of austerity beyond the general election and effectively commit Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to a degree of shared economic policy after 2015.
Mr Cameron insisted the coalition had confounded expectations that it would not last.
"Some people thought our coalition wouldn't make it through our first Christmas, but this Government is now well into its third year, because this coalition was not and is not some short-term arrangement," he said.
"It is a serious five-year commitment to give our country strong, stable and determined leadership that we need for the long term.
"At the heart of that commitment is one simple fact - Britain is in a global race, and that means an hour of reckoning for countries like ours. Some countries will sink, others will swim."
© Press Association 2012