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Mervyn King: next government will be voted out for a generation

Governor of the Bank of England warns that austerity measures will be so unpopular that the next par

The governor of the Bank of England warned last night that the austerity measures required to shore up the country's finances would be so unpopular that the next government would be out of power for a generation.

Mervyn King's comments were revealed just hours before the final leaders' debate.

The American economist David Hale, who has known King for many years, said in an Australian television interview: "I saw the governor of the Bank of England last week when I was in London, and he told me whoever wins this election will be out of power for a whole generation because of how tough the fiscal austerity will have to be."

The Bank of England declined to comment, but confirmed that King and Hale had had a private meeting in early March.

His comments come amid growing concern that none of the three main parties has been open about the scale of spending cuts and tax rises that will be necessary.