David Cameron promised to stick to his deficit reduction plan on Thursday despite a lack of economic growth and loss of his country's top-notch credit rating, saying Britain would plunge "into the abyss" if he changed course.

"We will not be able to build a sustainable recovery with long-term growth unless we fix this fundamental problem of excessive government spending and borrowing that undermines our whole economy," Cameron told an audience in Yorkshire.

"Dealing with the deficit gives us the credibility in world markets to maintain low interest rates. And it is, I think, hard to overstate the fundamental importance of low interest rates for an economy as indebted as ours. And also hard to underestimate the unthinkable damage that a sharp rise in interest rates would cause."