Fresh French assault on UK economy

French Finance Minister Francois Baroin added to the verbal assault on the UK economy by his country’s officials as France struggles to cope with the threat of an imminent ratings downgrade.

"The economic situation in Britain today is very worrying, and you'd rather be French than British in economic terms," Baroin told Europe 1 radio.

"It's true that we have no lessons to give, but we don't have to receive any either," he added.

Standard & Poor’s is reviewing France’s AAA rating as the exposure of the country’s banks to ailing Eurozone economies is causing concern.

Critics point out that the UK also retains the ability to control its own monetary policy unlike France, which has been struggling to get Germany to agree to ECB interventions it favours.

Baroin’s comments came after Bank of France chief Christian Noyer claimed that Britain should be downgraded before France as it was in a worse economic state.

The reaction of French officials follows President Nicholas Sarkozy’s slamming of David Cameron’s tactics at the recent economic summit as the behaviour of ‘an obstinate kid’.

France was angered at Britain’s refusal to sign a new treaty without safeguards to protect the City from hostile regulation.