The prime minister has said he would not bow to pressure to scale back austerity measures even if the UK economy does not soon show signs of recovery.

David Cameron said it would be “the wrong thing to do” after a poll showed 59 per cent of voters wanted a slowdown in spending cuts if economic forecasts remain grim.

The survey, conducted by ComRes in November and December last year for ITV News, suggested just less than a quarter of the public (24 per cent) backed a continued hardline stance irrespective of the conditions.

Asked about the pressure to rein in austerity measures, Mr Cameron told ITV News: “I think that would be the wrong thing to do.

“If we took the easy path…the effect wouldn’t be the relief that people would seek.

“The effect would be that international markets would question Britain’s credit worthiness and for our interest rates to start going up to levels that you see in other countries around Europe.”

He said he was determined not to alter course - even if that meant being defeated at the next general election, due in 2015.

“I would rather be a one-term prime minister who does the right thing than a two-term prime minister who does the wrong thing,” he said.

“You have this duty as prime minister, as a government, to do the right thing even in difficult circumstances and that means sticking to the plans that we have to deliver the low interest rates and the business environment that we need to get jobs and growth in Britain.”

ComRes interviewed 2,050 adults online between November 25-27 and another 2,052 adults between December 16-18 and the data was weighted to be demographically representative.