Former Business Secretary Sir Vince Cable accepted his knighthood at Buckingham Palace and hailed the US Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates is a sign of confidence.
However the York-born politician also heralded a note of caution warning that “there are just so many things that could go wrong”.
Speaking at the palace, where the The Price of Wales knighted him for political and public service, Sir Vince said the British economy remains in a weak position in comparison to the US.
“Although on one level the UK appears to be a strong economy like the US, it clearly is not in such a strong position,” he said.
“I don’t think there is any expectation of the British following (the US in raising interest rates) in the near future.
“The fact they have made this forward move is obviously a sign of confidence in genuine recovery, but there are just so many things that could go wrong - if the Chinese growth turns out to be less than expected, or if the eurozone deteriorates.
“In the short term I am a pessimist. In the long term I am an optimist about growth.”
Sir Vince has had a long and varied career in finance and government but the former MP bowed out from political life when he lost his Twickenham seat at the last general election.
He was Liberal Democrat spokesman on trade and industry, and then the party’s shadow chancellor from 2003 until 2010, and when the party entered coalition with the Tories he became Business, Innovation and Skills Secretary.
He was the only senior politician to predict the economic crash, and has written several books on economics.
He said it was a “real honour” to receive his knighthood at the Palace.
“I am not a stranger to this place but it is rather special,” he said.
“However important you have been in the government, it is always nice to be recognised.