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Saturday 2 August 2014

Highlights: UK's George Osborne delivers budget

Published 19/03/2014|13:01

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George Osborne, U.K. chancellor of the exchequer, listens during a meeting with leading U.K. scientists at No. 11 Downing Street in London, U.K., on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013. Prime Minister David Cameron voiced his support for Osborne, praising their relationship before tomorrow's Autumn Statement that's set to highlight Britain's strengthening recovery. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** George Osborne
George Osborne, UK chancellor of the exchequer

British finance minister George Osborne presented his annual budget statement to parliament on Wednesday.

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Following are highlights from his speech:

SPENDING PLEDGE

"We are entering a critical phase and we must learn from the past. Every time a post-war government has embarked on public spending cuts, real spending has risen back to its previous heights within three years.

"And sure enough there are those today who say: ease up, spend more, borrow more. That would mean debt rising towards 100 percent of GDP - undermining growth.

"It would be a huge mistake and we are not going to let that happen. Many Chancellors, faced with a recovering economy and improved borrowing forecasts before an election, would be tempted to squander the gains.

"I will not do that today. These gains were hard won by the British people - and we're not going to jeopardise their economic security."

HOUSE PRICE RISKS

"I today re-confirm my remit for the Monetary Policy Committee, including the target of 2 percent CPI inflation - which the OBR expect will be met this year, next year and in the years ahead.

"Although the OBR forecast that house prices will remain below their real-terms peak until at least 2018, I have asked the Committee to be particularly vigilant against the emergence of potential risks in the housing market."

BORROWING

"Britain was borrowing 157 billion pounds a year before we came to office. This year we expect to borrow 108 billion pounds. That's 12 billion pounds less than forecast a year ago.

"In 2014-15 the (OBR) say it will fall to 95 billion pounds. Then it falls again to 75 billion pounds in 2015-16, then 44 billion pounds, then down to 17 billion pounds.

"In 2018-19 we won't be borrowing at all. We will have a small surplus of almost 5 billion pounds.

"Taken together, these new figures mean Britain will be borrowing 24 billion pounds less than was forecast."

ON OBR DEFICIT FORECASTS

"I can tell the House that the Office for Budget Responsibility have revised down the underlying deficit in every year of their forecast. Before we came to office the deficit was 11 percent.

"This year they say it will be 6.6 percent - lower than forecast and down a third.

"Next year, 5.5 percent - down a half.

"Then it will fall to 4.2 percent, 2.4 percent and reach 0.8 percent in 2017-18. In 2018-19, they are forecasting no deficit at all - instead, at plus 0.2 percent, a small surplus."

 

ON OBR GROWTH FORECASTS

"Today the OBR forecast growth in 2014 of 2.7 percent. That's the biggest upward revision to growth between Budgets for at least 30 years.

"Growth next year is also revised up to 2.3 percent. Then it's 2.6 percent in 2016 and 2017. And with the output gap closed around a year earlier than previously predicted, growth returns to around its long-term trend, at 2.5 percent in 2018."

 

BUDGET DEFICIT

"The deficit is down by a third. Now in the coming year it will be down by a half. But it is still one of the highest in the world - so today we take further action to bring it down."

 

BRITISH RECOVERY

"I can report today that the economy is continuing to recover - and recovering faster than forecast.

"But the job is far from done. Our country still borrows too much."

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