Autumn Statement - Live coverage - The Independent

Autumn Statement

George Osborne outlines his plans for the economy

  • FROM ANDREW GRICE, Political Editor: Ministers called to the Treasury this morning for a read-out of the Chancellor’s autumn statement were told that the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) fiscal watchdog will blame global conditions, notably the eurozone turmoil, for the UK’s lower than expected growth and higher than expected borrowing. In other words, George Osborne will have some “cover” for an embarrassing set of OBR figures. So that’s alright then.
    12/5/2012 10:46:34 AM
  • INDEPENDENT.CO.UK: George Osborne goes for growth (by firing 10,000 civil servants)
    12/5/2012 10:56:49 AM
  • Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne (left) and Chief secretary to the treasury Danny Alexander leave No 11 Downing Street (Getty Images)

    12/5/2012 11:00:58 AM
  • NIGEL MORRIS, Deputy Political Editor: Chancellor George Osborne told the Cabinet today that the country was “on the right track” economically as he briefed it on the contents of this afternoon’s Autumn Statement.
    The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The central message is that Britain is on the right track, that we are dealing with our deficit and debts in a fair way.
    “That means that everyone must make a contribution, that we are equipping Britain to succeed in the global race.”
    12/5/2012 11:24:08 AM
  • Chancellor has briefed Cabinet on Autumn Statement – we are on the right track and making progress.
  • The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne leaves Downing Street for The Treasury ahead of his Autumn Statement later in Parliament (Getty Images)

    12/5/2012 11:31:15 AM
  • Masks depicting Chancellor George Osborne lie waiting to be used by members of the UNISON union near Parliament (Getty Images)

    12/5/2012 11:51:19 AM
  • OLIVER WRIGHT, Whitehall Editor: One of the key things to look for in today’s Autumn Statement – although almost certainly not in George Osborne’s Commons speech - is what has happened to the UK’s ‘fiscal hole’ or the difference between what we spend and borrow.
    Back in May 2010 George Osborne promised to eliminate this by 2015. That’s certainly not going to happen. But figures released today by the Office of Budget Responsibility may well show that the hole is even bigger now than it was in 2010.
    Why is that important? Well, under this Government we have had £59 billion worth of tax rises and spending cuts in an effort to eliminate this structural deficit. That’s a pretty big price to pay for no progress on the ‘fiscal hole’ at all and likely to play into Ed Balls’ refrain that the Osborne’s medicine is not working.
    12/5/2012 12:05:52 PM
  • ANDREW GRICE, Political Editor: Ed Miliband may have got his sums wrong on the top rate of tax cut. He said at Prime Minister's Questions that £1m-plus earners would get a £107,000 a year tax cut next April. I make it £42,500 for somebody earning £1m.
    12/5/2012 12:26:48 PM
  • OLIVER WRIGHT, Whitehall Editor: It is interesting to see that the Liberal Democrats will be holding their own briefing on the Autumn Statement this afternoon. Normally they let the Treasury do it – but not this time.
    Clearly there are going to be trade-offs between welfare cuts and tax rises on the wealthy. The Lib Dems must think they need to put their own spin on the statement – and not let Osborne’s advisors try and set the narrative.
    12/5/2012 12:28:47 PM
  • Mr Osborne says: "It's taking time, but the British economy is healing.''
    12/5/2012 12:36:04 PM
  • The chancellor added: "People know there are no quick fixes... but they want to know that we are making progress.''
    12/5/2012 12:37:29 PM
  • Mr Osborne says Britain was 'in the danger zone' and is 'now a safe-haven'.
    12/5/2012 12:38:45 PM
  • George Osborne: "We are making progress. It's a hard road, but we are getting there. Britain is on the right track and turning back now would be a disaster.''
    12/5/2012 12:39:29 PM
  • Osborne says OBR figures indicate the deficit will "continue to fall''.
    12/5/2012 12:40:43 PM
  • George Osborne: Forecast for debt interest payments £33 billion lower than predicted two years ago.
    12/5/2012 12:40:56 PM
  • George Osborne: Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts GDP growth of minus -0.1% this year.
    12/5/2012 12:41:46 PM
  • George Osborne: OBR says problems in eurozone will "constrain growth for several years to come''.
    12/5/2012 12:41:57 PM
  • The Chancellor, as has become customary for him, has set out with an exceptionally gloomy tone, blaming a previous "decade of debt" and over-spending. Already it's very clear that he will go into the next election blaming Labour, and Gordon Brown in particular, for the dismal economy. The question is whether, come 2015, that will seem a plausible argument to voters.
    12/5/2012 12:42:16 PM
  • George Osborne: Since the election, 1.2 million jobs created in the private sector.
    12/5/2012 12:42:58 PM
  • George Osborne: GDP growth downgraded for every year of forecast period to 1.2% in 2013, 2.0% in 2014, 2.3% in 2015, 2.7% in 2016, and 2.8% in 2017.
    12/5/2012 12:43:40 PM
  • Osborne turns his attention to unemployment: Now the OBR expects it to peak at 8.3%
    12/5/2012 12:44:55 PM
  • Osborne says that 600,000 more jobs than expected have been created: 1.2 million new jobs in total since 2010. Employment is at a record high, youth unemployment is coming down, and for every one job lost in the public sector, two new ones have been created in the private sector. The best news he has today is on jobs and he is playing that card early.
    12/5/2012 12:45:45 PM
  • Mr Osborne says transfer of Royal Mail pension fund to public sector produces one-off reduction in deficit of £28 billion.
    12/5/2012 12:45:58 PM
  • OLIVER WRIGHT, Whitehall Editor: Lots of spin so far in Osborne’s statement. But a few things stand out. OBR forecasts have been reduced down since the budget – and are worse than most people expected. But they have given Osborne some cover by saying that it was down to external factors and not his fault. But they are still making very optimistic growth figures for the years ahead. Many economists don’t believe these are realistic. The OBR may be independent but it is still political.
    12/5/2012 12:47:21 PM
  • George Osborne: Bradford and Bingley and Northern Rock Asset Management brought on to balance sheet, adding £70 billion to national debt.
    12/5/2012 12:47:37 PM
  • George Osborne: Deficit forecast to fall from 7.9% last year to 6.9% this year, then 6.1%, 5.2%, 4.2%, and 2.6%, reaching 1.6% in 2017/1
    12/5/2012 12:48:29 PM
  • Borrowing set to be £99bn next year, £88bn in the following year, then £73bn, then £49bn, then £31bn.
    12/5/2012 12:49:18 PM
  • George Osborne: It will take four not three years to get debt decreasing, because of tougher economic conditions.
    12/5/2012 12:51:22 PM
  • George Osborne: OBR assesses the Government is "on-course'' to meet fiscal mandate of eliminating structural deficit in five years time.
    12/5/2012 12:51:45 PM
  • George Osborne: "The road is hard, but we are making progress, "
    12/5/2012 12:52:21 PM
  • Whilst it's good that the deficit is falling we're still adding to our national debt and burdening our children...
  • Osborne says that the difficult economic conditions mean it will take 4 years to get the deficit falling instead of 3. He has deferred the year in which debt - not the deficit - will fall relative to GDP by one year. That is an early and significant blow to his case.
    12/5/2012 12:53:55 PM
  • OBR says the Chancellor will miss target of debt falling by 2015/16 - this will now happen in 2016/17.
    12/5/2012 12:54:26 PM
  • Net debt forecast to be 74.7% this year, then 76.8% next year, then 79%, 79.9%, 79.2% in later years, reaching 77.3% in 2017/18.
    12/5/2012 12:54:35 PM
  • George Osborne: Lower deficit has been delivered by public spending plans and "we are going to stick with those plans''.
    12/5/2012 12:54:54 PM
  • NIGEL MORRIS, Deputy Political Editor: How George Osborne is reducing those growth predictions. He now forecasts growth of 1.2 per cent in 2013 (down from earlier prediction of 2.0 per cent), 2.0 per cent in 2014 (down from 2.7 per cent), 2.3 per cent in 2015 (down from 3.0 per cent) and 2.7 per cent in 2016 (down from 3.0 per cent).
    Those are substantial downgrades. But are the Chancellor’s new figures evidence that the Government’s economic strategy is not working – or evidence that it is working a bit more slowly than originally hoped (because of the Eurozone crisis)?
    12/5/2012 12:56:26 PM
  • OLIVER WRIGHT, Whitehall Editor: Osborne has just announced that austerity will go on for an extra year until 2018. In short that means more public sector spending cuts and more pain for civil service. He wants to save an extra £1 billion from Whitehall – and get many more job cuts. It will be very unpopular – and more worryingly could lead to further fiascos like over the West Coast mainline franchise.
    12/5/2012 12:56:57 PM
  • George Osborne: Period of austerity extended by one year into 2017/18.
    12/5/2012 12:57:30 PM
  • George Osborne: Government total managed expenditure to be £745 billion.
    12/5/2012 12:58:03 PM
  • Chancellor says national pay arrangement in NHS and prison service to continue, and no changes to civil service arrangements, but greater freedom for schools to set pay in line with performance.
    12/5/2012 12:58:31 PM
  • “Tougher economic conditions mean that while deficit is forecast to go on falling – it will take 4 years instead of 3.” #AS2012
  • George Osborne: On the Whitehall cuts: resource budgets cut by 1% next year and 2% in 2014, with NHS and schools exempted. Local government budgets cut by 2% in 2014.
    12/5/2012 1:00:00 PM
  • George Osborne on international Aid budget: Will hit 0.7% target next year, but will not rise above that level.
    12/5/2012 1:00:34 PM
  • George Osborne: Capital investment in infrastructure totalling £5 billion over two years includes £1 billion for roads, upgrading A1, A30, and M25.
    12/5/2012 1:01:27 PM
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