George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, this afternoon faced tough criticism from shadow chancellor Ed Balls, who declared the ‘Coalition’s economic credibility (is) in tatters’ and the UK is ‘falling behind in the global race’.
The Chancellor had to go into parliament today knowing that he was going to be in for a frosty reception during his Autumn Forecast Statement. Mr Osborne has known for a while, as has the rest of the world, that the UK recovery is going to take longer than was originally anticipated. However actually having to utter these words openly in front of parliament afforded the opposition a mouth-watering opportunity to unleash a scathing, and what has become customary, attack against the Chancellor and his plan on how to deal with deficit.
Despite the slanging match that has become very much the trademark of parliamentary debates ever since the coalition took power, the key points to take from George Osborne’s statement are:
-3p rise in fuel duty has been scrapped
-Potential for further cuts to councils
-Additional money for roads, public transport and schools
Following the Mr Osborne’s statement cable has remained relatively flat, whilst Sterling has dropped off slightly against the Euro, falling to a daily low of 1.2307.