Autumn Statement: A difficult day for George Osborne


Tomorrow's a day the chancellor isn't looking forward to. It's the day he'll be unveiling official forecasts showing borrowing and debt both going up. The day he'll announce deeper cuts and more tax rises.

So on the morning before the bad news to come the prime minister and his deputy went to school to unveil what they hoped would be viewed as some better news - an increase in investment spending paid for by deeper cuts to day to day departmental budgets.

The Cabinet only learnt the news this morning. Thus, there is, as yet, no detail of who and what will suffer the pain and who enjoy the gains.

This £5bn switch from current to capital spending is a repeat of what George Osborne did a year ago. So too is his expected announcement that the government is off course to meet its own targets.

When he became prime minister, David Cameron promised that "in five years' time, we will have balanced the books."

Tomorrow George Osborne will be forced to confirm that there is now no chance of that.

Today's announcement is not a plan B. It is an attempt to find more savings from the current budget to get closer to one of his targets and, at the same time, to increase infrastructure spending in the hope it boosts Britain's anaemic growth.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 91.

    Events change Nick and you're showing your prejudices. The EU and US have all gone adrift and all the markets have gone to hell and back If circumstances change you have to cut your cloth don't you ? Neither Tories nor Labour can control the whole world and believe it or not we are affected by what happens elsewhere. Be more realistic in assessments please it isn't just this govt up the creek

  • rate this

    Comment number 90.

    Shame, GeorgiePorgie had to backtrack on a self enriching fuel duty rise again. How will he afford his lavish lifestyle now?

  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    #87 Up2snuff I don't think that 3 years of 1% annual increases in benefits can ever seem 'incredibly generous.
    1% of very little always results in very little.

  • rate this

    Comment number 88.


    With respect Keith, you dont know what you're talking about. Small businesses make up a significant percentage of employers. If you charge them less corporation tax, you give them more to reinvest by hiring more people. You attract other overseas business investment inwards, means more people hired, even if they are immigrants.

    You just dont get it do you? Its quite OK for you to admit it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    I'm wondering what is going to happen with inflation - one of the key stats for the Tories at the next Election.

    Does the 1% frozen increase in 'working' Benefits mean that inflation is going to be consistently around 3.5-5.5% for three years?

    Or does GO somehow know that commodity prices are going through the floor next year and three 1% annual increases will seem incredibly generous?


Comments 5 of 91



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