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

Debates - on or off?

David Cameron says he wants to take part in TV election debates and that he thinks a deal can be done but he's also setting new conditions for taking part.

Read full article

More on This Story

More from Nick


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    Purely as a thought experiment:

    If it were true that George and Dave's austerity were not working, and was in fact working in opposition to their stated goal, would their egos even allow them to change course? Would they even want to?

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    23. If we can help people in the developing world so they can have a decent life in their own country they might not end up camping out around the ferry ports looking to find a way to smuggle themselves into Britain. In the old days we spent lots of money on the army and navy to help our businessmen pinch their natural resources and make them buy our rubbish. Least we can do I think!

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    I wonder if 'Pasty George' will tell us tomorrow which one of his severe austerity measures is akin to those that led the world out of the 'Great Depression'.
    He appears increasingly clueless about how to manage a nation's affairs in a 'global economy'.
    Is it reasonable to assume that he is using the 'crisis' to destroy the welfare state?

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Whistler 25
    Or the ones before that. ;o)

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    Just as with Leveson, so with growth. It has all been rhetoric so far, exposed when it comes down to the nitty-gritty. Maybe it is possible that Cambourne have realised that their policies have no prospect of magically delivering growth and they have to go for the real thing now. But I wonder whether a government that has consistently not delivered, can deliver £5bn of real projects before 2015.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    The most frustrating part is - balancing the books is possible. Happiness can rise, transport, healthcare and education can improve. Problem is, it will affect the people who fund the party who got them 'in' in the first place. They are only human for putting their thirst for power above what's right

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    24 Well not since the last one anyway.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    Never has a government been so out of touch with the people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    Can anyone explain to me why so called international development is ring fenced and our armed forces are not?!

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    Of course it is Gideon is way out his depth with this role a second class degree in History and a bit of work experience as a towel folder and data entry clerk is not going to rub when the going gets tough. Mind you his history degree should tell him this is the worst economic crisis for decades all thanks to a helping hand from his banking chums. !!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    For Autumn Statement

Leveson 'perpetrators' to 'spot the difference':

    1. 'Ministerial' suggestion of 'regulatory-boss' appointment (& periodic review) by 'a judge with civil service support'

    2. Leveson suggestion of periodic review (of structure & process) by a committee of 'judges' with civil service support?

    Statute 'complexity': compared to NHS 'care' & Royal succession?

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    Repairing the public finances isn't easy, let's not pretend that it is, but it's becoming increasingly clear that this single issue government is failing on its single issue.

    Just the one term for these guys, I rather think.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    #9 Comments lost on previous blog (Leveson "shame")

    aggree there other than that

    looks like all the turkeys have come home to roost from the 1997-2010 period of shame for the UK

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Oh dear. Looks like 'Mrs Blurt' has a spending problem. Nevermind there's always money for ideological pet projects. Isn't there George?
    No money left? LOL. It's the way they tell 'em.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    16 Actionr

    but then you'd only have the useless Labour lot. Unless of course UKIP got in!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    So many aspirations but so useless and failure in the end only in 2 years.

    Lack of courage to do any serious reforms and a constant mess of u-turns and stupid decisions..

    Afraid to introduce any taxes that make sense (LVT) but keen to introduce foolish measures.

    All in all, a failure.
    The LibDems should remove Clegg now and drop the coalition.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    I'm confident the Chancellor's statement will be ever so slightly buried by news that the Duchess of Cambridge has left hospital.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Management of decline.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    If the Tories crash and burn they will just join the wreckage of the crashed and burned previous Labour administration. All the main parties seem to be incompetant and I've seen nothing of the current opposition to make me think they are any better than their predecessors - in fact in many cases they are one and the same.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Another 'brave face', another 'difficult day'

    But still employed, still with a pension 'first-call' on the future

    Cost of 2008 crash set to be doubled, not just in money terms.

    From 2010 Tory electioneering (ignorant or unscrupulous or both), and from LibDems 'saving the day' (in temptation or panic), taking 'office without power', for five years, we have more than two years of "plan A" to go


Page 4 of 5



Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.