Economy a 'decade long project'

George Osborne

Inflation down, unemployment down, and today even George Osborne was down, 700 metres down to be precise, deep below the east midlands countryside. The chancellor came to Thoresby Colliery to announce some help for former miners whose free coal allowance had been stopped when their old employers went bust.

He also wanted to try to show that the government won't leave people behind and that the economy is not just recovering in the south of England.

But, after a short delay when our underground train came off its tracks, he told me that he had also come to Nottinghamshire to offer a corrective to all the sunny optimism that had followed this week's positive economic news.

Progress, he said, was being made but we should realise that the government was engaged on a "decade long project" to fix the economy.

His subtext was clear: at the next election, people should give him the chance to finish the job. And the recovery will not be so secure that they should risk a vote on Labour.

You can watch my interview with him here:

James Landale's interview with George Osborne in full

James Landale Article written by James Landale James Landale Deputy political editor

Autumn Statement: Osborne's political balancing act

George Osborne's challenge is simple to explain but hard to achieve. He will want to use the poor borrowing figures to try to convince voters that the recovery is still too fragile to risk any change of government. But he will want to avoid voters concluding that his failure to fix the deficit at the pace he intended means that it might be time to give Labour a go.

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