Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Osborne to enshrine deficit pledge

Chancellor George Osborne is set to enshrine in law the coalition's plans to eliminate Britain's underlying budget deficit by 2017/18.

The move - expected to be unveiled around next week's Autumn Statement - was being seen at Westminster as an attempt to set a trap for Labour.

By staging a pre-election Commons vote on the deadline to balance the nation's books, Mr Osborne would hope to put Ed Miliband's party on the spot by forcing them to either accept Tory and Liberal Democrat plans or appear soft on the deficit.

While the two coalition parties are agreed that the cyclically-adjusted current deficit should be eliminated by 2017/18, shadow chancellor Ed Balls has so far said only that he will aim to run a surplus on the current budget "as soon as possible" and by 2020 at the latest.

A report in the Financial Times suggested that Mr Osborne may seek to enshrine the 2017/18 target in law by proposing a change to the Government's fiscal mandate, which currently requires him to bring the current deficit into balance on a five-year rolling timetable.

But aides of the Chancellor described reports of his plans as "speculation".

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph