George Osborne has defended his economic plans amid claims that he is set to plunge Britain into a period of austerity not seen since the 1930s.
The Chancellor grabbed headlines with the historic stamp duty reforms he announced, but cuts of £60bn to non-protected areas like police, local government and justice will be required in the coming years if he is to meet his targets, the government spending watchdog said.
He told Sky News his plan to clear the deficit by 2020 was “balanced” .
Mr Osborne said: “We’re taking a number of years because I think that’s the right pace. The path we’re on has given Britain not just the fastest growing economy in the world, but it means…you’ve got real world evidence that we’ve got the right long-term plan.” reported SKY NEWS.
He justified the “giveaways” in his Autumn Statement, saying the country “can’t afford not to” invest in areas like roads and flood defences.
He said: “It’s precisely because we didn’t invest in those things in the last decade that our country was not equipped for the modern economy.
“We’ve got to make sure our deficit is coming down but we shouldn’t do that at the expense of the big long-term investments that secure jobs for generations to come.”
The Chancellor was scathing about his Liberal Democrat coalition partners after Business Secretary Vince Cable said his plan to bring public spending down to 35% of GDP as “wholly unrealistic”.
He said: “In private they sign up to these decisions but then in public they slag them off. But that’s for them to explain to you.”
Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls said Mr Osborne was being forced to accelerate spending cuts because he had failed to balance the budget.
He told Sky News: “He said he’d make people better off and that hasn’t worked. People’s wages are still falling compared to prices.