Chancellor Osborne Aims to Keep Austerity on Track as EU Referendum Nears

Chancellor George Osborne will try to get his austerity drive – and his own political ambitions – back on track on Wednesday, without upsetting voters before the nation’s EU membership referendum.

Osborne, who portrays himself as an unflinching guardian of the public finances, has slipped from the top of the list of contenders to be Britain’s next prime minister, thanks to a slowing economy and some missteps on his part last year.

Government plans to turn a budget deficit into a surplus by the end of the decade look off course, and on Sunday Osborne said he would need to announce fresh spending cuts in his annual budget statement to parliament, which starts at 1230 GMT.

But with voters split on whether to stay in the European Union in June’s referendum, he is likely to play it safe and delay the extra squeeze on spending until the later years of the decade.

Reuters

Craig Erlam
Based in London, England, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a Market Analyst. With more than five years' experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while conducting macroeconomic commentary. He has been published by The Financial Times, Reuters, the BBC and The Telegraph, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on Bloomberg TV, CNBC, FOX Business and BNN. Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and he is recognized as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.