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

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Craig Erlam

Craig Erlam

Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA at OANDA
Based in London, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a market analyst. With many years of experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while producing macroeconomic commentary. His views have been published in the Financial Times, Reuters, The Telegraph and the International Business Times, and he also appears as a regular guest commentator on the BBC, Bloomberg TV, FOX Business and SKY News. Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and is recognised as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.
Craig Erlam