UK Treasury chief to unveil budget with warning on economy
LONDON (AP) — Britain's Treasury chief is unveiling a budget Wednesday replete with billions in cuts to achieve his target of balancing the books in the face of weaker global economic growth.
George Osborne warned of "a dangerous cocktail of risks" as he delivered a budget in which Britain acts "now so we don't pay later." He tweeted a picture of the vivid red document, pledging solutions for the future.
"In this budget we choose the long term," he said. "We choose to put the next generation first."
A global economic slowdown, particularly in China, has weighed on the outlook for British growth, which Osborne was depending on to achieve his objective of reaching a budget surplus. As a result, Osborne announced 3.5 billion pounds ($4.9 billion) in spending cuts.
Osborne is also expected to invest some 300 million pounds in transport infrastructure in northern England, including the HS3 plan to improve east-west rail links.
Even before the message was delivered, Osborne's critics pointed out that he would fail to tackle the debt, the deficit and borrowing as he had promised.
"What George Osborne forgets is that his decisions aren't just some political theater — every choice, every cut hurts ordinary people," Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said. "Having missed two of his three self-imposed targets, he should do the right thing and abandon his unnecessary surplus target. His surplus isn't needed to balance the books."