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George Osborne sets £6.5 billion limit on public spending reductions for this financial year

George Osborne 2010 Chancellors debate There is an interview with George Osborne in today's Guardian, in which he makes the charge that Gordon Brown's only real claim to remain in office - that he is the man who can secure the recovery - has collapsed just a few days before the start of the campaign. This is of course a reference to the backlash against Labour's plans to increase national insurance.

But it is the following paragraph from Patrick Wintour and Nick Watt's report which is most newsworthy:

"In the interview, the shadow chancellor also disclosed, for the first time, that he would not reduce public spending by more than £6.5bn in the current financial year. He said £6bn would come from efficiencies, and £500m from cuts to child trust funds and working tax credits for the better off. There would be no further "in year" cuts in his emergency budget, scheduled within 50 days of a possible Tory victory, he said."

Mr Osborne also uses the interview to point out that scrapping Labour's rise in NICs will save the public sector £600 million, whilst promising to set out the Conservative plans to recognise marriage in the tax system in detail before the election.

Jonathan Isaby

> Yesterday, Tim Montgomerie argued that George Osborne had triumphed in the last seven days, enjoying his second best week since becoming Shadow Chancellor.


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