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George Osborne: Tax credits U-turn not a sign of weakness

George Osborne has said that his tax credit U-turn in the Autumn Statement wasn't a sign of weakness, and he had been able to "help families" because the economy was in a much better place than anticipated.

"I don't think it's a weakness, if you are doing this job, to listen to people and listen to the concerns that are made," he told ITV's Good Morning Britain.


Shadow Chancellor defends Chairman Mao stunt

The Shadow Chancellor has defended quoting Chinese communist dictator Chairman Mao during his response to the Government's Autumn Statement yesterday by saying "It's time to bring a bit of flamboyance and humour" to politics.

Speaking on ITV's Good Morning Britain programme, John McDonnell said:

"It was a self-deprecating joke if anything. And I was trying to draw attention to the fact - with a bit of irony - that what George Osborne is actually doing is selling off British assets to the Chinese People's Republic.

....In the House of Commons people get a bit pompous and it's time to bring a bit of flamboyance and humour and into our politics."

Spending Review: Osborne's '£27bn windfall may never arrive'

The Chancellor's anticipated £27 billion windfall that allowed him to balance his Autumn Statement and Spending Review may never arrive, a group of experts have warned.

George Osborne used the proceeds of a surprise improvement in forecast tax receipts and low debt-interest rates to protect police budgets and bankroll a U-turn over tax credit cuts.

But independent economic think tank the Institute of Fiscal Studies, ahead of detailed analysis to be released today, warned that there was only a "50-50" chance of the revenue forecasts remaining as positive for Mr Osborne. Speaking to the BBC, director Paul Johnson said:

The risk for him, and this must be at least a 50-50 risk, is that the next time round, or the time after, or the time after, these tax revenue forecasts will look less rosy.

– Paul Johnson, Institute of Fiscal Studies


Weather: Rain and drizzle in western areas, brighter in east

Top temperatures will be 12 or 13 Celsius. Credit: ITV Weather

Outbreaks of rain and drizzle will affect western parts on Thursday, with the heaviest bursts towards the northwest where we could see coastal gales at times.

Central and eastern areas will have a dry but mainly cloudy day, with the best of the brightness over towards eastern coasts.

Top temperatures will be 12 or 13 Celsius (54 or 55 F).

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