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.
Under the Spending Review, councils now have the power to collect a 2% surcharge to put towards the cost of adult social care.
The Chancellor George Osborne says this could raise up to £2 billion but those in the care industry say that is not enough to keep them in business.
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Local councils are warning that huge cuts to their budgets will leave them with no choice but to make swingeing cuts to the services they offer - despite being given greater fundraising powers by the Chancellor.
George Osborne argues that, despite the reductions in their budgets, local authorities can now keep money from business rates, sell off property to raise cash and hike council tax to boost adult social care.
ITV News Political Correspondent Romilly Weeks went to Oxfordshire County Council - recently berated by David Cameron for cuts to its services - to see the impact today's Spending Review had on them:
The Chancellor's U-turn over tax credits has been welcomed by some of the millions of people across Britain who rely on them to make ends meet.
But it is claimed the effects of Osborne's decision will be felt by those on benefits for years to come.
ITV News Political Correspondent Emily Morgan reports:
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The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police said he is "pleased" that the government will not cut overall police spending, saying that it was the right decision "given the variety of threats" Londoon and the UK is facing. In a statement, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said:
We are pleased for the people of London that the government has decided not to cut overall spending on the police.
We believe it's the right decision given the variety of threats we're facing.
These include terrorism, cybercrime and the significant increase in the reporting of sexual assaults and child abuse.
We need to move resources into these areas and build up our firearms capability.
Do you have a question about what the Chancellor's ?Spending Review means for you?
Then head over to our Facebook page from 6.30pm for our Q&A with Welfare Benefits Specialists Linda Gyamfi and David Samson from charity Turn2us, and Assistant Manager Stefanie Stapleton from chartered accountants Blick Rothenberg.
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A Conservative MP has welcomed George Osborne's "complete u-turn" on tax-credits, but added that it would be "difficult" to speak to his constituents about the change, having had to defend the reforms originally.
Mark Garnier, a member of the Treasury Select Committee, told ITV News Political Correspondent that while the move "the right thing to do", and said he had previously asked if the Chancellor could "soften the blow" of the measures.
However, he added the issue of money being "recycled through the machinery of government" still didn't "make any sense", and suggested much of the money from tax credits subsidised low pay from employers.