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  1. National

Growth forecasts revised down, Chancellor reveals

Growth forecasts have been downgraded, the Chancellor said.

It was 2.4% for 2016, but has now been revised down to 2% by the OBR, George Osborne said.

It is predicted to be 2.2% in 2017 rather than 2.4% and 2.1% in each of the three years after that.

Mr Osborne said Britain was expected to "grow faster than any other advanced economy in the world".

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  1. National

Osborne's thinly-veiled Brexit warning?

Deputy Political Editor Chris Shop says George Osborne's gloomy global economic outlook is also a warning against a vote to leave the EU.

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  1. National

Farron calls on Osborne to abandon surplus target

Tim Farron has warned of 'more years of pain and cuts'. Credit: PA

Tim Farron has urged George Osborne to "abandon his unnecessary surplus target" to avoid more "pain" for the public.

The Liberal Democrat leader said the surplus was not needed to balance the books and abandoning it would allow "vital services" to be funded.

Mr Farron said: "George Osborne made a choice to commit himself to a spending surplus. The results of that choice are now clear - he is missing his own targets but it's the public that will pay for his decision with more years of pain and cuts.

"What George Osborne forgets is that his decisions aren't just some political theatre - every choice, every cut hurts ordinary people.

"Having missed two of his three self-imposed targets, he should do the right thing and abandon his unnecessary surplus target."

  1. National

Government 'to fund running blades for amputee children'

Great Britain's Jonnie Peacock won gold at the 2012 Paralympics. Credit: PA

New funding will be made available for prosthetic running blades for amputee children, the Chancellor is due to announce in the Budget.

Writing in the Telegraph, Sarah Hope, whose daughter Pollyanna lost her right leg below the knee in a collision with a bus, said £1.5 million would be made available.

Ms Hope launched a campaign in protest at the NHS policy of only providing walking prosthetic legs, despite claims the Government wanted to build a 2012 Paralympics legacy.

She said the Chancellor agreed to fund the limbs after she contacted him directly

She said: "Some of the cash – £500,000 – will buy running prosthetic limbs to let 500 children run, jump and swim, while the NHS will undertake a review of its provision of prosthetic limbs this summer."

  1. National

McDonnell: Education plans don't address real issues

John McDonnell said the Budget 'looks more like a press stunt' than serious policy. Credit: PA

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has criticised George Osborne's plans for education reform ahead of the Budget.

Radical plans to transform every school in England into academies and abolish the traditional 3.30pm finish time are set to be unveiled.

Mr McDonnell said the Budget "looks more like a press stunt to hide George Osborne's failures than about any serious policy".

He said: "Take his education announcement, it won't address the real issue in our education system around increasing class sizes, shortage of teachers and lack of school places by just forcing schools to become academies.

"With only one in four schools getting any additional money for the extra hour he's adding to the school day, we will see schools competing with each other for funding and parents will see their aspirations constrained."

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