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Osborne defends 'positive' Tory election campaign

George Osborne has defended the Tory election campaign amid claims the party has adopted a negative tone in its electioneering.

The Chancellor told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I don't accept it hasn't gone well. I think we have fought a very positive campaign.

George Osborne has defended the Tory election campaign. Credit: PA Wire

"I think it's a very close election - that's been clear it was going to be close for some time now - and I think the choice facing the country is becoming clearer and clearer and starker and starker."

Asked to give marks out of 10 for the Conservative campaign, Osborne said, "We will come back on May 8 and see how it went."

Osborne: We want to give people a stake in economy

Chancellor George Osborne says the Tories want to give more people "a stake" in the economy, as David Cameron prepares to unveil plans to offer up to £4 billion in cut-price Lloyds shares to small investors.

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Osborne: Labour's 'non-dom plans a total shambles'

George Osborne has dismissed Labour's 'non-dom' plan as "a total shambles".

ITV News Westminster Producer Adam Smith reports:

If you look at what Ed Miliband has announced today, it is a total shambles. Within hours the policy has unravelled. You have Ed Balls himself saying it would cost the country money and when you look at the small print it's clear that a majority of non-doms wouldn't be effected at all.

– George Osborne

Osborne: Cutting top rate of income tax 'not priority'

Chancellor George Osborne has declined to rule out cutting the top rate of income tax rate from 45p to 40p if the Tories win the General Election.

Speaking to Sky's Dermot Murnaghan, Mr Osborne insisted that it is not a priority for the Conservative Party, and the "big tax commitments" for the next parliament were further raising the tax-free personal allowance and raising thresholds so only those earning £50,000 or more would pay the higher 40p rate.

George Osborne outlined his party's 'big tax commitments'. Credit: Sky News

"If that was our priority or our plan we would have made it part of our plan and made it one of our priorities.

"Judge us by what we want to do and what we want to do is increase the tax-free personal allowance to £12,500 so people full-time on the minimum wage don't have to pay income tax and millions are better off."

Osborne: Business leaders' message 'couldn't be clearer'

George Osborne has said that the message from big business leaders 'couldn;t be clearer' after more than 100 business leaders declared their support for a Conservative-led government.

This is an unprecedented intervention in a British election...Their message couldn't be clearer. We have a Conservative economic plan that is working and creating jobs and if we change course those jobs will be threatened and the recovery will be put at risk.

– George Osborne

Osborne: Business leaders' intervention 'unprecedented'

Chancellor George Osborne has hailed an "unprecedented" intervention from business leaders praising the Tories' economic plans.

Chancellor George Osborne. Credit: PA Wire

"An intervention on this scale and with this clarity from Britain's business leaders is unprecedented in any recent general election," Mr Osborne said.

"Over 100 business leaders, heading up some of our largest companies and most famous brands, and employing over half a million people, have spoken out.

"And the warning from Britain's business leaders couldn't be clearer: a change of course will threaten jobs, deter investment, send a negative signal about our country and put the recovery at risk."

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Osborne rules out income tax or national insurance rise

The Conservatives will not raise income tax or national insurance if they gain power again in May, Chancellor George Osborne has said.

Chancellor George Osborne said the Tories will not raise income tax or national insurance contributions. Credit: PA Wire

The pledge comes a week after David Cameron ruled out a rise in VAT at the final Prime Minister's Questions before the general election.

Mr Osborne told The Sun: "You have a very clear commitment from us that we are not going to increase VAT, national insurance or income tax. That is our commitment to working people, that we are there to help them."

In a joint interview by Mr Osborne and David Cameron, the Prime Minister also confirmed that he wanted to keep Osborne as Chancellor if the Tories return to Number 10.

Osborne buoyed by stronger economic figures

The UK economy grew by 0.6% in the fourth quarter, revised up from a previous estimate of 0.5%, official figures released today show.

The economy grew by 2.8% during 2014, up 0.2% from a previous estimate, the Office for National Statistics said.

The economy grew by 2.8% during 2014, ONS figures show. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

GDP was previously estimated to have increased by 2.6% in 2014.

The Chancellor hailed the ONS figures as a "hat trick of good news".

Tories to reveal £12bn in welfare cuts after the election

The Conservative party will not publish details of their planned welfare cuts until after the General Election, Chancellor George Osborne has said.

Mr Osborne said that they would set out how they intend to achieve the planned £12 billion in savings from the welfare budget if they are returned to power after the General Election.

George Osborne Credit: Joel Goodman/PA Wire

"We will set out our plans as part of a spending review when you can make these balanced judgments," he told Channel 4 News. "We have said in the spending review in the summer."

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith came under fire at the weekend after he suggested that it was not "relevant" to explain where the cuts would fall if the Conservatives regained power.

However, Mr Osborne insisted they had shown from their record in the last parliament that they had would protect the most vulnerable claimants

UK raises a further £500 million from Lloyds shares sale

The Government has raised a further £500 million from the sale of shares in Lloyds Banking Group, George Osborne has announced.

The Chancellor tweeted:

The size of the stake owned by British taxpayers in Lloyds has fallen below 22%, according to a regulatory filing.

When Lloyds was rescued in 2009 the Government took a 40% percent stake.

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