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Government 'ready to protect Britain' if Greece leaves euro

The Government is ready to protect the British economy from the fall-out from Greece leaving the euro, Chancellor George Osborne has said.

Mr Osborne said the Greek crisis was "one of the biggest external risks to the British economy". The Chancellor told MPs he believed a "no" vote in the referendum called by prime minister Alexis Tsipras for Sunday would effectively be a vote to leave the single currency.

I don't think anyone should underestimate the impact a Greek exit from the euro would have on the European economy and the knock-on effects on us.

The eurozone authorities have made clear that they stand ready to do whatever is necessary to ensure financial stability of the euro area and we welcome that commitment to the currency. Equally the British Government and the Bank of England stand ready to ensure our financial stability in the UK.

– George Osborne

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Osborne: Future governments must run budget surplus

George Osborne is to push forward with plans to ensure future governments can spend no more than they collect in revenue.

George Osborne will deliver his plans in a speech at Mansion House. Credit: PA Wire

The chancellor will use his Mansion House speech later to outline his proposal for a "balanced budget", which limits what future governments can spend when the economy is operating "normally" - when the economy is in good health.

The proposals will be overseen by the independent watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

Current rules only require the Government to eradicate the structural deficit by the end of a rolling three-year forecast period.

Mr Osborne will say Britain needs to move towards a "new settlement of responsibility and prosperity" to ensure the country is protected from an "uncertain future".

Mandelson warns Labour has failed on north strategy

Lord Mandelson has blasted Labour for failing to have a strategy to decentralise power from London to northern England.

The former business secretary accused his party of having "language, not policies" on the issue and described the lack of an alternative to Chancellor George Osborne's "Northern Powerhouse" a "huge political mistake".

Lord Mandelson issued a warn over Labour's lack of alternative to the 'Northern Powerhouse'. Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

Peter Mandelson told the BBC's Sunday Politics North West programme, "We were not radical enough in what we were proposing to decentralise and to devolve away from London and to the regions."

Lord Mandelson said of Osborne, "He got an idea, whatever his motive was, and he is running with it and we let him do so and that was a huge political mistake.

Osborne: Govt departments have found £4.5bn extra funding

Chancellor George Osborne has said government departments have found an extra £4.5 billion for the current financial year.

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Osborne's plans for biggest sell-off of public assets

George Osborne has set out his plans to help restore Britain's economy by staging the biggest ever sell-off of government and public owned corporate and financial assets this year.

The Chancellor will create a new government-owned company who will be in charge of the sales, which are expected to be worth £23 billion.

UK Government Investments (UKGI) will sell shares in Lloyds Banking Group, UK Asset Resolution assets, Eurostar and the pre-2012 income contingent repayment student loan book.

ITV News Political Editor Tom Bradby reports:

It is part of plans to cut spending by £13 billion by 2017/18.

Speaking at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Osborne said: "If we want a more productive economy, let's get the government out of the business of owning great chunks of our banking system - and indeed other assets that should be in the private sector."

A "plan to make Britain work better" will be published over the next few weeks, setting out proposals to improve transport, broadband, planning, skills, ownership, childcare, red tape, science and innovation.

Osborne also addressed the issue of the EU referendum saying he will be "fighting to be in Europe but not run by Europe".

George Osborne announces date for summer budget

Credit: PA

George Osborne will set out the government's plans to balance the books and overhaul welfare when he delivers the first all-Tory budget on 8th July.

The financial package would focus on "working people" and turning the Conservatives' election promises "into a reality", Chancellor Osborne said.

Announcing the date in an article for The Sun rather than the more conventional method of a statement to Parliament - which is not yet sitting - Mr Osborne said: "On 8th July I am going to take the unusual step of having a second Budget of the year - because I don't want to wait to turn the promises we made in the election into a reality...

"And I can tell you it will be a Budget for working people."

Treasury aides indicated the Summer Budget would set out the Government's plan to deliver savings promised during the election campaign, and pay down Britain's debts in a "fair and balanced way".

Mr Osborne is expected to give more details of how ministers intend to shave £12 billion a year from the welfare bill while protecting the most vulnerable.

Osborne outlines 'radical new model of city government'

Chancellor George Osborne has outlined "a radical new model of city government" for major English cities to take control of their own affairs if they agree to be governed by a directly elected mayor.

Speaking in Manchester, he said: "We will hand power from the centre to cities to give you greater control over your local transport, your housing, your schools, your healthcare and we'll give you the levers you need to grow your local economy and make sure local people keep the rewards.

"With these new powers for cities must come new city-wide elected mayors who work with local councils.....I will not impose a mayor on anyone but nor will I settle for less. My door is open to any other major city who wants to take this bold step into the future".

"This is a revolution in the way we govern England", Mr Osborne added.

Osborne: Mayors needed for regional devolution

It is time for major cities in England to take control of their own affairs, the Chancellor will declare later today, but they will need to accept Mayors to do so.

George Osborne will explain that cities will be given power over local transport, housing, planning, policing and public health.

Manchester. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA

Mr Osborne has previously said devolution must go hand-in-hand with the establishment of an elected mayor.

Today he is expected to reiterate that, saying people must have a "single pointy of accountability."

Manchester is the first city set to benefit from extra powers, with plans for an elected "metro mayor" for the whole of the Greater Manchester region.

Describing the new law as a "bold step", Mr Osborne will say he is open to approaches from other cities wishing to follow the same route.

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