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Clegg: Osborne's spending plans are undeliverable

Nick Clegg speaking about the Chancellor's spending plans.

Nick Clegg has attacked the Conservatives' post-2015 spending plans, saying it is "undeliverable" to expect the working poor to shoulder the burden of deficit reduction.

My view is what George Osborne has said for the Conservative party plan if they were in government on their own after next May are undeliverable. It is simply not deliverable, either econmically, socially, politically, in my view, to say that all the cuts, and all the savings in the future...will come from further sacrifices from the working-age poor only.

I think, quite understandably many, many millions of people who are in working-age poverty in this country will say 'well why do we have to pick up the tab for the mistakes made by the bankers?'.

– Nick Clegg

The Deputy Prime Minister said planned spending cuts were "achievable", but that the wealthy should be made to contribute more to deficit reduction.

Osborne attacks 'nonsense' spending cuts coverage

George Osborne delivering his Autumn Statement. Credit: PA Wire

George Osborne has hit out at warnings about the impact of a fresh round of government spending cuts on public services, branding them "nonsense".

The Chancellor condemned "hyperbolic" coverage of the UK's fiscal outlook and insisted the Tories would set the UK on "a course to prosperity".

He launched into Radio 4 presenter John Humphrys on the Today programme, saying:

You had BBC correspondents saying Britain is returning to a George Orwell world of the Road to Wigan Pier. It is just such nonsense. I thought the BBC would have learnt over the past four years that its totally hyperbolic coverage of spending cuts has not been matched by what has actually happened

What I reject is the totally hyperbolic BBC coverage of spending reductions. I had all that when you were interviewing me four years ago and has the world fallen in? No, it hasn't.

– George Osborne


Nick Clegg: I fully support the Autumn Statement

Nick Clegg has dismissed suggestions that he did not turn up to the Autumn Statement because he wanted to distance himself from George Osborne's policies.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls had said Mr Clegg had been absent because he hoped "people forget the fact that he voted for the VAT rise and the 'bedroom tax'."

But Mr Clegg roundly rejected the claim, telling listeners on his LBC radio phone-in.

I've been doing autumn statements and budgets for five years now and sitting dutifully there. And, by the way, of course I have worked on this meticulously for weeks.

Everything in that Autumn Statement is in there because we have agreed it and I fully support it. But, then I had a choice - did I listen to Ed Balls in the House of Commons or did I go out and talk to normal people?"

– Nick Clegg

IFS warns private sector wage rises may hit spending plans

The head of the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned that a boost in private sector wages could make it more difficult for the next government to curb public spending.

Speaking to Radio 4's Today programme, IFS director Paul Johnson argued that higher private sector wages would make it "much harder" to hold down public sector pay as has been done over the current Parliament.

Even if it has not been too difficult over this period, that doesn’t mean it won’t be difficult over the next period. Apart from anything else, they have done the relatively easier things first. And, of course, we’ve actually had a relatively easy environment for doing it.

Private sector wages have been very weak, which has made it relatively easy to keep public sector wages down. If private sector wages start to grow, as we hope they will, it will be much harder to keep public sector wages down.

– Paul Johnson, Institute of Fiscal Studies

Osborne: Minimum wage 'has gone up this year'

George Osborne dismissed accusations his Autumn Statement had done nothing for workers getting by on minimum wage, and said the £6.50 hourly rate could only have risen if the economy was growing.

The Chancellor told Good Morning Britain low income families relied on the UK having "a secure and stable economy" which the coalition was delivering.


Balls: Labour 'will support stamp duty cut'

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has given his support to George Osborne's sweeping cuts to stamp duty because "this is a way in which we can help people on middle and low incomes who are moving homes".

However, he told Good Morning Britain the Conservatives were still not doing enough to help wages rise, leaving everyone worse off and bringing in less tax revenue for the government.

Economists warn stamp duty reform could push up prices

Economists are warning that the Chancellor's surprise reform of stamp duty could push up house prices.

George Osborne is replacing the old system of a few big jumps with gradual, tapered rises. He says that overall 98 per cent of homebuyers will pay less in future.

Business Editor Joel Hills has been finding out how it will work.

Autumn Statement: Inheritance tax relief for Ebola workers

As well as an overhaul to stamp duty, George Osborne announced a raft of additional key measures in his Autumn Statement, including inheritance tax exemptions for aid workers who travel abroad to help the Ebola crisis.

Additional key measures unveiled by the Chancellor:

  • Inheritance tax exemptions for aid workers who go to help with the Ebola crisis
  • Crackdown on tax avoidance, including a 25% levy on firms that divert profits overseas
  • Non-dom charges to be increased for people who have been in the UK more than 12 years;
  • £1.2 billion revenue from bank Foreign Exchange trading fines to go to GP practices
  • Air Passenger Duty to be abolished for under-12s.
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