Osborne makes unusual commitment to budget surplus

Osborne pictured delivering his keynote speech on the second day of the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester. Credit: PA

Chancellor George Osborne's clear message today is revolutionary: a surplus in good times as an insurance against bad times.

In 25 years of covering politics, I have never heard a senior politician make an out-and-out commitment to running budget surpluses.

He is intending to fight the next election squarely on the public finances.

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Osborne's budget surplus pledge

The Chancellor has raised the possibility of tax cuts by vowing to keep cutting public spending to create a budget surplus in the next parliament. He also announced the long-term unemployed face earning their benefits through unpaid community work.