Philip Hammond has set out his Budget plans in the Commons, where he declared that the "era of austerity is finally coming to an end".Read the full story ›
Labour are calling for George Osborne to prevent the Royal Back of Scotland giving bumper bonuses worth more than salary levels to senior staff members.
Royal Bank of Scotland, 81% owned by the taxpayer, is expected to invoke a clause in the new EU rules on bankers bonuses whereby any bonus worth twice the level of annual salary can only be awarded with shareholder approval, The Financial Times reports.
As Chancellor, Mr Osborne is effectively the heavily lossmaking bank's main shareholder.
The London mayor Boris Johnson said he "warmly welcomed" the Chancellor's announcement that homebuyers would get help to get loans.
Labour’s Shadow Treasury minister, Chris Leslie, responding to today’s public sector finance figures, said:
These figures show that the deficit is rising because the Government’s economic plan is failing.
We have the highest ever borrowing for any August and borrowing is up by 22 percent so far this year compared to the same period last year.
With the longest double-dip recession since the Second World War, the Government has borrowedover £10 billion more in the first five months of this year than in the same period in 2011.
By choking off the recovery with tax rises and spending cuts which go too far and too fast George Osborne’s pledge to balance the books by 2015 is already in tatters and there are now serious questions about whether he can meet his debt target.
Borrowing figures for August this year are better than the markets expected and, for the first month this financial year, in line with those of last year.
This underlines why, at such an uncertain time, we should not second guess what the Office for Budget Responsibility will forecast later in the year, by which time it will have further months' data to draw on.
If the Chancellor George Osborne sticks to the current target on national debt he may have to announce tax rises and further spending cuts to achieve it. But the Governor of the Bank of England has indicated he would not complain if the target was missed.
If it's because the world economy has grown slowly, so we have in turn grown slowly, then that would be acceptable. It would not be acceptable if we have no real excuse.
The Treasury has tweeted the following comments from Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, after the latest public sector net borrowing figures were published.
David Gauke on PSF: “Gov borrowed almost £7bn less last yr than previously estimated, down nearly £40bn from peak 2 yrs ago.” (1/2)
David Gauke on PSF: "This is further evidence that we are dealing with our debts and getting the deficit down" (2/2)
The stubborn figures on borrowing may heighten expectations that the Chancellor will abandon his deadline to start lowering UK debt within three years.
George Osborne is expected to announce in his autumn statement that the Government will be unable to start bringing down debt as a percentage of GDP in 2015/16.
The chances of the Chancellor dropping his target appeared to increase after Bank of England Governor Sir Mervyn King effectively endorsed such a move.