The Chancellor's anticipated £27 billion windfall that allowed him to balance his Autumn Statement and Spending Review may never arrive, a group of experts have warned.
George Osborne used the proceeds of a surprise improvement in forecast tax receipts and low debt-interest rates to protect police budgets and bankroll a U-turn over tax credit cuts.
But independent economic think tank the Institute of Fiscal Studies, ahead of detailed analysis to be released today, warned that there was only a "50-50" chance of the revenue forecasts remaining as positive for Mr Osborne. Speaking to the BBC, director Paul Johnson said:
The risk for him, and this must be at least a 50-50 risk, is that the next time round, or the time after, or the time after, these tax revenue forecasts will look less rosy.
George Osborne has managed to get what he wanted - less generous welfare payments and a clear incentive to encourage people back into work.
After the shadow chancellor's stunt, Labour's Chuka Umunna tells ITV News: "I generally don't quote Communist leaders."
By 2020 millions of students who got a loan post-2012 will be paying more money back quicker.