Osborne Denies 'Fiddling' Mini-Budget Figures
Chancellor George Osborne has denied "fiddling" the borrowing figures in his bleak mini-budget.
In his Autumn Statement to the Commons on Wednesday, he said that borrowing would fall this year.
But it quickly emerged that he had included the anticipated income from the sale of the 4G mobile phone spectrum, and without it borrowing would be up by £2bn.
He told Sky News that no political interference had taken place, and that the figures were compiled independently.
"I don't massage any figures, because they're produced completely independently of me now.
"There's no question of political interference, or fiddling, or anything like that.
"When it comes to those sales, the money we expect to get from the 4G spectrum - like other things the Government sells - we make an estimate of how much we're going to get.
"It's accounted for in the exactly same way it was when the last government sold the 3G spectrum."
But Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls said including the 4G mobile network cash was a "dodge".
"He had said that borrowing was falling - only because he slipped in £3.5bn from the 4G mobile sale which he didn't even mention in the speech and the reason is he knew that would be seen as a dodge."
The Autumn Statement also saw Mr Osborne insist that Britain was on the right track, despite announcing that austerity will last until 2018.
Speaking to Sky News, he said: "If you look at this country you've got a country getting to grips with its problems, making sure that it is paying its way in the world."
He also ruled out slashing the foreign aid budget, saying Britain had an "obligation" to the world's poorest.
"I think one of the hallmarks of being British is that we're a compassionate country," he added.
But Mr Balls branded the Chancellor's management of the economy as "incompetent".
"Growth (is) downgraded, he's borrowing over £200bn more than he planned, his economic plan has clearly failed, his fiscal targets are being badly missed, and he's just ploughing on with the same plan and saying to families you're going to pay more."
The Sky News Money Panel, made up of high-profile figures from across the fields of business, finance, consumer policy and the economy, was asked to give its reaction to the Autumn Statement.
Ross Walker, UK economist at RBS, said: "The Chancellor had little room for manoeuvre so there were no fiscal policy 'game-changers'.
"The main objective seemed to be to find a number of temporary income streams (Royal Mail pension assets, BoE gilt coupon payments, 4G spectrum revenues) to lower the near-term borrowing projections.
"The main concern, from a macro perspective, is how much more elevated the medium-term borrowing projections are and their projected slower rate of decline," he said.
The founder and chief executive of advertising giant WPP, Sir Martin Sorrell, saw the cancellation of the planned 3p fuel duty rise as the most important short term economic measure.
He said: "From a longer term point of view, the most encouraging measure was the increase in infrastructure investment of £5bn over two years and the £600m investment in science, £270m in further education colleges and £1bn for schools.
"The measure that I welcomed least was the pension limit change in that it will discourage saving but perhaps we have no choice at this time."
what do you think?
What happened to the 37billion surplus of quantitive easing that went straight into the treasury? Not accounted for its just gone! This creature Gideon Osbourne should be arrested for embezzlement. Corrupt to the core like most politicians.
What happened to it ? unaccounted for ? Benefits payouts, overseas aid, civil sevice salaries what else has kept the country going for the past 50 years at least ?
Heres some enlightenment for you- we pay tax for those things.
Not enough though.
Of course not. We have weapons to make, countries to invade, banana republics to control, fake armies to fu.nd. Bankers to pay etc etc. Doesn't mean you can then enslave the British public through quantitive easing and have no accountability for the money you fiddle off to the underworld.
Do you think that I am defending the government ? Government reciepts are exceeded by their outgoings -- end of !!! if you want to amuse yourself on a day when it is too cold to go out, try to find out which was the last year the chancellor balanced the budget.
Fiddling with everything especially himself.
The Commons doesn't take Ed Balls very seriously. "It's got nothing to do with the fact that he has got a stammer that he was hesitant for over a minute, it is because he was the chief economic adviser when it all went wrong, and he never acknowledges that. "He never admits that he was there at the scene of the crime, and so obviously when we listen to his answers about what should happen next, we're a bit sceptical."
I am amazed that they made him shadow chancellor. Its a bit like making jimmy saville minister for children. I suppose it goes to show what an out of touch bunch the labour party are.
Best comedy show on TV these days
Granty Granty Granty what a strawberry you are . Osbourne caught fiddling Paxton on Newsnight asked Danny Alexander ( The Tory stooge ) asked about this he could not answer.
got a job yet gand-Alf?
i have grant
Granty Granty Granty you little sparkler. Your replies are getting stranger and stranger you are losing it like your mate Calamity
perhaps if people saved less and spent more on british goods produced in britain it would provide work for the unemployed who would then pay taxes instead of living off benefits
60% of hardworking people are on benefits. I hope you lose your job and have to live on benefits
Ron, i'm sure we would if only the wise and wealthy would stock our shops and supermarkets with anything other than made in China.It pi**es me off so much if I could find something which said made in UK i'd buy it whether I needed it or not. Time a government any government looked to this problem.
Just seen the latest polling figures Labour 12 points a head. the only region were they are not a head is the South East. I wonder why, leafy suburbs, rich people living in large houses unemployment 0%. Cameron and Osbournes type of people were they say " recession what recession" and rub their hands waiting for their £100.000 a year tax reduction
Gand-Alf, your silly billy, The Tories were further than this in front "mid-term" when liebour were in & then liebour went on to win the next election. You silly silly billy.
Granty Granty Granty you muffin Give it up the Tories have gone no coming back its only people like you ( living on planet gaga) who will vote for them . "Whats this "silly billy" are you George from Rainbow. Whats this "Liebour" what school did you go to.
He's an mp and a Tory so figured are bound to be fiddled
Osborne is a crook and should be arrested, charged with High Treason and sentenced to death.
Now Osborne has wrecked the economy he has switched the blame from the last New Labour Government to world and European downturns. But he and his Banker crooks (legally done) are sill laughing knowing that the British tax payer will pick up the bill for !!HIS!! OVER THE TOP BORROWING.