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Osborne labels Budget empty and unrealistic

GEORGE Osborne, shadow chancellor, tore into Alistair Darling’s budget proposals in the Commons yesterday, labelling them “empty” and “an exercise in politics, not an example of governing”.

The chancellor failed to outline plans on how the government would cut the Budget deficit, which could yet see the UK’s credit rating slashed before the next general election.

Fitch Ratings, the credit rating agency that downgraded Portugal, yesterday came out immediately after the Budget to warn that Darling’s plans to cut the deficit were “too slow”.

Osborne also made a mockery of Labour’s plans of forcing Lloyds Banking Group and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to lend £94bn over the course of the next fiscal year.

The banks missed their lending targets for last year and the Public Accounts Committee said in February that: “The Treasury has only limited sanctions available to it to encourage RBS and Lloyds to meet what are described as legally binding lending commitments.”

The UK has the worst deficit in the G7 and the second worst in the OECD.