Polls punish Osborne as debts grow

Tim Wallace
Follow Tim
GEORGE Osborne’s popularity fell to an all-time low yesterday as government borrowing ballooned despite promises to cut the deficit.

Only 16 per cent now trust Osborne to see the UK through the recession – just half the number that supported him back in October 2010.

Faith in the coalition government as a whole has also plummeted, with just 24 per cent thinking it is good for Britain, according to the poll from ComRes and ITV News.

Government borrowing rose by another £0.6bn in July – a terrible showing for a month that usually records a large surplus.

Analysts were dismayed by the figures, blaming rising taxes and flawed efforts to cut spending for the slowing economy.

“Britain is edging ever closer to a vortex in which government borrowing escalates whilst economic output spirals downwards,” said Tim Morgan from City brokers Tullett Prebon. “The fact is that no-one – government or opposition – has anything remotely approximating to a workable plan, probably because no-one dares tell the voters the truth.”

Labour’s Rachel Reeves called on the chancellor to change course and spend more in an effort to boost economic growth.

But Treasury minister Chloe Smith claimed the deficit reduction plan has boosted markets’ confidence in the UK and held down interest rates: “It is the discipline we’ve applied that is what allows us to then use that credibility to help businesses and households to keep costs down.”

The government yesterday paid a negative real yield of 0.025 per cent on £1.25bn of 2029-dated debt.