Portugal crisis shows threat to UK: Osborne

Julian Harris
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CHANCELLOR George Osborne clashed with opposition leader Ed Miliband yesterday over the cuts to the UK’s annual government deficit.

“If you hear the stories about the cuts and still wonder why our country needs to take these difficult decisions, then look at what is happening around us – first Greece, then Ireland, today Portugal,” Osborne told the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) conference in Westminster yesterday.

“Those in our country who deny the urgent need to deal with our deficit are playing Russian roulette with Britain’s national sovereignty,” the chancellor added.

Miliband hit back: “If we were in Government we would have halved the deficit over four years,” he said.

Slower cuts would boost growth and help businesses, Miliband argued, although his stance was rejected by the BCC.

“There are those that say we should take longer to bring down our national debt. I don’t think so, and neither do the businesses I talk to the length and breadth of the country,” said BCC chief David Frost.