UK economic growth forecast cut in half

CHANCELLOR George Osborne this afternoon painted a bleak picture for UK growth as he chopped the growth forecast in half in his fourth Budget.

The economy is expected to grow only 0.6 per cent this year, down from the 1.2 per cent Osborne predicted in last year’s Autumn Statement, but he vowed to stick with austerity.

“It is taking longer than anyone hoped, but we must hold to the right track,” he said.

Osborne used his Budget to cut corporation tax by one per cent to 20 per cent and unveiled a “Help to Buy” scheme for first-time buyers in an effort to spur the UK’s stagnant economy.

He also confirmed an updated remit for the Monetary Policy Committee to which incumbent governor Sir Mervyn King and incoming head Mark Carney have both agreed. Osborne reaffirmed the inflation target at two per cent.