Latest George Osborne news

  • Osborne warns of rising risk of Greek euro zone exit Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    Chancellor George Osborne said on Tuesday that the risk of Greece leaving the euro zone was rising because of the rancour between Athens and the rest of the currency union. "The risks of Greece leaving are rising, because the ill-will round the table is palpable between the euro zone and Greece," Osborne told members of parliament. More »

  • PM Branded 'Arrogant' As Third Term Ruled Out
    PM Branded 'Arrogant' As Third Term Ruled Out Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    David Cameron has been accused of arrogance and "taking the British public for granted" after ruling out seeking a third term as Prime Minister if he is returned to power in May. He also named three of his senior colleagues - Home Secretary Theresa May, Chancellor George Osborne and London mayor Boris Johnson - as potential successors as Conservative leader when he steps down. Following Mr Cameron's comments, Downing Street moved quickly to insist the PM was focused on the need to win the election on 7 May. More »

  • George Osborne Says Economy Still Struggling
    George Osborne Says Economy Still Struggling Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    The Chancellor has admitted the UK's economic problems are not over and there is "lots more work to do". George Osborne also insisted Britain should be "in Europe, but not run by Europe" as he defended the Government's decisions on a range of issues including savers and zero hours contracts. Mr Osborne was answering questions at Sky News' Ask The Chancellors event at Facebook's central London offices. More »

  • Osborne: From Statesmanlike To Disingenuous
    Osborne: From Statesmanlike To Disingenuous Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    You didn't have to look too far for the main message George Osborne was trying to get across in this session. Having offered a stout defence of an independent Bank of England, someone might have come back to him, noting that the Chancellor sets the mandate for the Bank via the inflation target. More »

  • Osborne And Balls Prepare For Live TV Showdown
    Osborne And Balls Prepare For Live TV Showdown Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    George Osborne and Ed Balls are preparing to face questions from a live audience on Sky News, in an event that could decide which party voters trust with the public finances. "Ask The Chancellors", which will be held at the headquarters of Facebook in London, follows on from similar question and answer sessions for party leaders including David Cameron and Ed Miliband. Ask The Chancellors will be broadcast live on Sky News and all its platforms as well as live streamed to millions on the Sky News Facebook page and YouTube channel . More »

  • Insight - How Europe and U.S. stumbled into spat over China-led bank
    Insight - How Europe and U.S. stumbled into spat over China-led bank Sun, Mar 22, 2015

    By Paul Taylor and William James BRUSSELS/LONDON (Reuters) - Sometime geopolitical shifts happen by accident rather than design. Historians may record March 2015 as the moment when China's chequebook diplomacy came of age, giving the world's number two economy a greater role in shaping global economic governance at the expense of the United States and the international financial institutions it has dominated since World War Two. This month European governments chose, in an ill-coordinated scramble for advantage, to join a nascent, Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in defiance of Washington's misgivings. British finance minister George Osborne, gleeful at having seized first-mover advantage, stressed the opportunities for British business in a pre-election budget speech to parliament last week. More »

  • Ask The Chancellors: Sky News To Host Q&A
    Ask The Chancellors: Sky News To Host Q&A Sat, Mar 21, 2015

    Sky News and Facebook are to host an "Ask The Chancellors" event on Monday, 23 March, with key opinion formers quizzing George Osborne and Ed Balls in a TV showdown. An audience of entrepreneurs, start-up companies and local businesses will ask tough questions of the Chancellor and shadow chancellor at an event in London hosted by Sky News Political Editor Faisal Islam. More »

  • George Osborne, your budget is a pathetic bribe - thankfully the UK public haven't …
    George Osborne, your budget is a pathetic bribe - thankfully the UK public haven't … Fri, Mar 20, 2015

    Norman Lamont's pre-election budget in 1992 ought to have stretched credulity beyond breaking point by offering nothing but sparkly goodies in the depths of a recession, and yet the electorate still preferred it to the more hard-headed and mildly redistributive shadow budget put forward by John Smith. George Osborne delivered his speech at exactly the same point in the electoral cycle as Lamont did, ensuring that many of the "announcements" have no meaning other than as an election pitch. If the Tories are re-elected, the proposals might possibly be enacted, in whole or in part, but all we've seen so far is one side of the balance sheet. More »

  • UK public finances improve in February, leaving Osborne on course for targe …
    UK public finances improve in February, leaving Osborne on course for targe … Fri, Mar 20, 2015

    By Andy Bruce and William Schomberg LONDON (Reuters) - Chancellor George Osborne could beat his government borrowing target for this year after public finances improved sharply last month, bolstering his pitch to voters ahead of a national election in May. The Office for National Statistics said public sector net borrowing, which excludes state-controlled banks, totalled 6.9 billion pounds in February, down 34 percent from a year earlier. "With one month of this fiscal year still to go, borrowing looks set to come in at about 89 billion pounds, nearly 10 billion pounds lower than last year," said Samuel Tombs, economist at Capital Economics. "And looking ahead, we think there is scope for borrowing to come down at a faster rate than the Office for Budget Responsibility expects." The OBR is Britain's fiscal watchdog. More »

  • UK second-hand annuity market would boost retail focused fund firms - Moody … Fri, Mar 20, 2015

    Asset managers with a strong retail focus and platforms that offer rival funds will be the big winners from British government plans to create a second-hand annuity market, Moody's Investors Service said. Schroders , Fidelity and BlackRock are all well placed to profit from the changes, announced by Chancellor George Osborne in Wednesday's Budget, which build on plans to scrap an obligation to buy an annuity for new retirees. While that change freed up the cash-piles of 320,000 savers a year, the second-hand annuity market could see up to 5 million people move retirement monies currently funding an annuity, or income for life, to investments in stock and other funds. "Given the size of the 'in retirement' market, even a modest shift by policyholders away from annuities into investment funds will lead to meaningful increased assets under management," it said in a report. More »

  • We face 'critical choice' - Osborne
    We face 'critical choice' - Osborne Fri, Mar 20, 2015

    Britain faces a "critical choice" at the general election over the "big differences" between the main political parties' economic policy, George Osborne has said. More »

  • UK think tank sees 'remarkable' change of tack by Osborne
    UK think tank sees 'remarkable' change of tack by Osborne Thu, Mar 19, 2015

    By William Schomberg and Andy Bruce LONDON (Reuters) - Chancellor George Osborne has shown a "remarkable" change of approach on public finances, a leading think tank said on Thursday, a day after Osborne scaled back his austerity plans for the end of the decade. Paul Johnson, head of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said the eye-catching fiscal number in a pre-election budget announced by Osborne on Wednesday was a big cut to the size of a budget surplus in the 2019/20 financial year. "But the apparent change in economic philosophy in the three months since the Autumn Statement is pretty remarkable." Osborne has made deficit reduction the central plank of his economic policy since he became Chancellor in 2010 and he is urging voters in the May 7 national election to stick with his plan to restore Britain to financial health. In December, Osborne said he was aiming for a budget surplus equivalent to 1 percent of gross domestic product in 2019/20. More »

  • UK needs to cut debt steadily to regain triple-A rating - Fitch
    UK needs to cut debt steadily to regain triple-A rating - Fitch Thu, Mar 19, 2015

    Credit ratings agency Fitch said on Thursday that it would be unlikely to restore Britain's top-notch sovereign credit rating until government debt started to fall steadily as a percentage of national income. "An upgrade to 'AAA' is unlikely without a lower and steadily declining government debt ratio," Fitch said in a statement. British Chancellor George Osborne said in his annual budget statement on Wednesday that Britain's government debt-to-GDP ratio would peak in the current financial year, and fall by a small amount in the new tax year starting in April. More »

  • FTSE touches record high as central banks stay dovish
    FTSE touches record high as central banks stay dovish Thu, Mar 19, 2015

    By Alistair Smout and Sudip Kar-Gupta LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's benchmark share index reached record highs on Thursday, with gold miners outperforming, after the U.S. Federal Reserve and Bank of England both dampened prospects of interest rate rises in the near term. The FTSE 100 index rose as much as 0.5 percent to a record high of 6,982.79 points, beating the earlier record of 6,974.26 points set on March 2. Traders said the FTSE was supported by dovish comments from Bank of England official Andy Haldane, as well as Wednesday's Budget, where Chancellor George Osborne announced modest increases in the forecasts for Britain's 2015 and 2016 economic growth. Sterling fell to the day's low against the dollar, sending the FTSE 100 higher after Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane said the chances of an interest rate rise or cut were evenly balanced. More »

  • Osborne Rejects Public Service Cuts Fears
    Osborne Rejects Public Service Cuts Fears Thu, Mar 19, 2015

    George Osborne dismissed fears over spending cuts to public services raised by the Office for Budget Responsibility. Speaking on Sky News, Mr Osborne said the cuts were necessary but did not pinpoint exactly where the axe would fall. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) report released on the day of the Budget says the Conservatives' cuts leave "a rollercoaster profile of implied public services spending through the next parliament". Discussing his plans for a further £12bn welfare savings cuts, Mr Osborne said: "I'm not suggesting that these things are easy, but they are necessary if we are going to go on living within our means. More »

  • Osborne challenged over big cuts
    Osborne challenged over big cuts Thu, Mar 19, 2015

    George Osborne was urged today to explain how he will achieve large cuts sketched out in the Budget - or leave voters guessing whether public services were heading for deepening post-election austerity. More »

  • Britain unveils tax evasion crackdown, targets corporations
    Britain unveils tax evasion crackdown, targets corporations Thu, Mar 19, 2015

    Britain unveiled new laws to crack down on tax evasion on Thursday, one of which will make large corporations criminally liable for failing to prevent economic crime within their organisations. Danny Alexander, Chancellor George Osborne's second-in-command, announced the measures a day after Osborne promised tough action on tax evasion in his final budget statement before a May 7 national election. "We are going even further," said Alexander. "We’re making it a crime if companies fail to put in place measures to stop economic crime happening in their organisations." Evading tax using offshore arrangements would also be made a "strict liability offence", meaning that pleading ignorance could no longer be used as a defence against criminal prosecution. More »

  • EnQuest says to increase North Sea investments after tax cuts Thu, Mar 19, 2015

    By Karolin Schaps LONDON (Reuters) - North Sea-focused oil producer EnQuest said it would be able to invest more money in some of its North Sea oil fields after Britain announced cuts to oil and gas taxes. Finance minister George Osborne on Wednesday unveiled a series of tax cuts aimed at helping oil firms in Britain's North Sea that have been hit by a double whammy of record-high costs and a steep decline in oil prices. EnQuest, which specialises in maximising oil output from mature fields that are not profitable enough for big producers, welcomed a reduction in a tax imposed on older North Sea fields, to 35 percent from 50 percent. EnQuest shares were up 8 percent at 8:33 a.m. The company said on Thursday that it booked $335 million (226 million pounds) in impairment charges last year due to the decline in oil prices on the back of a global supply glut, and reported a slight decrease in full-year pre-tax profit of $363 million. More »

  • In boon for bitcoin, UK to regulate digital currency exchanges
    In boon for bitcoin, UK to regulate digital currency exchanges Thu, Mar 19, 2015

    By Jemima Kelly LONDON (Reuters) - Britain took a significant step towards becoming a global bitcoin hub on Wednesday as the government announced it would regulate digital currencies for the first time by applying anti-money laundering rules to exchanges. Already the centre of the $5-trillion-a-day market for traditional currencies, the UK is fast emerging as a centre for digital currencies too, cementing its place as European's financial technology, or "FinTech", capital. In a report published alongside finance minister George Osborne's annual budget statement, Britain's Treasury said the new regulation would support innovation and prevent criminal use of digital currencies. "I think it is a good balance between on the one hand the U.S. and specifically New York, which I think have gone too far, and what a lot of countries are doing which is just completely ignoring it." The potential for digital currencies to be used for illicit financial transactions has led many to steer well clear of the them. More »

  • A Small-Scope Budget Of Wi-Fi And Church Roofs
    A Small-Scope Budget Of Wi-Fi And Church Roofs Wed, Mar 18, 2015

    The first is that there has been a significant change, since the Autumn Statement in December, in George Osborne's public spending plans should he remain Chancellor for another five years. In the Autumn Statement, Mr Osborne was assuming the Government would be running a surplus of £23.1bn in 2019-20. He has now forecast that the Government would have a surplus of just £7bn in that year. The reason, one must assume, is that the frequent claims by the Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls that Mr Osborne intended to "return Britain back to the 1930s" have hit home. More »

  • Thursday's National Newspaper Front Pages
  • Key measures from Britain's pre-election budget Wed, Mar 18, 2015

    British finance minister George Osborne delivered his annual budget statement on Wednesday, his final chance to persuade voters his economic plans were working before a national election on May 7. Here are the main details from his speech: GROWTH The Office for Budget Responsibility revises up Britain’s economic growth forecast for 2015 to 2.5 percent from an earlier prediction of 2.4 percent. More »

  • Chancellor Osborne says to raise UK personal tax allowance Wed, Mar 18, 2015

    Britain will allow workers to keep more of their earnings before they start to pay income tax, Chancellor George Osborne said on Wednesday in an annual budget statement delivered seven weeks before national elections. Britain will raise the personal tax allowance to 10,800 pounds ($15,831) in the 2016/2017 tax year, Osborne told parliament, up from an increase to 10,600 pounds which starts in April. The government will also raise the earnings threshold at which people pay the higher rate of income tax to 43,300 pounds by the 2017/18 tax year. More »

  • UK announces help for North Sea oil industry in budget
    UK announces help for North Sea oil industry in budget Wed, Mar 18, 2015

    George Osborne announces £1.3 bn of support for Britain's North Sea oil industry More »

  • Osborne's Budget: 'We Are Walking Tall Again'
    Osborne's Budget: 'We Are Walking Tall Again' Wed, Mar 18, 2015

    Chancellor George Osborne has delivered an "intensely political" Budget he hopes will win the Tories the election in 50 days' time. He offered sweeteners to taxpayers, savers, home-buyers and the regions, while doing his best to blunt Labour's lines of attack in what is expected to be the most neck-and-neck campaign of modern times. As he opened his sixth, and possibly last, Budget, Mr Osborne said the UK has grown faster than "any other major advanced economy in the world" and Britain was "walking tall again". The original debt target I set out in my first Budget has been met. More »

  • Budget 2015: The Key Points You Need To Know
    Budget 2015: The Key Points You Need To Know Wed, Mar 18, 2015

    Chancellor George Osborne has delivered his pre-election budget. Here are the key points. More »

  • UK debt chief fears further fall in bond market liquidity Wed, Mar 18, 2015

    Robert Stheeman, chief executive of the UK Debt Management Office, said banks were becoming less willing to trade gilts due to a mix of tougher regulation and changing business models, similar to other bond markets. Banks have also streamlined their business models, with some deciding bond markets offer insufficient profits, a trend that has been most severe in the market for corporate bonds. "My gut feeling is that in a couple of years it could leave us with less rather than more liquidity," Stheeman told Reuters after the DMO set out its bond sale plans for the next financial year following Chancellor George Osborne's annual budget. More »

  • Chancellor Osborne woos voters with earlier end to austerity
    Chancellor Osborne woos voters with earlier end to austerity Wed, Mar 18, 2015

    By William Schomberg and David Milliken LONDON (Reuters) - British Chancellor George Osborne sought to court voters ahead of a tight May 7 election by pitching an earlier end to his austerity drive and cautious tax cuts against a backdrop of faster economic growth. Osborne said Prime Minister David Cameron's government had saved Britain's economy and would bring down national debt earlier than forecast with a 22 billion-pound sale of state-owned bank assets. Osborne aimed to blunt one of the main lines of attack from the opposition Labour Party, which has focused on his previous plans to shrink state spending to a size not seen since before World War Two. He surprised economists by slashing the size of the budget surplus he is aiming for by the end of the decade, assuming his Conservative Party retains power in May. "We took difficult decisions in the teeth of opposition and it worked - Britain is walking tall again," Osborne said. More »

  • Osborne unveils pre-poll package
    Osborne unveils pre-poll package Wed, Mar 18, 2015

    In a deeply political Budget seven weeks ahead of the general election, Chancellor George Osborne offered financial goodies to taxpayers, savers, home-buyers and the regions of Britain, while doing his best to blunt Labour's lines of attack in what is expected to be the most tightly-fought campaign of modern times. More »

  • Financial, energy shares lift FTSE on budget boost
    Financial, energy shares lift FTSE on budget boost Wed, Mar 18, 2015

    By Alistair Smout and Francesco Canepa LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's top share index rallied on Wednesday as oil shares and financial companies drew a boost from changes announced as part of the UK government's new budget. Shares in investment company Hargreaves Lansdown and wealth manager St James's Place rose 5.2 percent and 2.7 percent respectively after the British government announced fresh changes to the savings system in its last budget before the May 7 general election. Finance minister George Osborne said savers would now have the flexibility to remove money from their tax-free Individual Savings Account and replace it within the same year without losing out on the tax break. "In terms of the stock market, this going to be good for resource stocks, investment banks and funds," David Papier, head of sales trading at ETX Capital, said. More »

  • UK DMO says to hold seven conventional bond auctions between April and June Wed, Mar 18, 2015

    Britain will hold seven conventional government bond auctions and three index-linked gilt auctions from April through June, plus a sale via syndication, the UK Debt Management Office said on Wednesday. The DMO said it would hold two short-dated, two medium-dated and three long-dated conventional gilt auctions during the period, including the sale of a short-dated gilt on April 8. The DMO said it would also hold three index-linked gilt auctions and one bond syndication over the period. Following Chancellor George Osborne's annual budget earlier on Wednesday, the DMO said it plans to sell 133.4 billion pounds ($195.7 billion) of gilts in the 2015/16 financial year -- less than forecast by primary dealers. More »

  • £1bn science cash 'shortfall'
    £1bn science cash 'shortfall' Wed, Mar 18, 2015

    Chancellor George Osborne was criticised for speaking of the importance of science to Britain's future yet failing to provide it with sufficient long-term investment. More »

  • George Osborne election budget: Chancellor's opening shots fired ahead of …
    George Osborne election budget: Chancellor's opening shots fired ahead of … Wed, Mar 18, 2015

    George Osborne delivered an electioneering budget that had the upcoming general election clearly in mind, according to IBTimes UK chief economics commentator William Keegan. More »

  • Bookmakers face new British horse racing charge Wed, Mar 18, 2015

    By Neil Maidment LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will impose a new charge on bookmakers to broaden the funding for horse racing to include more online gambling firms, finance minister George Osborne said on Wednesday. Bookmakers support the sport through a levy on income on bets placed on races that has been imposed since the 1960s. It was worth around 82 million pounds ($120 million) in 2014 but many online betting companies do not have to contribute. The new charge to be called the "racing right" will "apply to all bookmakers wherever located, who take bets from British customers on British racing," Britain's Treasury said in its budget document. More »

  • Britain plans Pacific marine reserve to protect bounty of seas Wed, Mar 18, 2015

    Britain plans a vast marine reserve around the remote Pitcairn Islands in the South Pacific as part of global efforts to halt over-fishing, the government said on Wednesday. The reserve would cover 834,334 square km (322,138 square miles) - an area bigger than Texas - around the British overseas territory, home to about 50 people as well as at least 1,249 species of fish, seabirds and marine mammals. "The government intends to proceed with designation of a marine protected area around Pitcairn," according to the budget presented to parliament by Chancellor George Osborne. The Pew Charitable Trusts and the National Geographic Society, which have worked for the reserve and surveyed life off the islands, welcomed the plan that is also backed by the islanders. More »