Latest George Osborne news

  • Government seeking quick sale of RBS bank
    Government seeking quick sale of RBS bank 17 hours ago

    The government is looking to sell the Royal Bank of Scotland as quickly as possible, Chancellor George Osborne told the Financial Times. More »

  • #BudgetRapBattle: Leaders Rap The Budget
    #BudgetRapBattle: Leaders Rap The Budget Thu, Mar 5, 2015

    Chancellor George Osborne will announce his last Budget before the May General Election on 18 March. More »

  • Eurostar Stake Sale Raises £757m For Treasury
    Eurostar Stake Sale Raises £757m For Treasury Wed, Mar 4, 2015

    The Government has confirmed its stake in Eurostar is to be sold to a consortium of British and Canadian pension and infrastructure funds, raising almost £760m. The Chancellor George Osborne said the sale, reported by Sky News on Tuesday night , represented a "fantastic deal" for the taxpayer and the money would be used to draw down debts and on core infrastructure. Under the agreement Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec (CDPQ) and Hermes Infrastructure have agreed to acquire the Government's 40% holding for £585.1m. In addition, Eurostar will redeem the Government's preference share, raising a further £172m. More »

  • Britain agrees to sale of Eurostar stake to British, Canadian funds
    Britain agrees to sale of Eurostar stake to British, Canadian funds Wed, Mar 4, 2015

    Britain agreed to sell its 40 percent stake in the Eurostar rail link for 585 million pounds to a consortium of Canadian public pension fund Caisse de Depot du Placement du Quebec and British asset manager Hermes. The government announced the deal for its stake in the high-speed rail link between Britain and continental Europe on Wednesday following a competitive sale process begun in October by finance minister George Osborne. According to 2013/14 government accounts, the share capital value of the stake was 325 million pounds. The deal is part of a trend for institutional investors such as pension funds and insurers, squeezed by low interest rates globally, to buy into infrastructure projects. More »

  • Osborne hails incomes 'milestone'
    Osborne hails incomes 'milestone' Wed, Mar 4, 2015

    George Osborne has said the economy has reached a "major milestone" after a respected think-tank found average household incomes are back to the levels they were before the financial downturn. More »

  • Osborne: HSBC must deal with legacy
    Osborne: HSBC must deal with legacy Wed, Mar 4, 2015

    Banking giant HSBC must deal with the "legacy of the past", George Osborne said as he indicated new laws could be needed to deal with tax dodgers. More »

  • Wednesday's National Newspaper Front Pages
  • Taxpayers To Meet £30m Bill For UK Coal Staff
    Taxpayers To Meet £30m Bill For UK Coal Staff Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    Taxpayers are poised to fund a multimillion pound bill to help workers at two of the UK's remaining deep coal mines as part of preparations for their closure, ministers are expected to disclose this week. Sky News understands that the Government will propose amendments to the Small Business Bill to facilitate so-called concessionary coal payments to hundreds of UK Coal workers. A source with knowledge of the latest plan said that if it proceeded, concessionary coal payments to workers at UK Coal collieries would be made in July and December. The development, which was the subject of talks in Whitehall on Tuesday, followed a pledge by George Osborne in 2013 to guarantee free coal deliveries or a substitute cash sum under a scheme dating back to the 1980s. More »

  • Anglo-Canadian Duo Swoops For Eurostar Stake
    Anglo-Canadian Duo Swoops For Eurostar Stake Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    A consortium of British and Canadian pension and infrastructure funds is poised to swoop on the government's stake in Eurostar in a deal that will raise hundreds of millions of pounds for the Treasury. Sky News understands that Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec (CDPQ) and an infrastructure arm of Hermes, a major UK institutional investor, are close to a deal to buy the government's 40% shareholding. The stake was put up for sale last autumn as part of a plan outlined by George Osborne, the Chancellor, to raise £20bn from asset sales by the end of the decade. Eurostar, which launched its inaugural service in 1994, has seen a surge in demand, with more than 10 million passengers travelling on its trains in 2013 alone. More »

  • UK close to sale of Eurostar rail stake to UK, Canadian funds - Sky
    UK close to sale of Eurostar rail stake to UK, Canadian funds - Sky Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    Britain is close to agreeing the sale of its 40 percent stake in the Eurostar rail link to a consortium of Canadian pension fund Caisse de Depot du Placement du Quebec and British asset manager Hermes, Sky News reported on Tuesday. Chancellor George Osborne announced plans to sell the stake in Eurostar, a high-speed rail link between Britain and continental Europe, in October last year. More »

  • UK construction growth unexpectedly surges in February - PMI
    UK construction growth unexpectedly surges in February - PMI Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    Growth in Britain's construction industry jumped unexpectedly to a four-month high last month, adding to evidence Britain's economy started 2015 strongly, although building firms hired staff at the slowest pace in more than a year. Taken together, the PMI surveys will cheer finance minister George Osborne, who hopes strong economic growth over the last 18 months will persuade voters to hand his Conservative Party victory in a national election on May 7. Still, confidence among construction firms about the year ahead strengthened. "The latest survey highlights renewed vitality within the UK construction sector, as output growth picked up further from the soft patch seen at the end of 2014," said Tim Moore, senior economist at Markit. More »

  • UK manufacturing growth at seven-month high in February - PMI
    UK manufacturing growth at seven-month high in February - PMI Mon, Mar 2, 2015

    British manufacturing growth hit a seven-month high in February, according to a survey which adds to signs that Britain's economy started 2015 on a strong footing, albeit one based mostly on domestic demand. The survey will cheer finance minister George Osborne, who hopes strong economic growth over the last 18 months will persuade voters to hand his Conservative Party victory in a national election on May 7. "This reinforces the picture of a broader growth revival in the UK so far in the opening quarter," said Rob Dobson, senior economist at survey compiler Markit. News of a renewed fall in export orders further underlined Britain's reliance on domestic demand to drive the recovery. More »

  • Boris Draws Blank Over Kid's Football Question
    Boris Draws Blank Over Kid's Football Question Sun, Mar 1, 2015

    Boris Johnson has been forced to admit he doesn’t know which two London teams will play in a cup final this weekend – and took to Latin to defend the PM, during a grilling by school children. Robert Ebner-Statt, 9, had to tell Boris Johnson that it was two of his city's teams - Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur - playing in the Capital One league cup final at Wembley. Mr Johnson came unstuck over football during a grilling by children as part of Hotseat - a collaboration between Sky News and the national newspaper for young people, First News. While previous Hotseat guests, Chancellor George Osborne and Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, refused to answer basic timetables questions, Mr Johnson was asked about a different subject - Latin. More »

  • Lloyds Resumes Dividend As Profits Quadruple
    Lloyds Resumes Dividend As Profits Quadruple Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    Lloyds Banking Group is to pay a dividend for the first time since its taxpayer bailout after annual profits quadrupled to £1.76bn in 2014. It is a sign the bank's recovery plan is on track as the Treasury continues to slowly return Lloyds to private hands through share sales. Chancellor George Osborne said the payout was good news for millions of savers who hold Lloyds shares or have money invested in Lloyds through their pensions. However, there is likely to be a backlash against the Lloyds chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio, who is in line to net £11.5m in bonuses, including a £7m long-term award set three years ago which was linked to a recovery in the bank's share price. More »

  • Britain's would-be finance ministers sum up stark choice for voters
    Britain's would-be finance ministers sum up stark choice for voters Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    By David Milliken LONDON (Reuters) - The stark choice faced by Britons in May's national election is summed up nowhere more clearly than by the two men vying to be finance minister. The Conservatives' George Osborne, 43, and Labour's Ed Balls, 48, have helped define what their parties stand for. "We are getting a genuinely significant choice," said Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, a non-partisan think tank. Balls says Britain should focus more on boosting growth and living standards, and argues Osborne's strategy masks an ideological crusade to shrink the state. More »

  • EU Bill Claim 'Not Supported By Facts'
    EU Bill Claim 'Not Supported By Facts' Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    George Osborne's claim that he halved a £1.7bn EU surcharge in negotiations last year is "not supported by the facts", according to a report. Labour described the report by the cross-party House of Commons Treasury Committee as "damning", and called on the Chancellor to apologise. Chris Leslie, the party's Treasury spokesman, said the claim was "completely false". The EU bill, which related to a recalculation of Britain's gross national income dating back almost two decades, caused anger when it was issued in October. More »

  • Osborne went too far with claims of EU bill victory, say MPs
    Osborne went too far with claims of EU bill victory, say MPs Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    British finance minister George Osborne went too far with claims of victory in a row with the European Union over an increase in Britain's funding of the bloc, a group of MPs said on Friday. Last November, Osborne announced he had halved a surprise 2.1 billion-euro bill from the EU resulting from changes in the way the size of Europe's economies is measured. The increase had prompted a furious response from Prime Minister David Cameron and his increasingly Eurosceptic Conservative Party, six months before a national election in Britain set for May 7. In a report that may embarrass Osborne ahead of the election, the cross-party Treasury Select Committee said the facts did not fit with his claim of halving the bill. More »

  • EU surcharge cut claim false: study
    EU surcharge cut claim false: study Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    Chancellor George Osborne's claim to have halved a £1.7 billion EU surcharge in negotiations in Brussels last year is "not supported by the facts", a report has found. More »

  • Cameron still waiting for electoral gold from recovering economy
    Cameron still waiting for electoral gold from recovering economy Wed, Feb 25, 2015

    By William Schomberg LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron could hardly have asked for a better run of economic numbers ahead of May's tight election. Yet he and his Conservative Party are nervously waiting to see if they can count on the turnaround in the economy to deliver electoral gold. Chancellor George Osborne has even been showered with praise by Angel Gurria, head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, who told him on Tuesday: "My main message to you is: well done so far ... but finish the job." But while some recent opinion polls have shown the Conservatives edging ahead of the centre-left Labour opposition party, most still suggest that the election will be too close to call. British economic growth last year was the strongest among the world's rich nations. More »

  • Osborne warned on defence spending
    Osborne warned on defence spending Wed, Feb 25, 2015

    Allowing UK defence spending to fall below a Nato target would undermine Britain's credibility and embolden Vladimir Putin, the Tory chairman of the Commons Defence Committee has warned George Osborne. More »

  • 'Long term economic plan' hailed
    'Long term economic plan' hailed Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    George Osborne has won praise from a leading international think-tank for his "remarkable" stewardship of the economy. More »

  • British government body urges 3 percent rise in minimum wage
    British government body urges 3 percent rise in minimum wage Mon, Feb 23, 2015

    By David Milliken LONDON (Reuters) - A British government body recommended a 3 percent rise in the minimum wage on Monday, which would take it to 6.70 pounds ($10) an hour, the biggest real-terms increase since 2007. Although the wage rise is not due to take effect until October, the prospect of more pay could boost morale among Britain's lowest earners in the run-up to a national election in May, when the cost of living is likely to be a major issue. Britain's government usually follows the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission, and last year Chancellor George Osborne said he wanted the minimum wage to grow faster than inflation, to make up ground lost during the financial crisis. The government increased the minimum wage by 3 percent in 2014, but much lower inflation in 2015 means that workers will feel more of the benefit of this year's increase. More »

  • HSBC Boss Gulliver Explains His Swiss Account
    HSBC Boss Gulliver Explains His Swiss Account Mon, Feb 23, 2015

    Ed Balls has accused the Government of turning a "blind eye" by employing a former HSBC chairman, as the bank's current chief executive denied any wrongdoing amid revelations he had cash in the bank's private Swiss offshoot. The Guardian claimed CEO Stuart Gulliver - who announced the bank's full-year results this morning - kept $7.6m (£4.93m) via an account held by a Panamanian company. During an exchange in the House of Commons on Monday afternoon, shadow chancellor Mr Balls attacked George Osborne over the Government's record on HSBC. More »

  • UK raises 500 million pounds through sale of Lloyds shares
    UK raises 500 million pounds through sale of Lloyds shares Mon, Feb 23, 2015

    By Matt Scuffham LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's finance ministry has raised 500 million pounds through the sale of a further one percent stake in Lloyds Banking Group , cutting its holding to below 24 percent. The sale moves Lloyds another step towards a full return to private ownership after Britain pumped 20 billion pounds into the bank during the financial crisis of 2007 to 2009, leaving it with a 41 percent shareholding. "This is further progress in returning Lloyds Banking Group to private ownership, reducing our national debt and getting taxpayers’ money back," Britain's finance minister George Osborne said in a statement on Monday. UK Financial Investments (UKFI), which manages the government's stakes in bailed out banks, hired Morgan Stanley in December to sell Lloyds shares on the stock market through a "pre-arranged trading plan". More »

  • UK government sells 1% stake in Lloyds bank for £500 mn
    UK government sells 1% stake in Lloyds bank for £500 mn Mon, Feb 23, 2015

    Chancellor George Osborne uses a cash machine at a Lloyds Bank branch in London More »

  • Time running out for markets to rebuild trust - industry panel
    Time running out for markets to rebuild trust - industry panel Fri, Feb 20, 2015

    By Patrick Graham and Jamie McGeever EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Time is running out for the financial sector to show it can police itself adequately, root out market abusers and ultimately prevent recent market-rigging scandals from being repeated, an industry body said on Friday. Elizabeth Corley, chair of the cross-industry Market Practitioner Panel, said this should be done through harmonising stricter internal codes of conduct and giving banks the powers to sanction individuals, rather than through tighter regulation. The MPP on Friday published its recommendations to the Fair and Effective Markets Review established by British finance minister George Osborne (http://goo.gl/PQl8bC). Corley, who is also global chief executive officer at Allianz Global Investors, said the recent market-rigging scandals and other cases of market abuse are problems of individual conduct, not collective industry culture. More »

  • Osborne defends UK govt response to HSBC tax scandal
    Osborne defends UK govt response to HSBC tax scandal Fri, Feb 20, 2015

    British finance minister George Osborne on Friday defended his government's response to the scandal engulfing London-based HSBC bank, saying the matter should be left for tax officials to investigate. More »

  • More 24-Hour Rail Part Of £10bn London Plan
    More 24-Hour Rail Part Of £10bn London Plan Fri, Feb 20, 2015

    Chancellor George Osborne and London Mayor Boris Johnson have launched a government plan to put £10bn into London's transport infrastructure. Mr Johnson promised more 24-hour rail services in the capital where the first round of overnight Tube services are due to get under way soon. The proposals are part of a package of measures designed to help London stay ahead of New York and other cities in the coming years. Chancellor George Osborne and mayor Boris Johnson said 24-hour services would be expanded on the Tube and extended to London Overground and the Docklands Light Railway. More »

  • Osborne says data show UK back on track to meet borrowing goals
    Osborne says data show UK back on track to meet borrowing goals Fri, Feb 20, 2015

    LONDON (Reuters) - Britain is back on track to meet its full-year budget deficit reduction targets, after public finances data showed the largest surplus in seven years in January, Chancellor George Osborne said on Friday. "Today we learn that January saw the largest monthly surplus in the public finances since the crisis, putting us on track to meet our borrowing forecasts and halve the deficit as a share of GDP this year," Osborne said in a statement. (Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Kevin Liffey) More »

  • UK public finances improve, Osborne says on track to meet borrowing target
    UK public finances improve, Osborne says on track to meet borrowing target Fri, Feb 20, 2015

    British income tax receipts jumped in January, producing the biggest monthly surplus in seven years, and Chancellor George Osborne said the government was on track to meet its borrowing targets before May's national election. The Office for National Statistics reported a January public finance surplus, excluding banks, of 8.8 billion pounds, up 35 percent from a year earlier, but slightly short of a forecast surplus of 9.0 billion pounds in a Reuters poll. Income tax and capital gains tax revenues rose by 6.1 percent compared with a year earlier. The ONS said the revision reflected the inclusion of a European Union rebate to Britain as well as higher estimates of tax receipts and lower government spending. More »

  • Deferred Bonuses Hand Osborne Tax Windfall
    Deferred Bonuses Hand Osborne Tax Windfall Fri, Feb 20, 2015

    The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the surplus in January was up £2.3bn on the same month last year, thanks to record self-assessment income tax receipts of £12.3bn. The performance can be partly explained by top-rate income tax earners booking bonuses when the rate stood at 45%, following the Government's cut from 50% in April 2013. The Treasury is normally in the black in the first month of the year and the earnings took total borrowing for the fiscal year to date to £74bn, £6bn - or 7% lower - than the same period last year. Crucially for Chancellor George Osborne, it brings borrowing more in line with revised forecasts for the 12 months as a whole, which are published by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). More »

  • Osborne defends position on HSBC
    Osborne defends position on HSBC Fri, Feb 20, 2015

    George Osborne has defended his response to the HSBC scandal, insisting the Government was cracking down on tax dodgers but it would be wrong for him to interfere with HM Revenue and Customs investigations. More »

  • Public finance boost for Osborne
    Public finance boost for Osborne Fri, Feb 20, 2015

    George Osborne has received a boost in the last set of public finance figures before the Budget as bumper income tax receipts and a £3.6 billion revision helped him near his deficit target. More »

  • UK 'at risk from eurozone deadlock'
    UK 'at risk from eurozone deadlock' Fri, Feb 20, 2015

    The ongoing stand-off in the eurozone over Greece's debts poses a risk to Britain's economic stability, Chancellor George Osborne has warned. More »

  • Osborne urged to close tax loophole
    Osborne urged to close tax loophole Thu, Feb 19, 2015

    Campaigners have called on Chancellor George Osborne to use his final Budget of this Parliament to close a tax loophole for private equity firms which they estimate is costing the taxpayer up to £700 million a year. More »