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George Osborne waited until the depths of winter to deliver his fourth Autumn Statement. Yet the Chancellor was still on the front foot. Buoyed by upbeat new growth forecasts, Osborne presented fiscal numbers much improved on those in his March budget. This UK recovery, though, is extremely fragile and may not be sustained. And our country remains deep in the fiscal mire.

Thursday’s Commons set-piece was a political triumph for Osborne. This was inevitable, given the better economic backdrop. The Office for Budget Responsibility more than doubled its 2013 GDP growth forecast to 1.4pc, up from 0.6pc in March. Next year’s prediction accelerates to 2.4pc, said the OBR, up from 1.8pc nine months ago.
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