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Tag Archives: UK trade deficit

George Osborne is just back from a five-day trip to China. The chancellor shook hundreds of hands and travelled thousands of miles to encouraging deeper trade links between the UK and the People’s Republic. As such, he now stands accused of kowtowing to the Chinese. I’d say such criticism is nonsense.

I’m no Osborne cheerleader. This column often highlights, for instance, the gulf between the Treasury’s “austerity” rhetoric and what’s actually happening to our public finances. While the annual budget deficit has fallen from the mind-blowing 11.4pc of GDP the Chancellor inherited in 2010, it remains huge at 5.7pc of national income – higher than when the UK went cap-in-hand to the International Monetary Fund in 1976.
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George Osborne is in “I told you so” mode. Much to the Chancellor’s satisfaction, the International Monetary Fund has just upgraded its UK growth forecast for 2014 to 2.9pc – suggesting Britain will this year grow faster than any other G7 economy.

Just twelve months ago, with the UK in danger of triple-dip recession, the IMF reprimanded Osborne for “playing with fire”, urging him to abandon attempts to consolidate Britain’s public finances and speed up government spending instead.
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