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MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) - 03/12/2012

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(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Britain's Finance Secretary George Osborne indicated here on Sunday that curbing the UK's financial deficit was "taking longer" than planned.

Osborne told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that government was making progress and that to "turn back now would be a complete disaster." The British minister, who is to deliver his Autumn Statement on Wednesday, noted that "well-off people would pay their fair share." The government coalition has set a target of reducing debt as a share of national income by the next general election, due in 2015.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), UK's public sector net borrowing, excluding financial interventions, hit GBP 8.6 billion in last October, marking a rise from the GBP 5.9 billion borrowed in October 2011.
However, the ONS confirmed last week that the UK's economy had grown by one percent during the third quarter of current year, following a recession lasting nine months.

In the same context, Osborne refused to disclose any details of the economic forecasts from the independent Office for Budget Responsibility, which will be unveiled during Wednesday's statement.
"We had two targets. One was to get debt share falling as a share of national income by 2015/16, and also to balance the current budget," said Osborne.

Also, the British Chancellor noted that "It is clearly taking longer to deal with Britain's debts," adding that "it is clearly taking longer to recover from the financial crisis than one would have hoped, but we have made real progress." He said that some people were calling for more borrowing and others for more spending cuts, but the government "had got the right plan and we should stick to that plan." According to the Sunday Times, the chancellor is poised to cut the GBP 50, 000 annual tax relief cap on pension contributions to as little as GBP 30,000 in his Autumn Statement.

It said that the change, affecting the wealthiest pension pots, would reportedly bring in up to GBP 1.8 billion a year.


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