Chancellor George Osborne MP admitted the economic recovery is ‘taking longer than anyone had hoped’ after the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) said growth would be around 0.6% in 2013.
The admission was met with loud jeers from the opposition, prompting the Speaker of the House to jump in and ask members: “Let’s not this become the circus of the day.”
In what was a lively start to this year’s Budget, Mr Osborne said that people had previously felt that the whole system was tilted against those who did the right thing.
The OBR is predicting growth of 1.8% in 2014, 2.3% in 2015, 2.7% in 2016 and 2.8% in 2017.
He said: “These are the very people we must support if Britain is to have a prosperous future. For those who aspire to get their first job….. or start their own business. It is a budget for our aspiration nation. The forecast for OBR reminds us of the economic challenge at home and abroad.”
Osborne reminded the house that the OBR predicts that the eurozone will remain in recession throughout 2013 and said this could affect Britain harshly.
He added: “The underlying situation in the eurozone remains very fragile. Another bout of economic storms in the eurozone would hit Britain’s economic prospects hard. There is a huge effort to grow Britain’s trade.
“We are still very exposed to what happens on the continent. Domestic demand was stronger than forecast.”
Osborne said borrowing would fall from £159 billion this year to £114 billion next year – a drop of £45 billion.