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Autumn Statement: Osborne pledges budget surplus by 2019

 Autumn Statement: Osborne pledges budget surplus by 2019

The UK will move into a budget surplus by 2019, chancellor George Osborne has pledged in the Autumn Statement.

Announcing figures from the Office of Budget Responsibility, he said that the deficit in 2013 would be 6.8% of GDP instead of the previously forecast 7.5%. It is then forecast to fall to 5.6% in 2014, until reaching a surplus by 2018/19.

Borrowing will hit £111 billion this year, before falling to £96 billion in 2014, £79 billion in 2015 and £51 billion in 2016 and £23 billion in 2017.

Osborne also said that debt as a percentage of GDP would fall in 2016/17, though he admitted it would rise in the next few years. The debt to GDP ratio is now forecast to be 75.5% in 2013, 78.3% in 2014, and 80% in 2015. It will then drop in successive years to 79.9%, then 78.4%, followed by 75.9%.

In delivering the statement, Osborne said: 'The forecast shows that growth is up, productivity is up…jobs are up and unemployment is down.'

'An improving economy does not let us of the hook. We will not let up in dealing with our country’s debt… or squander the hard-earned gains of the British public.'

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