James Moore: Ease off from cuts and let the economy breathe
Outlook It's not only his Banking Commission that's causing Mr Osborne an unexpected migraine. Yesterday's public sector borrowing figures added weight to the view that he's more likely to persuade members of the commission to lie down and have their tummies tickled than he is to meet his public sector borrowing targets.
Monthly figures have to be treated with a degree of caution but the £8.6bn he had to cadge to make Britain's books balance in October confirms a nasty-looking trend that will take more than yet another dose of quantitative co-proxamol from the Bank of England to ease.
The figure is £2.7bn worse than that recorded in October last year and £2.6bn worse than the City's consensus forecast. Dr Osborne will outline his prescription for dealing with the problem in his Autumn statement and the chances are it will be more of the same.
For which read cuts, or exactly what a shaky economy doesn't need because they'll strip confidence and cash from consumers who are already feeling the squeeze.
It's true that Mr Osborne was dealt a rotten hand when he came into office. The last government ran an enormous deficit when the economy was rosy, leaving nothing set aside for when things got sticky. Gordon Brown's golden rule was made of the fool's stuff and Mr Osborne has been left with the mess.
His best bet would be to ignore the latest setback, and the fact that he is going to miss his targets, and give the economy a little breathing room.
If he does that the situation may begin to improve on its own. It's not as if Britain's borrowing costs are high, and as for the much vaunted triple-A credit rating, who cares? The market makes its own mind up these days.
Unfortunately just doing nothing like this would require Mr Osborne to demonstrate that he has a little more flexibility than he has so far shown he possesses.
- 1 Rihanna's Met Gala dress took one Chinese woman 2 years to make, was reduced to omelette meme in 2 seconds
- 2 Qataris pledge to expand Canary Wharf
- 3 #JeSuisEd: People share photos of themselves eating awkwardly in solidarity with Labour leader
- 4 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
- 5 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
#JeSuisEd: People share photos of themselves eating awkwardly in solidarity with Labour leader
Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
UK election candidates: 'Nasty party' Ukip faces fresh questions on eve of vote
Who should I vote for in the general election? Take The Independent's interactive quiz to find out which party's the right choice for you
Ohio 'Shawshank Redemption' fugitive Frank Freshwater arrested after 56 years on the run
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
General election live: Booths open at 7am across the country on polling day
iJobs Money & Business
£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...
£27 - 35k + Bonus + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Management Accountant is needed ...
£40-50k + Benefits.: Guru Careers: A Project Manager / Business Analyst is nee...