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Page last updated at 08:03 GMT, Tuesday, 17 August 2010 09:03 UK

Osborne: Fiscal responsibility 'is fundamentally progressive'

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The Chancellor of the Exchequer has set out how "difficult" government spending cuts following the government spending review will be both necessary and "fundamentally progressive".

Speaking to Evan Davis, George Osborne said that protecting the NHS and international development budget are progressive decisions, despite the repercussions for other departments.

And creating a simpler welfare system would also be a progressive move, he said, downplaying the perceived rift with Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith over the high costs of implementing such a reform.

"It is not a question of the cost of the reform, it's a question of the reform leading to a fundamentally fairer society where people are taken off a lifetime of benefits," he said.

"That is massively cheaper for our country if we can achieve it".

But progressive politics, he said, also extended to cutting the government deficit.

"Not living beyond your means is fundamentally progressive and fair," he said.

"I want, fundamentally, a child born at the end of this period of government to have better life chances than a child born at the beginning of this government.

"I also want to make sure that child is not burdened with debts that this generation were not prepared to pay off".


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