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Osborne on 'continued austerity'

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One of the main credit ratings agencies has said the UK's triple-A status is under threat after the chancellor acknowledged yesterday that the government would miss its debt-reduction target.

In his Autumn Statement, George Osborne said the coalition's austerity measures would continue until 2018 - and he announced a squeeze on welfare benefits, most of which will rise by only one per cent a year for the next three years.

Speaking to Today presenter Evan Davis, Mr Osborne said that the rich will be paying more than anyone else to clear the budget deficit.

He explained that the top fifth of the population are paying more than 4% of their income, more than any other fifth of the population: "We are asking all parts of the population to make a contribution."

"You can't deal with the biggest budget deficit since the Second World War without asking for a general contribution from the whole population but as I say the richest 20% have paid the most," he added.

He went on to argue that the effect of the 4G licence receipts on borrowing figures is "a bit of a red herring".


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