Osborne: I'll lose my child benefit too

The next Budget will be on March 23rd, the chancellor confirmed
The next Budget will be on March 23rd, the chancellor confirmed

By Alex Stevenson and Ian Dunt

George Osborne has defended himself against criticism of his spending cuts by insisting he will be just as affected as a normal member of the public.

Appearing in front of the Treasury committee today, the chancellor also confirmed that the next Budget would be held on March 23rd next year.

"I lose my child benefit," Mr Osborne said, after being questioned by Ed Miliband's private secretary, Chuka Umunna.

"Like everyone else who's a higher-rate taxpayer, from 2013 you lose your child benefit."

Mr Umunna asked: "Is that going to affect your way of life?"

A clearly riled Mr Osborne replied: "I've noticed in these encounters you often play the man, not the ball."

Mr Osborne's decision to conform the date so far in advance reflects a new trend to keep timetables transparent at the Treasury.

Chancellors had previously tended to keep the exact date up their sleeve until the last minute, but having broken with this tradition for the comprehensive spending review Mr Osborne confirmed he is planning on doing the same for future events.

He called the UK economy's recovery "choppy" and criticised financial data on Whitehall as being "shockingly weak".

"The Treasury may be guilty of many things but I'm not sure it's got a weakness in terms of that kind of analytical ability," Osborne said.

"This is not a perfect science, we didn't claim it is."

He added: "What we hope to do is stimulate a debate in international circles. This is work that I want to see developed, so instead of there being an argument about the methodology there is an argument about the actual policy measures."

The chancellor denied claims that the comprehensive spending review was regressive, despite committee chair Andrew Tyrie suggesting to him that he was guilty of "overegging" his rhetoric.

"The richest pay more than the poorest, not just in cash terms, but as a proportion of their income," Mr Osborne insisted.


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