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UK's Osborne pressed for more detail over failed Lloyds branch sale

LONDON (Reuters) - British finance minister George Osborne was on Thursday pressed for more details about the government's involvement in a collapsed deal to sell hundreds of Lloyds Banking Group <LLOY.L> branches to the Co-operative Bank <42TE.L>. Lawmakers conducting an inquiry into the planned sale, which fell through in April last year, are trying to establish whether undue political pressure was applied to Lloyds or regulators to sell 631 high-street branches to the Co-op.

Britain's Osborne unveils Brazil investment push

British finance minister George Osborne unveiled plans Monday to ramp up exports to Latin America, as he embarked on a visit to World Cup and Olympic hosts Brazil. Despite the Latin American giant of some 200 million being the world's seventh-largest economy, Brazil was the destination of just one percent of British exports last year -- leaving Britain trailing behind EU neighbors Germany, France and Italy.

Britain's Osborne unveils Brazil investment push

British finance minister George Osborne unveiled plans Monday to ramp up exports to Latin America, as he embarked on a visit to World Cup and Olympic hosts Brazil. Despite the Latin American giant of some 200 million being the world's seventh-largest economy, Brazil was the destination of just one percent of British exports last year -- leaving Britain trailing behind EU neighbors Germany, France and Italy.

UK's Osborne says 'profoundly concerned' about insurance leak

LONDON (Reuters) - British finance minister George Osborne said on Tuesday he was "profoundly concerned" about the way news of a review of Britain's insurance sector caused the share price of insurance firms to fall sharply last week. In a letter to the chairman of Britain's Financial Conduct Authority, Osborne said the regulator's inquiry into the leak had to be "completely independent" of its top management.

British annual growth downgraded to 1.7%

Britain's economy expanded by 1.7 percent last year, down slightly from a previous estimate, but was still the strongest growth since before the financial crisis, official data showed on Friday. Gross domestic product for 2013 was down from a previous estimate of 1.8 percent, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement. GDP grew by an unrevised 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 compared with activity in the previous three month period, the ONS added.

UK's Treasury chief says voters will share in the prosperity to come - just not yet

LONDON - Austerity remains the U.K. government's mantra, Treasury chief George Osborne said Wednesday — even as he lauded the stronger than expected economic recovery. With one eye on the general election in just over a year, Osborne sought to sweeten his budget statement with an effective tax cut for all and sweeping changes to the country's pensions and savings. But there were no big giveaways, with promises like that likely for the run-up to the election.

Britain hikes growth forecasts in pre-election boost

Britain's economy will grow faster than expected in the run-up to next year's general election, finance minister George Osborne said Wednesday in a vote-chasing budget aimed at wooing pensioners and savers. Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne hiked his 2014 and 2015 economic growth forecasts and cut his borrowing targets, but vowed to maintain austerity as he addressed parliament on the coalition government's tax and spending plans.

British government, eye on election, offers help to savers, factories, brewers

By William Schomberg and David Milliken LONDON (Reuters) - British finance minister George Osborne courted voters ahead of an election in 2015 with promises of help for savers, tax breaks for manufacturers and lower levies on beer and bingo. In an upbeat annual budget statement, Osborne announced upgrades to official forecasts for the country's economic growth, although he stressed he would stick to his belt-tightening plans which will include a cap on welfare spending.

British budget set to mark election battle lines

Britain's finance minister George Osborne will on Wednesday spell out his government's spending plans for the coming year, with another dose of austerity likely to be offset by some tax perks. Although Britain's economic recovery and inflation figures have exceeded expectation, worries about stagnating investment and productivity mean that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is likely to stick to tough public-spending targets ahead of next year's general election as he grapples with a £109.5 billion ($181.7 billion, 130.4 billion euros) deficit.

UK Treasury chief to order more spending cuts to get deficit in line

LONDON - Britain's Treasury chief offered a dampened view of the economy on Monday, warning that substantial savings must be gleaned from welfare cuts if the country is to eliminate the deficit. The British economy has been enjoying a stronger recovery than most European countries, but George Osborne noted there are still big underlying problems. He said 2014 is to be the "year of hard truths" and that the country faces a choice.
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