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Osborne defends mortgage help scheme

LONDON (Reuters) - Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne defended the government's new mortgage guarantee scheme on Tuesday, saying the primary aim was to get mortgage credit flowing, not to lift property prices. "The objective of the scheme is to increase the availability of mortgages," Osborne told a parliamentary committee. He refused to be drawn on whether the scheme would boost house prices, as many commentators - including Britain's independent budget watchdog - have suggested.

Osborne defends austerity, says on right track

LONDON (Reuters) - Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne defended his austerity programme on Tuesday, saying tax cuts at the current juncture would jeopardise stability. "I'm clear the economic plan we're following is the right one," he told a parliamentary committee. Osborne noted that while economic growth has been disappointing, Britain's labour market has been surprisingly robust. "Our policy is monetary activism anchored by fiscal conservatism," he said.

BoE remit consultation would have created uncertainty - Osborne

LONDON (Reuters) - Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said on Tuesday he considered launching a consultation about changing the Bank of England's remit but decided against it on the grounds it would create too much uncertainty. In his annual budget last week, Osborne tweaked the central bank's remit to give it more leeway to focus on growth as well as inflation.

Osborne's homes package carries risks

By Brenda Goh LONDON (Reuters) - A British government plan to promote economic recovery by helping home-buyers carries some risk of fuelling a new housing bubble and incurring taxpayer losses, industry executives and analysts said on Thursday. Under the plan announced on Wednesday, the government will shoulder the risk of billions of pounds in mortgages by allowing Britons to buy homes with only small down payments.

Britain sticks to austerity path in budget

Britain will stick firmly to a barrage of austerity measures, finance minister George Osborne insisted Wednesday in a budget that also slashed economic growth forecasts, while offering plans to boost the weak economy as the eurozone crisis reignites. Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne, who is facing calls from within his own Conservative party to reduce deep cuts to state spending in a bid to fuel growth, told parliament that Britain "must hold to the right track."

Osborne infrastructure plans disappoint British industry

By Christine Murray LONDON (Reuters) - Government plans to increase infrastructure spending will not be nearly enough to fix Britain's infrastructure backlog, boost its ailing construction industry or kick-start growth, industry experts warned on Wednesday. Chancellor George Osborne said in his budget speech that he would spend an extra 3 billion pounds a year from 2015/16 on infrastructure projects.

Factbox - Key measures in 2013 budget

LONDON (Reuters) - Chancellor George Osborne delivered 2013 budget on Wednesday. Here are the main measures he introduced. BANK OF ENGLAND REMIT Osborne paved the way for changes at the Bank, asking it to report in August on the merits of setting "intermediate thresholds" for monetary policy. Such changes might make the Bank operate in a way similar to the U.S. Federal Reserve which has given increasingly explicit signs about how long it will continue to provide emergency stimulus to the U.S. economy.

Britain sticks to austerity path in budget

Britain will stick firmly to a barrage of austerity measures, finance minister George Osborne insisted Wednesday in a budget that also slashed economic growth forecasts, while offering plans to boost the weak economy as the eurozone crisis reignites. Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne, who is facing calls from within his own Conservative party to reduce deep cuts to state spending in a bid to fuel growth, told parliament that Britain "must hold to the right track."

Britain halves 2013 economic growth forecast to 0.6%

Britain on Wednesday halved its economic growth forecast for 2013, blaming the ongoing impact of the eurozone debt crisis, finance minister George Osborne revealed in his annual budget. Gross domestic product (GDP) was expected to grow by just 0.6 percent this year, half the previous forecast of 1.2 percent, according to estimates issued by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

UK to give shale gas field allowance - Osborne

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will introduce a generous field allowance for shale gas developments to tap new resources of low-cost energy, Chancellor George Osborne said on Wednesday. "Shale gas is part of the future and we will make it happen," he said whilst delivering his 2013 budget in parliament. By the summer, the government will also publish guidelines that lay out how local communities will benefit from their unconventional gas resources, he said.
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