George Osbornes speech promised a future just as bleak as the past

With no war chest to raid before next years general election the chancellor could promise little but more austerity

More spending cuts. A freeze on welfare benefits. A message to Google and Amazon to pay their taxes or else. This was not the speech George Osborne would have hoped to deliver with a general election little more than seven months away.

Why? Because in normal times, parliaments have their own rhythm. Chancellors get heavy in the first couple of years, raising taxes and cutting spending so that they have a war chest to raid as polling day approaches.

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