George Osborne said the UK would be a country that “lives within its means” as he stuck by his target to move the public finances into surplus by 2020 and unveiled an upgraded growth forecast for the next two years.
The Chancellor said new independent forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) showed the UK would narrowly beat its borrowing goal this year and move “out of the red and into the black” in 2019/20 with a slightly higher-than-expected £10.1 billion surplus.
But he revealed that previous forecasts from the OBR given at the time of the Summer Budget in July have been revised up, helping him meet the target for borrowing in 2015/16.
And while growth forecasts were maintained for 2015 at 2.4% and nudged higher to 2.4% in 2016 and 2.5% in 2017, Mr Osborne said the outlook has been trimmed in 2019 and 2020.
The OBR forecasts have delivered a £27 billion boost to the public finances over the forecast period thanks to £8 billion less of borrowing and higher tax receipts, according to Mr Osborne.
He said: “Since 2010, no economy in the G7 has grown faster than Britain.
“We are growing three times faster than Japan, twice as fast as France, faster than Germany and the same as the United States.”
He added: “We are borrowing £8 billion less than we expected overall and we will reach a bigger surplus while at the same time helping working families.”
“We have the economic security of knowing our country is paying its way in the world,” he said.