"Storm clouds are gathering again" – Osborne on UK Budget

Britain cuts its corporation tax and close VAT loophole for multinationals...

"Storm clouds are gathering again" – Osborne on UK Budget

The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne (Press Association)

British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne delivered an austere budget on Wednesday afternoon, as the UK growth outlook worsened and increased borrowing was announced.

Warning that "storm clouds" were gathering once again, he downgraded UK growth forecasts from 2.4% to just 2% in 2016.

Sluggish growth is set to continue for a number of years, before Britain can look forward to a projected surplus of £10.4 billion in 2019/20.

He said that he had rejected "dangerous advice" to increase the country's spending.

Osborne will further reduce Britain's corporation tax from 20% to 17% by April 2020. His second such cut in a year brings the rate closer to competition with Ireland's much-discussed 12.5% figure.

Funding this will be fresh restrictions to the tax deductibility of interest against corporate tax.

Osborne said: "Some multinationals deliberately over borrow in the UK to fund activities abroad, and then deduct the interest bills against their UK profits.

"So from April next year we will restrict interest deductibility for the largest companies at 30% of UK earnings, while making sure firms use activities just to justify higher borrowing are protected".

The loophole that allows multinationals doing business in Britain to avoid paying VAT is set to be closed.

Responding to the budget, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called it the "culmination of six years of [Osborne]'s failures" and decried the "unfairness at its very core".
Corbyn said:
"Growth is revised down last year, this year and every year that's forecast - business investment is revised down, government investment revised down.
"It was a very good thing that the Chancellor was blaming the last government because he was the Chancellor in the last government".