Have your say: 2014 will be ‘the year of hard truths’, says chancellor

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne Photo: Andrew Cowie/PA Wire

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne Photo: Andrew Cowie/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Chancellor George Osborne has set out plans to cut a further £25 billion from public spending - including £12 billion from benefits - after the 2015 election, as he said that the size of the state and the welfare system must become 'permanently smaller'.

The comments came in a speech in which Mr Osborne said 2014 was the 'year of hard truths', warning voters that only further austerity measures can pay for tax cuts and better job prospects.

He claimed that Labour was 'simply not being straight with people' by suggesting that there was a 'magic wand' which would allow a chancellor to spend more on public services.

In the first major political speech of the New Year, Mr Osborne sought to draw clear economic dividing lines with Labour ahead of next year's general election, insisting that the Government's economic plan is working, but that more time was needed to 'finish the job'.

'Thanks to the hard work of the British people, our economy is on the mend - and our country is doing better,' said Mr Osborne.

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'But what was hard won can be easily lost. So we have a choice in 2014. We can give up, go back to square one, risk everything.

'Or we can confront the hard truth that more difficult decisions are needed - and work through the plan that is turning Britain around. I say: 'let's finish the job'.'

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• Do you agree with the chancellor's announcement, or is there a better way to improve the economy? Tell us your view below, take part in the online poll, or email ben.woods@archant.co.uk

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