Osborne's options on spending squeeze
- 26 February 2016
- From the section EU Referendum
If coping with internal struggles over the European Union wasn't enough, the government has a Budget to contend with within the next three weeks.
And with economic wobbles around the world - like here in China - George Osborne dramatically warned today that he might have to make further spending cuts when he stands at the despatch box on 16 March.
It's just been confirmed that the size of the British economy is smaller than had been thought, and Britain is - however mildly - very likely to be affected by the slowdown in other countries.
The chancellor wants to keep to his self-imposed rule of getting the books into surplus by the end of the Parliament. He could relax that rule and slow down the pace of the cuts but that's not what appears to be on his agenda.
Instead, it seems he'd rather find the money somewhere.
He wouldn't say where he'd look for cuts, but you can assume departments ministers have already pledged to protect will be safe from further austerity.
That of course means potentially tighter squeezes elsewhere.
Mr Osborne ruled out significant tax rises and don't anticipate that he is looking to make dramatic increases to the level of cuts. He said his first target will be further efficiencies in Whitehall.
But there is no sign whatsoever that the chancellor and this government will be able to leave behind the spending squeeze that defined so much of their early years in charge.