UK finance minister George Osborne again under an unwelcome spotlight as UK inflation and borrowing numbers disappoint forecasts, just as he bids to put the controversy of his latest budget measures behind him. Ivor Bennett reports.
The chamber's known for being rowdy, and it didn't disappoint UK Finance minister George Osborne faced with a fierce reception for the defence of his budget. SOUNDBITE (English) GEORGE OSBORNE, UK FINANCE MINISTER, SAYING: "Where we've made a mistake, we listen and we learn. That's precisely what we've done." But is that enough? Scrapping planned cuts to disability benefits has helped dowse the political flames. But economically, he's still under fire. Inflation is refusing to rise - holding firm in February at just 0.3 percent. And a smaller than expected fall in borrowing has put the deficit target in doubt. Something Moody's said would put Britain's triple-A credit rating under pressure. Markets, though, for now are content. SOUNDBITE (English) CHRIS BEAUCHAMP, SENIOR MARKET ANALYST, IG, SAYING: "The mood music if you like from the UK government is that they continue to stick with, if not austerity, then restraint in spending. And that at least provides them with a bit more time I think to continue moving towards those targets in the future even if we do keep moving those goalposts." But that's not the only pitch Osborne's shooting on. In the Brexit debate, he's a pivotal player for the team in favour of staying. And that job just got harder too. Moody's saying in a separate report, that a vote to leave the EU would pose only a small risk to the economy.