Britain's new coalition government will announce an emergency budget next month aimed at "significantly reducing" the country's record deficit, Treasury chief George Osborne said Monday.
Osborne said the June 22 budget will set out the detail of plans to make sharp cuts to public spending.
"Deficit reduction and continuing to ensure economic recovery is the most urgent issue facing Britain," Osborne said, holding his first news conference since assuming his post. "We understand that, and we need to get moving."
Britain is grappling with a record 153 billion-pound ($236 billion) deficit following a deep 18-month recession during which about 1.3 million people were laid off and tens of thousands of people lost their homes.
"Last year our budget deficit was the largest it has ever been in our peacetime history, this year it is set to be among the largest the world," Osborne said.
"According to the IMF and the European Commission, it will be the largest in the G-7 and the largest in the European Union," he said. "This is the legacy of thirteen years of fiscal irresponsibility."
Osborne has previously announced that 6 billion pounds ($8.9 billion) of government waste will be cut this year.
He said the new government, which took office last week, will review all decisions on spending made in 2010 by the ousted Labour Party administration.
It will also cancel a planned rise in national insurance contributions — a payroll tax levied on employers and their workers.
"The last few weeks have shown quite how urgent the necessary action has become," Osborne said. "Greece is a reminder of what happens when governments lack the willingness to act decisively and quickly, and when problems are swept under the carpet."
Osborne, a Conservative Party lawmaker, spoke with reporters alongside his Liberal Democrat deputy David Laws.
The emergency budget will "contain measures to boost enterprise, create a fairer tax system, and demonstrate to the world that Britain is open for business," Osborne said.
He said the Treasury will hand over responsibility for economic forecasts to a new, independent, Office for Budget Responsibility, headed by Alan Budd — a former member of the Bank of England monetary policy committee.
"We need to fix the budget to fit the figures, not fix the figures to fit the budget," Osborne said.
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