George Osborne said Britain is on the right track and turning back now would be a disaster
Chancellor George Osborne has urged Britons to make more sacrifices to reduce the country's debt, indicating an extended period of spending cuts and tax rises.
Writing in the Sun ahead of his Autumn Statement, dubbed as a mini budget, to be presented at the House of Commons on 5 December, Osborne noted that though the country is on the right track in tackling the budget deficit, taking a U-turn now would be disastrous.
Osborne has been criticised for his ongoing austerity measures and is facing a dilemma over announcing more spending cuts or delaying the debt target.
The chancellor said that the country is on the right track, with the deficit reduced by a quarter in just two years.
But, "the scale of the challenge has been greater than anyone thought. As a result it is taking longer than we hoped to put things right," Osborne wrote.
In defence of his stringent economic policies, which are likely to continue, he said that all sectors will be required to accept benefit cuts or higher taxes.
"Everyone must make a contribution to dealing with our debts, from the richest in our society to those living a life on benefits."
"Every one of my budgets has raised more from the richest. The situation under Labour, where top City people were paying lower tax rates than their cleaners, has been ended. And we are hunting down those who evade tax. But fairness isn't just about taxing the rich. It's also about ending the something-for-nothing benefits culture."
There were media reports that Osborne is likely to announce plans to cap the pension benefits of high earners and to boost Britain's underdeveloped shale gas industry.
In an article for the Sunday Mirror, Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls was critical of George Osborne's policies, saying they helped only the rich.
"We need a change of course from David Cameron and George Osborne. When the medicine makes the patient sicker, you don't just take more of it. We need to change the medicine, or change the doctor."
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