Ahead of this week's Budget announcement, UK Chancellor George Osborne has said he will be making more cuts to public spending as the country needs to "act now rather than pay later". Writing in the Sun on Sunday, Osborne claimed the UK is facing the "most uncertain period since the Great Recession" and is now balancing a growing cocktail of risks.
Additionally, speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, 13 March, he claimed the UK has now got to "live within its means" and admitted: "we are going to have to make more savings".
Describing the swingeing cuts as "not a huge amount in the scheme of things", Osborne maintained he will be investing in 'public priorities' such as defence and the NHS while at the same time "not spending more than the country can afford".
Osborne said the Budget will "set out the clear direction" the UK must take to get through the current period of uncertainty – citing political instability in the Middle East and the economic slow-down in China as two of the reasons the world's economy is slowing down.
"It's been the worst start to a year on stock markets for almost half a century," he said. "Many emerging countries are struggling and many of the other advanced economies of the West are stuck in the doldrums. In short, the hopes of a stronger global recovery have evaporated."
Osborne claimed that the government's long-term austerity plan has softened the blow of the incoming cuts and made the UK "better prepared" for the impact of further curbs on public spending.
"In Wednesday's Budget, we need to take action to make sure we follow that plan and remain secure. So we're going to need to look for more savings in the public spending, so the country lives within its means… It won't be easy, but I am determined to make sure that despite the gloomier global picture we keep taking the right decisions to keep Britain prosperous and secure," he said.
Referencing the upcoming EU referendum set to be held on 23 June, Osborne wrote that now would be "the worst time to add to that uncertainty [in the world economy] by leaving the Union".
"Everyone from the governor of the Bank of England to some campaigning for exit admit that leaving would cause a real economic shock," he said. "Our EU membership gives us access to the biggest free trade single market in the world, and all the jobs and lower prices that brings.
"As a trading economy, we can't cut ourselves off from what's happening out there in the world."
The Budget is set to be released by the Chancellor on Wednesday, 16 March.