Osborne's statement on the economy - live blog

Minute-by-minute coverage of the Chancellor's statement to the Commons.

Stay tuned for live coverage from 1pm. Press F5 or refresh to update the page.

13.07: Looks like the Q&A session following David Cameron's statement on public disorder has run over, so George Osborne hasn't started speaking yet.

14.19: Osborne is finally speaking now. In the last month, the FTSE 100 has fallen by 16 per cent, he says. But he boasts that the yields on UK gilts have fallen and claims it as a "huge vote of confidence" in Britain.

14:21: Osborne gets political, attacking "the folly" of those who said we were going "too far and too fast". A slower pace of cuts would have been "too little, too late," he argues.

14.22: This is the most dangerous time for the global economy since 2008, says Osborne. The overhang of debt means the recovery will not be as fast as expected.

14.24: Events have vindicated the coalition's decision to take "swift and decisive action" on the deficit, Osborne says. He repeats his new boast that Britain is a "safe haven" in the global storm.

14.26: Eurozone countries need to accept the "remorseless logic" of monetary union leading to greater fiscal union, argues Osborne. Many have long advanced this as a reason for Britain staying out of the euro and "thank God we did," the Chancellor says. He adds that the break-up of the single currency would be "economically disastrous" for countries including Britain.

14.30: We need a "new model of growth," says Osborne. Given that the economy has grown by just 0.2 per cent over the last nine months, who wouldn't agree with him?

14:31: Ed Balls is speaking now. He begins by noting a rare point of agreement with Osborne. We were right not to join the euro.

14.32: Austerity is not working in Europe, says the shadow chancellor. Osborne should take the lead in developing a new plan for growth.

14.33: Noting that Osborne has many friends in the Tea Party movemen, Balls asks him if he is on the side of the US Federal Reserve or on the side of those VInce Cable attacked as "right-wing nutters".

14.35: Osborne's "reckless plans" have ripped out the foundations of the house and left Britain exposed, Balls says.

14.37: Falling bond yields are a sign of stagnation, not confidence, says Balls. He quotes Paul Krugman: "The wolf is at the door but Osborne thinks it is the confidence fairy".

14:39: Balls ends by repeating his call for a temporary VAT cut and says Osborne cannot remain in denial.

14.40: Osborne's reply begins with a joke: "I did go to California and meet Mickey Mouse and he seems to be writing Labour's economic policy at the moment."

14.41: The deficit reduction plan announced by Obama is as fast and as deep as the UK government's, claims Osborne.

14.42: Where is Labour's "tough deficit reduction" plan, asks Osborne. We have just heard Labour MP after Labour MP attack the cuts.

14.43: Osborne ends with a flourish. Balls is "almost alone in the world" in arguing for higher spending. He is "completely irrelevant" to where the international debate has gone, and is "living proof" of why the public will never again trust Labour with their money.

14.45: David Miliband asks Osborne if he has seen private sector forecasts suggesting that a 0.4 per cent reduction in growth will make it impossible for him to meet his target of eliminating the structural deficit by 2015.

14.46: Osborne replies by noting that the latest IMF report said he would meet his target even if growth was lower-than-expected. He cheekily adds that Labour would be in a "much more credible place" if David Miliband had delivered the leaders' speech.

14.47: We're going to end the live blog here. Thanks for reading.

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Labour must learn the secrets of the Scottish Conservatives

 A Faustian pact with the SNP is not the short cut back to power some in Labour think it is. 

If Labour wants to recover as a political force, in Scotland or nationally, it must do the hard work of selling voters on a British, progressive party. But some in both the SNP and Labour sense a shortcut - a "progressive alliance"

Progressives might be naturally cautious about taking advice from a Conservative, but anybody covering Scottish politics for a Tory website is very familiar with life in the doldrums. And there are a few things to be learnt down there. 

First, as Scottish Labour members will tell anyone who listens, the SNP talk an excellent progressive game, particularly on any area where they’re in opposition. But in government the Nationalists have simply navigated by two stars - differentiating Scotland from England to the greatest extent possible, and irritating as few people as possible, all in order to engineer support for independence.

Independence itself would, according to nearly all objective assessments, involve a sharp adjustment in Scottish public expenditure, and painful consequences for those who depend on it. Yet this does little to dent the SNP’s enthusiasm. All their political reasoning is worked out backwards from that overriding goal.

There is no reason to believe that the nationalists' priorities at Westminster would be any different. Joining the SNP in "progressive alliance" would be a poison pill for Labour. 

For the larger party would be in a double bind. Govern cautiously, respecting the relative weakness of the left in England and Wales, and the SNP will paint its coalition partner as "Red Tory", taking credit for whatever was popular in Scotland and disowning the rest. 

But drive through a more radical programme with SNP votes (presumably after dismantling "English Votes for English Laws"), and risk permanently alienating huge sections of the electorate south of the border. Those Miliband-in-Salmond’s-pocket pictures would be just the start.

Scottish Labour is familiar with the reality of the SNP in power. But that's not to say it isn't making its own mistakes. Too often, it tries to strike the same sort of bargain with small-n nationalism.

Constitutionally-focused politics isn’t kind to social democrats, as Irish Labour will tell you. So it’s clear why Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale would wish to believe that there is a split-the-difference constitutional position which would, as this article has it, offer “an escape from the black and white world of referendum politics”.

But incantations about "federalism" and "home rule" aren’t going to save Labour. They’re an attempt to appeal to everybody, and are neither intellectually nor politically adequate to the challenge facing the party.

Holyrood is already one of the most powerful sub-state legislatures on earth, so "federalism" is at this point mostly a question of how England is run. If “more powers” were actually going to stop nationalism, we’d have seen some evidence of it during the last 20 years.

And as political tactics go, it won’t woo back voters whom the SNP have persuaded that independence is a progressive cause, but it will alienate voters who care about the union.

Here, Scottish Labour should learn from the Conservatives. The leader in Scotland, Ruth Davidson, realised that voters were always going to have better non-Conservative options on the ballot paper than the Tories, so there was no way back that didn’t involve selling voters on Conservatism. A new Conservatism in important respects, but nonetheless a British, centre-right party.

Labour too must recognise that they are never going to be a more appealing option than the SNP to voters who believe separatism is a good idea. Instead, they must sell voters on what they are: a British, centre-left party. The progressive case for Britain, and against independence, is there to be made.

Labour needs to sell the United Kingdom, and the Britishness underlying it, as a progressive force. As long as left-wing voters remain attached to independence and the SNP, despite all the implications, Labour will be marginalised and the union in danger. 

Henry Hill is assistant editor of ConservativeHome, and has written their Red, White, and Blue column on Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland since 2013. Follow him @HCH_Hill.