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.

Ukip's Nigel Farage and Paul Nuttall. Photo: Getty
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Is the general election 2017 the end of Ukip?

Ukip led the way to Brexit, but now the party is on less than 10 per cent in the polls. 

Ukip could be finished. Ukip has only ever had two MPs, but it held an outside influence on politics: without it, we’d probably never have had the EU referendum. But Brexit has turned Ukip into a single-issue party without an issue. Ukip’s sole remaining MP, Douglas Carswell, left the party in March 2017, and told Sky News’ Adam Boulton that there was “no point” to the party anymore. 

Not everyone in Ukip has given up, though: Nigel Farage told Peston on Sunday that Ukip “will survive”, and current leader Paul Nuttall will be contesting a seat this year. But Ukip is standing in fewer constituencies than last time thanks to a shortage of both money and people. Who benefits if Ukip is finished? It’s likely to be the Tories. 

Is Ukip finished? 

What are Ukip's poll ratings?

Ukip’s poll ratings peaked in June 2016 at 16 per cent. Since the leave campaign’s success, that has steadily declined so that Ukip is going into the 2017 general election on 4 per cent, according to the latest polls. If the polls can be trusted, that’s a serious collapse.

Can Ukip get anymore MPs?

In the 2015 general election Ukip contested nearly every seat and got 13 per cent of the vote, making it the third biggest party (although is only returned one MP). Now Ukip is reportedly struggling to find candidates and could stand in as few as 100 seats. Ukip leader Paul Nuttall will stand in Boston and Skegness, but both ex-leader Nigel Farage and donor Arron Banks have ruled themselves out of running this time.

How many members does Ukip have?

Ukip’s membership declined from 45,994 at the 2015 general election to 39,000 in 2016. That’s a worrying sign for any political party, which relies on grassroots memberships to put in the campaigning legwork.

What does Ukip's decline mean for Labour and the Conservatives? 

The rise of Ukip took votes from both the Conservatives and Labour, with a nationalist message that appealed to disaffected voters from both right and left. But the decline of Ukip only seems to be helping the Conservatives. Stephen Bush has written about how in Wales voting Ukip seems to have been a gateway drug for traditional Labour voters who are now backing the mainstream right; so the voters Ukip took from the Conservatives are reverting to the Conservatives, and the ones they took from Labour are transferring to the Conservatives too.

Ukip might be finished as an electoral force, but its influence on the rest of British politics will be felt for many years yet. 

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