Chancellor George Osborne. Photo: WPA Pool Getty Images News
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What is the deficit?

The deficit is the gap between government spending and income.

If a government doesn’t raise enough funds – mainly through taxes – to meet what it spends, it results in a deficit.

A deficit is often a symptom of a recession, as more money is spent on help such as unemployment benefits or even targeted bailouts to private companies (such as the money given to UK banks in 2008, which totalled around £500bn).

To make up the shortfall, countries often borrow money, creating national debt. The deficit is therefore an indication of how a country’s finances are doing in the short term; the national debt is a longer-term picture.

During the first financial quarter of 2015, the UK government debt amounted to £1.56trn, over 80 per cent of GDP.

The deficit in the last quarter of 2014 was £25.3 billion, down from £27.7bn in the third quarter. (Source: Office of National Statistics)

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Britain's largest communications union to affiliate to Momentum

The CWU, one of Corbyn's earliest backers, will formally affliate to the organisation.

One of Labour’s largest trade unions is set to affiliate to Momentum after the ruling executive of the Communications Workers Union voted unanimously to join the organisation.

The CWU, Britain’s largest communications union and the fifth largest affiliate to Labour, was one of the earliest backers of Jeremy Corbyn. 

Dave Ward, the union’s general secretary, told the New Statesman that “the general election showed the value of Momentum as part of the wider labour movement”, and that the body, which emerged out of Jeremy Corbyn’s 2015 leadership campaign, was now “a major political force in the UK”, saying it had a  “key role to play in securing a transformative Labour government”.

The NEC’s vote will now go to a ratifying vote by the CWU’s annual conference. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.