Britain to eliminate deficit in five years: finance minister

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Britain's structural deficit should be eliminated in five years by cutting public spending and raising taxes, finance minister George Osborne said Tuesday in an emergency budget.

"We are on track to have debt falling and a balanced structural current budget by the end of this parliament" in 2014-15, said Osborne, who is a key member of Britain's Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government.

The Conservative Party had made a key election pledge to eliminate the bulk of the structural deficit within five years.

The newly-created Office for Budget Responsibility had forecast last week that Britain's structural deficit -- the level of borrowing which does not fall when the economy recovers -- was higher than expected.

The structural deficit was forecast to stand at 8.0 percent of GDP in the current financial year, before falling to 2.8 percent in 2014-15.

© 2010 AFP

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