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Monday 27 March 2023 Dublin: 7°C
Alastair Grant/PA Wire/Press Association Images Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne (right) and Chief Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, leave the Treasury building for the House of Commons today.
# Britain
Britain cuts almost half a million jobs
The Chancellor of the Exchequer announces drastic budget measures today in parliament.

BRITAIN WILL CUT 490,000 JOBS from its public sector over the next four years, according to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

George Osborne presented parliament with the UK’s biggest spending cuts since WWII, saying: “It is a hard road, but it leads to a better future”.

He said that “today is the day that Britain steps back from the brink”.

Government departmental budgets were cut by an average 19%, with £81bn being cut from public spending over four years.

Osborne said that the cuts were less severe across the departments than feared, due to the £7bn being cut from the welfare budget and an extra £3.5bn in public sector employee pension contributions.

The cuts will affect welfare payments, local councils and police services. A new bank levy was also announced, the details of which will be revealed tomorrow.

The BBC reports that the UK’s pension age will be increased earlier than had been anticipated – it will be 66 years of age by 2020.

The shadow chancellor, Labour’s Alan Johnson, said the announcement constituted a  “reckless gamble with people’s livelihoods” which risked “stifling the fragile recovery”.

About 1 million people are believed to be affected by a change to the Employment Support Allowance which sees a time limit of one year put on claims.

Families where one person earns above £44,000 a year will lose their child benefit payments, according to the Telegraph.

Britain’s budget deficit was £155bn for the previous financial year.

Read further details of Osborne’s spending review.