Figures in last month’s autumn statement suggest the chancellor now has a 50/50 chance of getting the budget into surplus as promised by the end of the parliament.
In July, economists at the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) put his prospects of making the target at 55% – suggesting they have slipped further in the past few months.
John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, said: “The chancellor was probably hoping it was an early Christmas present that no one noticed the downgrading of the chance of him meeting his own self-imposed target, but it has been exposed for the gimmick it has always been.
“The truth is that even the OBR aren’t certain George Osborne will reach his surplus target, and have now said it is the equivalent in probability of a coin toss in coming true.”
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