Osborne to lock in budget surplus

Chancellor George Osborne is pushing to commit future governments to maintaining a budget surplus in years when the economy is growing.

The BBC reports the new plans will give the Office for Budget Responsibility the power to decide whether a government should be able to spend more than it takes in, for example in years of recession.

MPs will vote on the plans later this year, with further details expected in Osborne’s Budget on 8 July.

As part of his Mansion House speech this evening, the Chancellor is also expected to reconvene the Committee of the Commissioners for the Reduction of the National Debt for the first time in 150 years.

The committee was launched to rebuild the economy in the aftermath of the Napoloeonic Wars, and Osborne’s modern revival will include himself, Bank of England governor Mark Carney, the Bank’s deputy governors, Lord Chief Justice and the speaker of the House of Commons.

Osborne will say: “With our national debt unsustainably high, and with the uncertainly about what the world economy will throw at us in the coming years, we must now fix the roof while the sun is shining.”

Meanwhile, the Times reports Osborne will also use the speech to reveal plans to axe the bank levy, charged on the assets held on the global balance sheets of institutions.

The Chancellor will reportedly replace the levy with a new corporation tax surcharge, which will be levied solely on UK assets.