George Osborne warns of economic 'dangerous cocktail'
George Osborne is to warn of a 'dangerous cocktail' of risks from abroad, and from higher public spending on these shores, thanks to what he's calling a "dangerous cocktail". The Chancellor is worried that the UK is going to be pulled into decline thanks to economic concerns in China, Brazil or Russia, and of course, the falling price of oil and political troubles in the Middle East.
Basically, in a speech to some people in Cardiff, he's going to warn about complacency and doesn't want anyone thinking that we're in the middle of a "mission accomplished" scenario.
Osborne's speech says: "Anyone who thinks it's mission accomplished with the British economy is making a grave mistake. 2016 is the year we can get down to work and make the lasting changes Britain so badly needs."
"Or it'll be the year we look back at as the beginning of the decline. This year, quite simply, the economy is mission critical."
"Last year was the worst for global growth since the crash and this year opens with a dangerous cocktail of new threats. For Britain, the only antidote to that is confronting complacency and sticking to the course we've charted."
As a complete aside, and keeping with the cocktail theme, here's a perfectly innocent photograph of our George enjoying a drink with a lady, from when he was younger.
He's also saying: "Yes - there's good news here and right across the UK. That's because we have a national economic plan that backs business and skills, and is delivering growth, high employment, and rising wages."
"But as we start 2016, I worry about a creeping complacency in the national debate about our economy. A sense that the hard work at home is complete and that we're immune from the risks abroad. A sense we can let up, and the good economic news will just keep rolling in."
As for the drop in oil prices: "That is good for consumers and business customers here in Britain, bad news for the oil and gas industry, worrying for the creditors who have lent to it, and a massive problem for the countries that depend on it. Meanwhile, the political developments in the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia and Iran, concern us all."
"Yes, the British economy has performed better than almost anyone dared to hope. And as an issue, the economy has slipped down the list of many people's everyday concerns. But the biggest risk is that people think that it's job done."
Of course, there'll be some jabs at the opposition: "Many in our politics encourage this, irresponsibly suggesting that we can just go back to the bad old ways and spend beyond our means for evermore."
"Though the year is only seven days old, already we hear their predictable calls for billions of pounds more debt-fuelled public spending. They reject all the reforms we propose to deliver better quality public services for less taxpayers' money. Today I want to issue this warning: unless we finish the job of fixing the public finances, to get Britain back into the black by finally spending less than we borrow, all of the progress we have made together could still easily be reversed."