The Straits Times
Published on Oct 08, 2012

British finance minister outlines big new welfare cuts


BIRMINGHAM (AFP) - British finance minister George Osborne said on Monday the government would cut the welfare bill by $19 billion over the next year as it seeks to tame a massive deficit.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Mr Osborne told his centre-right Conservative party's annual conference that it was unfair that people in work should earn less than those without jobs.

He also ruled out a so-called "mansion tax" on big houses, a move favoured by the Liberal Democrats, the junior partners in the coalition government, though he insisted the wealthy would continue to bear the greatest burden.

"The great bulk of savings must come from cutting government spending, not raising taxes," Mr Osborne told delegates in the central English city of Birmingham.