The Straits Times
Published on Feb 23, 2013

British government blasted by opposition over AAA loss


LONDON (AFP) - Britain's opposition on Saturday tore into the government over what it called failed policies, after Moody's stripped the country of its coveted triple-A debt rating.

However, while analysts called the loss an embarrassment for finance minister George Osborne and his handling of Britain's debt and deficit problems, they said the downgrade would have a limited impact in the international markets.

In an expected rebuff to London's hopes that sharp spending cuts would both gradually eliminate the deficit and give growth a boost, Moody's rating agency cut Britain's grade by one notch to Aa1.

Labour opposition finance spokesman Ed Balls tore into Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne, saying the entire point of his austerity drive - retaining AAA status - had failed.