More austerity may throttle recovery, warn economists

Mr Osborne’s move to liberalise pensions and remove the provision for retirees to buy annuities has been called a masterstroke by commentators and caught pretty much the whole country unawares.

The chancellor’s rabbit-out-of-the-hat trick this time could, some think, be a move to rollback the bank levy.

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Mutterings by HSBC that it would relocate should the UK implement more punitive tax measures might have spooked a chancellor who needs the sector’s tax contributions.