The U.K.'s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne outlined plans to soften his government's stance on austerity Wednesday - just in time for May's election.
In his annual Budget speech, Osborne stated that the government's surplus forecast for 2019-2020, which it hopes will be the first year the U.K is in the black since 2001, has been lowered from 1 percent of gross domestic product to 0.3 percent. This gives Osborne more room to soften of its less popular policies.
"This is a budget that takes Britain one more big step on the road from austerity to prosperity," Osborne said.
Ed Miliband, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, attacked the budget as "a budget people won't believe". He argued that Osborne "gives with one hand but takes far more away with the other", and claimed real wages were down £1,600 in the five years since the government came to power.
This Budget is particularly important as it is just seven weeks before the most difficult-to-call U.K. election for close-to a century.
Osborne kicked off pledging to cut the deficit and warning of the danger of a Greek exit from the euro zone. However, he failed to flag any planned cuts or rises to public services spending.