Osborne was first appointed to the role of chancellor in 2010 when the economic crisis was in full swing and, infamously, the then chief secretary to the Treasury David Laws remarked that his Labour predecessor had left a note in the Treasury on departing office that read, "I'm afraid there is no money."
Soon after the coalition government between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats came to power in May 2010, Osborne quickly made tackling the government's budget deficit and national debt his priority with a mixture of tax rises (to VAT and capital gains tax) and spending cuts. The latter were to feature much more prominently, however, with 77 percent of the total consolidation to be achieved through spending reductions and 23 percent through tax increases, Osborne said.
Announcing an emergency budget in June 2010, a normal procedure when a new government is elected, Osborne spoke of the "emergency" the economy faced. He said he was not going to "hide hard choices from the British people" – setting the stage for six years of austerity measures in a bid to "balance the books."
"The coalition government has inherited from their predecessors the largest budget deficit of any economy in Europe, with the single exception of Ireland. One pound in every four we spend is being borrowed. What we have not inherited from our predecessors is a credible plan to reduce their record deficit-this at the very moment when fear about the sustainability of sovereign debt is the greatest risk to the recovery of European economies," he said.
"Our policy is to raise from the ruins of an economy built on debt. A new, balanced economy, where we save, invest and export; an economy where the state does not take almost half of all our national income, crowding out private endeavor," Osborne said.