The Express features comments from Mark Littlewood

Ratings agency Moody’s cut the rating amid fears the UK’s ballooning levels of would leave it dangerously exposed to another economic shock.

The downgrade, the first since 1978, is not expected to spook the markets but is a political disaster for the Chancellor who staked his reputation on maintaining the gold-plated status.

Mark Littlewood, director general of the Institute of Economic Affairs, said it should serve as a wake-up call to the Chancellor to slash public spending to fund tax cuts.

“The stranglehold of regulation is hurting business prospects on almost every front,” he said. “In the lead-up to the budget Osborne would be wise to respond by taking urgent action.”

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