MANCHESTER, England, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Britain faces seven lean years as the government struggles to turn a budget deficit into a surplus, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said Monday.
Osborne, giving the keynote speech at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, said this could be done without tax hikes, The Guardian reported. He proposed requiring people of working age to report to job centers for placement in return for welfare benefits, saying the program must be "fair for those who need it and fair for those who pay for it," the BBC said.
"We have to confront the costs of modern government and cap working age welfare," Osborne said.
Getting the budget under control could take until 2020, he said.
The Conservative-Liberal Democratic coalition was formed after the Conservatives failed to win a parliamentary majority in 2010. Party strategists believe a plan to achieve a budget surplus in short order will help the Conservatives, the Guardian said.
Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking Tuesday, is expected to announce plans to expand National Health Service access to primary care physicians. Under his proposal, money would be provided to expand hours to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with Sunday service and with patients having the choice to communicate with doctors via Skype.