Just hours before the key speech, figures showed unemployment increasing by 7,000 between November and January to 2.52 million. The increase was caused by more 18-24 year olds becoming unemployed. Despite the rise, the rate remained at 7.8 percent, compared with 8.3 percent a year ago.
The Trade Union Conference, an umbrella organization for unions with 6.2 million members, said the increase in capital spending that is expected to be presented in the budget isn't enough to kick-start the economy, boosting growth by just 0.06 percent.
Underlining the gravity of the day, Osborne made his first venture into Twitter, choosing to take his message directly to voters. He also posted a picture of himself signing papers beside the scarlet briefcase that symbolizes budget day in Britain.
By early afternoon, he had registered two Tweets â¿¿ but had some 28,000 followers. Unfortunately for Osborne, he also found himself bombarded by disparaging comments.