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Moody's Investor Service's move late Monday to place the U.K.'s triple-A sovereign debt rating on negative outlook is proof that Britain cannot waiver from its plans to deal with the country's debt, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said.
Osborne said the credit rating agency was explicit that only thing stopping an immediate downgrade of the U.K. was the government's fiscal consolidation plan.
"This is a reality check for anyone who thinks Britain can duck confronting its debt," Osborne said.
Moody's Investors Service placed the sovereign debt ratings of the U.K., France and Austria--who are all triple-A rated--on negative outlook.
The rating agency also downgraded Italy to A3 from A2, negative outlook; Malta to A3 from A2, negative outlook; Portugal to Ba3 from Ba2, negative outlook; Slovakia to A2 from A1, negative outlook; Slovenia to A2 from A1, negative outlook; and Spain to A3 from A1, negative outlook.
-By Ainsley Thomson, Dow Jones Newswires, 44 20 7842 9318; firstname.lastname@example.org