LISTENING to George Osborne hold forth on the latest economic forecasts and to hear him characterise his track record since 2010 brought to mind the Brothers Grimm fairytale, The Magic Porridge Pot.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer made it sound like the past five years had all been somewhat bountiful - in spite of the Coalition Government's excruciating austerity measures.

Mr Osborne proclaimed that the UK's gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 2.6 per cent in 2014 - which, it is worth noting, was weaker than the three per cent projected by the Office for Budget Responsibility in December - was "faster than any other major advanced economy in the world".

He also dwelt upon very minor increases in OBR growth forecasts for some future years.

However, given this was Mr Osborne's final Budget ahead of the General Election, it is worth going back to the beginning of his term to see whether or not he has delivered what was projected when he made his debut with the briefcase in June 2010.

When the Chancellor hiked the scale of annual public spending cuts and tax rises to be in place by 2014/15 by £40 billion to £113bn in his first Budget, the forecast was that the UK would achieve growth of 2.3 per cent in 2011, accelerating to 2.8 per cent in 2012 and to 2.9 per cent in 2013, before easing to 2.7 per cent in 2014 and 2015.

These forecasts were made by the fledgling OBR, set up by the Chancellor with the stated aim of producing independent projections.

UK GDP figures from the Office for National Statistics provide a stark illustration of just how far Mr Osborne has fallen short of what was expected by the OBR in June 2010.

The economy grew by 1.6 per cent in 2011, significantly adrift of the OBR's 2.3 per cent forecast.

The UK had exceeded the OBR's growth projection in 2010, a year of two governments, with expansion of 1.9 per cent.

Then again, GDP had tumbled by 4.3 per cent in 2009 amid the global recession. And the economy was far less weighed down by austerity in the opening months of 2010, when the previous Labour government was still in power.

In 2012, the UK economy grew by just 0.7 per cent, a mere one-quarter of the expansion rate projected for that year by the OBR back in 2010.

The following year, GDP grew by 1.7 per cent, still way adrift of a long-term average rate put by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney at about 2.75 per cent. And let us not forget that the OBR had been projecting growth of 2.9 per cent for 2013 at the time of the Chancellor's first Budget.

Even last year, UK growth did not manage to get above its long-term annual average rate.

While nudged up marginally in some cases, the OBR's latest forecasts of UK growth in coming years, all the way out to 2019, are still below the long-term average rate: that "sweet porridge" that we heard about from the Brothers Grimm is hardly spilling over the edges of Mr Osborne's economic cauldron.

The OBR has edged its forecast of growth this year up to 2.5 per cent from the 2.4 per cent rate projected in December; and it has raised its prediction of expansion in 2016 from 2.2 per cent to 2.3 per cent.

However, it trimmed its growth forecast for 2017 from 2.4 per cent to 2.3 per cent while sticking with its growth projection of 2.3 per cent for 2018. On its prediction of 2019 expansion, this was edged up from 2.3 per cent to 2.4 per cent.

Returning to Mr Osborne's record, the consistently disappointing economic performance meant the UK took until the third quarter of 2013 to get back to its peak output level ahead of the deep recession of 2008/09. Other major economies, notably the US and Germany, returned to their pre-recession levels of output much more quickly.

In March 2011, Mr Osborne promised us "a Britain carried aloft by the march of the makers". Unfortunately for us all, that vision has proved something of a pipe dream. The latest figures from the ONS show UK manufacturing output in January this year was up just 1.4 per cent on March 2011, when Mr Osborne told us that it was all going to work out.

The Chancellor talked in his latest Budget about "a Britain ... walking tall again". He had nothing to say about a "march of the makers".

Against a backdrop of disappointing UK growth for most, if not all, of the Coalition's term, the public finances have deteriorated to a much greater extent than predicted by the OBR back in June 2010.

When Mr Osborne presented his first Budget, the OBR projected public sector net borrowing at £149bn in the year to March 31, 2011, before falling to £116bn in the following fiscal year; then £89bn in 2012/13; £60bn in 2013/14; and £37bn in 2014/15.

Public sector net borrowing came in below the OBR projection at £134bn in 2010/11, the fiscal year of two governments. And, in 2011/12, it totalled £113bn.

However, in 2012/13, it rose again, to £119bn, way above the £89bn projected for that fiscal year by the OBR in June 2010. And, in 2013/14, it was £97bn.

The OBR now forecasts that public sector net borrowing will total £90.2bn in the fiscal year ending this month.

It predicted in June 2010 that the UK's outstanding public sector net debt would, at the end of this month, have increased to £1.28 trillion, from an estimated £771.5bn at the end of March 2010. The OBR now projects net debt will end this month at £1.479 trillion.

Public sector net borrowing is projected to be £75.3bn in 2015/16, £39.4bn in 2016/17, and £12.8bn in 2017/18. Modest repayments of borrowing on this measure, of £5.2bn in 2018/19 and £7bn in 2019/20, are then forecast, but public sector net debt is projected to end 2019/20 at £1.627 trillion.

In spite of Mr Osborne's celebratory mood in his final Budget before the General Election, the tone of the Coalition's message, throughout its term, has been very much about people having to cut their cloth accordingly.

The OBR forecasts welfare spending, under Mr Osborne's plans, would fall from an estimated 11.9 per cent of GDP in the fiscal year ending this month to 10.6 per cent in 2019/20.

For those who have faced welfare cuts and the relentless fall in real incomes, what has been delivered by the Coalition Government has been a lot more like the struggle to make ends meet of The Elves and the Shoemaker rather than the bounty of The Magic Porridge Pot.