The UK's prized AAA credit rating has been put on "negative outlook" by Fitch, the second ratings agency to warn of a possible economic downgrade.
Fitch Ratings warned on Wednesday it could downgrade the UK in the next few years if the government does not contain the level of public debt.
It follows a similar move by the Moody's agency last month.
The warning comes as Chancellor George Osborne puts the finishing touches to this year's Budget, which will be delivered next Wednesday.
Fitch said the UK had a "very limited fiscal space to absorb further adverse economic shocks" after recognising its commitment to cutting the budget deficit.
"In light of the considerable uncertainty around the economic and fiscal outlook, including the risks posed to economic recovery by ongoing financial tensions in the eurozone and against the backdrop of a still large structural budget deficit and high and rising government debt, the Negative Outlook indicates a slightly greater than 50% chance of a downgrade over a two-year horizon," Fitch said.
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