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The Budget - As It Happens

Wednesday March 20 2013


George Osborne George Osborne


Chancellor George Osborne is releasing the Budget from 12.30pm. We'll be updating this as it unfolds.

12.30 - Opens by saying it's a budget for hard-working people.

12.33 - Mr Osborne points out that, despite the progress the government has made, there is work to do. "It's taking longer than anyone hoped." But he stresses: "We will get there."

12.34 - "The OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility) have today sharply revised down their future growth forecast for the eurozone, and expect it will remain in recession throughout this year," says the Chancellor, warning its weakness will hit the UK.

12.35 - The OBR expects recovery pick up to 1.8% in 2014, 2.3% in 2015.

12.36 - Growth expected to be 2.7% in 2016 and 2.8% in 2017.

12.36 - For every job lost in the public sector, six jobs are created in the private sector, says George Osborne.

12.37 - The deficit continues to come down, George Osborne says. Three years ago borrowing £1 for every £4 it spent. Mr Osborne says the deficit fallen from 11.4% of GDP to a forecast of 7.4% this year.

12.38 - It is sometimes asserted that government borrowing is up but the facts show the opposite is true, says Mr Osborne, amid loud jeering.

12.40 - First bit of grim news - growth forecast halved for next year.

12.41 - The government is forecast to borrow £114bn this year - less than previous government, says the Chancellor.

12.43 - We have a plan to cut our structural deficit and our credibility comes from sticking to the plan, George Osborne says.

12.44 - Spending reduction promises have been more than delivered, argues Mr Osborne. The proportion of national income spent by state has fallen, he adds.

12.47 - Economic growth forecast for UK at 0.6% in 2013.

12.51 - "We are now actively considering with the Bank of England whether there are potential extensions to the successful Funding for Lending Scheme that will boost lending still further," says Mr Osborne.

12.52 - George Osborne says public sector net debt is forecast to be 75.9% of GDP this year, 79.2% next year, and 82.6% the year after and 85.1% in 2015-16. But he says it will fall to 84.8% by 2017-18.

12.53 - More on the Bank of England. In order to boost growth, the chancellor says: "The new remit also recognises that the Monetary Policy Committee may need to use unconventional monetary instruments to support the economy while keeping inflation stable."

12.54 - Next year and the year after most departments will see a 1% spending cut. Schools and NHS are not affected.

12.55 - He confirms the nation's "long-standing commitment to the world's poorest to spend 0.7% of our national income on international development".

12.55 - The Chancellor says £745bn will be the total amount of managed expenditure for 2015/16.

12.56 - Public sector pay increases will be limited to 1% in 2015/16.

12.57 - Military will be exempt from the 1% pay cap on public sector workers to recognise their work.

12.58 - The Chancellor says the UK is building the most competitive tax system in the world.

12.59 - The European Union budget deal has saved Britain £3.5bn, Mr Osborne says.

12.59 - Takings from fines imposed over the Libor banking scandal will be invested in the military, Mr Osborne announces.

13.01 - The Chancellor promises to boost infrastructure spending by £3bn in 2015/16.

13.03 - George Osborne: "I accept Michael Heseltine's excellent idea of a single competitive pot of funding for local enterprise. I also fully endorse the report of Doug Richard to make the most our apprenticeships."

13.04 - He announces new tax reliefs for the creative industries like high-end television and animation with new support for the UK's world-class visual effects sector.

13.05 - George Osborne announces help for small firms, saying: "We'll increase by fivefold the value of government procurement budgets spent through the Small Business Research Initiative".

13.06 - Mr Osborne says he is introducing a generous new tax regime to promote early investment into shale gas.

13.06 - George Osborne says he's introducing capital gains tax relief for sales of businesses to their employees.

13.08 - "Research and development is absolutely central to Britain's economic future."

13.08 - Public sector net debt will fall by 2017/18, the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts.

13.09 - Chancellor George Osborne promises £3bn for infrastructure.

13.10 - Mr Osborne says Britain will have a 20% rate of corporation tax - the lowest business tax of any major economy in the world.

13.10 - Mr Osborne pledges to introduce "one of the largest ever packages of tax avoidance and evasion measures presented at a Budget".

13.11 - Mr Osborne says too many people were allowed to get away with tax avoidance.

13.12 - The government will name and shame companies who promote themselves as tax avoiders. Mr Osborne says agreements with the Isle of Man, Guernsey, and Jersey will bring in over a billion pounds of unpaid taxes.

13.13 - He confirms the previously revealed changes to childcare assistance. He says: "New tax-free childcare vouchers for working families: 20% off the first £6,000 of your childcare costs for each child. And increased childcare support for those low-income working families on universal credit."

13.15 - The flat-rate pension will be brought forward to 2016. Extra money is to made available for Equitable Life policy holders.

13.17 - The social care spending cap will be brought forward to 2016 - to protect savings above £72,000.

13.18 - Mr Osborne announces help to buy homes. He proposes two components: £3.5bn in capital spending over three years to shared equity loans; and up to 20% of a loan to be offered to people looking to move up the ladder.

13.20 - Changes to childcare and pensions will come into effect in 2016.

13.22 - Treasury to give equity loan of 20% to cover deposit on anyone buying new house.

13.23 - September's increase in fuel duty is cancelled. Petrol will be 13p a litre cheaper than if he had not frozen the duty over the last two years, he says.

13.24 - The Chancellor scraps above-inflation rise in beer duty and takes a penny off the price of a pint. But he keeps the rise for other forms of alcohol.

13.26 - Raising income tax threshold will mean means £700 less paid by working families, says Mr Osborne.

13.29 - The National Insurance changes means that 450,000 small businesses - one third of all employers in the country - will pay no jobs tax at all, Mr Osborne says.

13.30 - Mr Osborne closes by saying: "This is a Budget that doesn't duck our nations problems. It confronts them head on. It's a Budget for an aspiration nation."

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