Osborne’s Budget For The Old And The Young

The Chancellor attempted to deliver a Budget with broad appeal cutting taxes for savers and offering more help for first-time buyers.

At the heart of his last Budget before the General Election, Mr Osborneput a Help To Buy ISA, which would see the Government contribute 50 for every 200 saved towards a deposit on a first home – a 25% top-up.

And he announced savers would not have to pay tax on the first 1,000 of their savings.

He also announced the level at which workers start paying the 40p tax rate would increase above inflation from 42,385 to 43,300 and raised the level at which people start to pay income tax on earnings to 11,000.

He promised that the changes on the 40p tax showed the Conservatives’ commitment to raising that threshold to 50,000 by 2020, as pledged at the party’s autumn conference.

However, the Chancellor tried to dodge any allegations of an electioneering Budget by insisting that his plans for the economy were responsible.

Announcing a 9bn windfall from bank sales, falling welfare bils and lower debt interest he said the extra money would be used to pay down the national debt and not splashed on giveaways.

As he opened his sixth Budget with just 50 days until the election, Mr Osborneconfirmed the UK has grown faster than “any other major advanced economy in the world” and Britain was “walking tall again”.

He said: “The hard work and sacrifice of the British people has paid off. The original debt target I set out in my first Budget has been met.

“We will end this Parliament with Britain’s national debt share falling. The sun is starting to shine – and we are fixing the roof.”

Mr Osborne said that growth had been revised up to 2.5% and had been greater in The North than in The South.

He also hailed the employment figures out today which he said showed “under this Government, 1,000 more jobs have been created every single day”.

Sky’s Business Editor Ian King said the Government has done plenty to pump up demand for housing in the last five years and in this Budget but there were no measures to meet supply.

:: Updates and analysis with the Sky News team

Other measures contained in the Budget included:

:: Google Tax – a 25% tax for multinationals who move profits abroad

::The rate of the bank levy will be increased to 0.21%, raising an additional 900 million a year.

:: Investment in “the northern powerhouse” and a tidal lagoon in Swansea.

:: Annual tax return abolished in favour of real-time digital system.

:: The lifetime allowance on pensions will be reduced from 1.25m to 1m.

:: 1p off a pint of beer and wine duty frozen.

Labour leader Ed Milibandsaid Mr Osbornecontinued to deliver for the rich and was sharply critical of the lack of investment contained in the Budget for the NHSor public services.

He said: “Britain needs a better plan, a plan for working families. Britain needs a Labour government.”

And added: “This is a Budget people won’t believe from a Government that is not on their side – because of their record, because of their instinct, because of their plans for the future.”

Mr Osborne delivered his plans for the recovery of the nation’s economy against a backdrop of the most unpredictable election for a generation.

A Sky News projection, following analysis of the latest polls, suggests a hung parliament with the two parties virtually neck and neck.

It also comes after new figures showed the number of unemployed falling by more than 100,000 to 1.86m, which is the lowest since 2008.

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18 March 2015 | 2:37 pm – Source: orange.co.uk

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