Political Promise

Live: Budget 2011

In Newswire on March 23, 2011 at 10:40 am

Political Promise’s favourite day of the year: the Budget. Our live coverage will detail all the main points, all the analysis from our writers and readers and the wider blogosphere.

14:40 David Brownsey-Joyce calls it a “sweetener for the public sector”.

“One of the big issues in this Budget that public sector workers would have been listening out for was pension reform within the public section. Given the pressure on public sector workers in the form of a two year pay freeze, job losses and increasing workloads, maintaining their pension benefits could be seen as a big way of maintaining moral. The Chancellor said that the Coalition Government would be accepting the findings of the John Hutton report meaning that public sector employees would find their pensions would be based upon career average earnings rather than final salary pensions. The key was that current employees would be keeping their final salary pensions but new employees in local government would not be eligible. So it’s alright for the current wave of local government workers and it may be enough to stop a general strike but not so good for the next generation of our public servants.”

14:00 Right, it’s 2 o’clock. I’m ready for a nap. See you in a year.

13:56 Alex Gabriel writes on Miliband’s speech: “We certainly expected something quite dramatic today, but both sides of the house were as predictable as they were provocative in the end. the chancellor’s budget was broadly as expected, providing a certain degree of populist tax-cutting while at the same time refusing to alter an unpopular economic plan. ed miliband was left being equally formulaic: since the government’s strategy hasn’t changed today, he was making the same arguments he’s been making since september. all in all, we got what we thought we’d get; enough carrot to cheer up the government’s supporters but not its opponents, and no less stick.'”

13:52 Labour MPs starting to leave, most notably, former Chancellor Alistair Darling.

13:50 The Treasury has released a PDF of the budget document.

13:48 Conservative Home lists the budget announcements in full

13:46 “He is Norman Lamont with an iPod, and no doubt on its playlist it has Je Ne Regrette Rien”

13:36 “Growth is down this year, last year and next year.” It is “too far, too fast”. Ed Miliband is attacking the lack of growth. His voice is sounding coarse, this is his first Budget response.

13:35 Ed Miliband on his feet. “Same old Tories.”

13:34 PP’s Pav Sandhu says “Budget 2011 = absolute common sense.”

13:33 “We have put fuel in the British economy, and I commend this statement to the House.” Great sign-off by the Chancellor.

13:29 PP’s Alex Gabriel says “It’s a bit rich of Osborne to bash tax avoidance, given we know he’s done it”

13:27 On Fuel Duties, the planned 5p rise in fuel duty will be delayed until next year.  This will be paid for by a Fair Fuel Stabiliser. There were 7 rises under the last government. From 6pm, fuel duty will cut petrol by 1p.

13:25 No new changes to alcohol or tobacco. 2% rise above inflation for tobacco from Sunday.

13:24 Chancellor announces he wants to cut Air Passenger Tax, and will delay Labour’s proposed rise for another year. Private jets will come under the scope of taxation.

13:22 Public sector workers under £21,000 will receive a pay rise of around £200. The Government is committed to increasing the personal threshold to £8,105, which means £48 each year goes back to every household.

13:20 “Tax avoidance means we have to ask more from our families, that is not fair. £14bn was lost in avoidance in 2008. We publish a paper on tax avoidance.” Announces ending a dozen loopholes, raising £1bn a year.

13:19 If you leave 10% of your will to charity, the Government will give you a 10% cut in inheritance tax, to encourage more giving.

13:18 “A society should not be judged by its economy alone but by the compassion of its people.” Will dramatically simplify Gift Aid.

13:17 Announces a single-tier state pension of around £140 a week. It won’t affect current pensioners, it will take a while to implement.

13:15 As George’s voice starts to go, Iain Dale tweets: “Nice of Danny Alexander to top up the Chancellor’s glass of water. I knew he had a role. I just couldn’t figure out what it was…”

13:12 More funding for vocational qualifications, perhaps a return to polytechnics. It will fund at least 24 new technical universities. Also funding 40,000 more apprenticeships, including 10,000 high-level apprenticeships.

13:10 Harriet Baldwin (Con, West Worcestershire) tweets: “Labour benches getting quieter. Ed B and Ed M making rapid edits to speech…”

13:07 21 new enterprise zones, where businesses get super-fast broadband and up to a 100% discount on rates, local authorities get to keep all proceeds of business rates fo 25 years. In: Birmingham, Solihull, Bristol, Leeds, Greater Manchester, Tyneside, Liverpool, Tees Valley, Black Country, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, London (the location of which will be picked by Boris Johnson) and Sheffield.

13:06 Every now and then, Nick Clegg looks surprised at a policy.

13:05 From April, the Small Companies Research & Development tax credit will rise to 200%.

13:04 Will invest £100 million in science laboratories to become “the home of innovation”.

13:01 Chancellor sets out £250m First Buy scheme to help First Time Buyers by building 10k homes, supporting 50,000 jobs. Funded from the proceeds of this year’s Bank Levy.

13:00 The rate holiday for small businesses will be extended until October 2012.

12:59 The 50% tax rate  is regarded as “a temporary measure”. Income tax “crushes ambition”.

12:56 “Small businesses have been the innocent victim of the credit crisis.” The income tax relief will increase, launching “Start-Up Britain” for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs. Entrepreneur relief up to £10million. Increasing the charge for non-domiciles to £50,000, unless people are moving capital to provide jobs for Brits.

12:53 Cutting £350m worth of regulation. Planning decisions must “prioritise growth and jobs.”

12:51 Corporation tax will be reduced by 2%, and then another 1% each year for three years. Will be 23% by 2013. To ensure the banks don’t take advantage, the bank levy will be higher. “Britain is open for business.”

12:48 “The Government will merge National Insurance and Income Tax.” It will take a few years of consultation to implement. “Our purpose is not to reduce taxes but to simplify them. Make them fit for the modern age.”

12:46 On TAX: It is the longest tax code in the world. “It should be efficient and support growth. It should be certain and predictable. Simple to understand, easy to comply with. It should be fair, reward work, support aspiration, and ask the most from those who can afford it.”

12:45 “A fall in living standards is not an alternative the British people should accept.”

12:44 Need to focus on growth, competitiveness and jobs. “During the boom, private sector employment fell in the West Midlands. Private sector growth must take place across the country. The whole country must grow.”

12:43 There is going to be a “fixed target for debt.” We will meet the objectives of the debt and deficit a year earlier than previously forecast.

12:42 Deficit forecasts will be: £122bn in 2011/2012, £101bn, £70bn, £46bn, £29 billion in 2015/2016

12:39 The Office of Budget Responsibility officially became 100% non-governmental yesterday. He announces that growth figures have been revised, and will grow by only 1.7% next year. The growth forecasts make us stronger than the average for the Eurozone, according to the European Commission.

12:38 George Osborne looking statesmanlike. Will he make a future leader of the Conservative Party? Have your say @PP_tweets.

12:37 “Britain has to earn its way out of recession.”

12:34 There is no need for any more cuts or tax rises. “Britain has a plan and we are sticking to it.”

12:33 “The decisions we have taken have brought about economic stability.”

12:32 The Budget starts.

12:31 Last question Nicky Morgan (Con, Loughborough) spoke with Sixth Form students about the budget deficit inherited from Labour. Tees Cameron up to list some of our economic failings under the last 13 years.

12:28 PM: “It is only because of the action that we have taken to help our economy with no help from the party opposite.”

12:28 Mike Indian, Contributor to Political Promise and Editor of the Groucho Tendency, “Unless George Osborne sticks to what a budget is meant to be about, tax, this is simply political grandstanding. Streaming the tax system is a solid strategy for medium term growth.”

12:26 PP’s Dominic Smith writes: “As much as Osborne would love this budget to be about growth, it simply can’t be as the UK economy slips closer and closer to the abyss of another recession. An extra annual £45 in the pockets of workers is surely offset by job losses, real term wage freezes and the butchering of the benefit system. The damage was done in last year’s budget and ever since, with the kamikaze like slice and dice on public spending, choking dead any prospect of recovery. Patching over gaping wounds doesn’t work, and this Government will find that out to their peril in the May council elections.”

12:24 Denis MacShane (Lab, Rotherham) commends the signing of the Human Trafficking Directive, having campaigned on it for six months.

12:22 Former Education Secretary David Blunkett (Lab, Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough) suggests a longer volunteering scheme than National Citizen Service.

12:20 Emma Reynolds (Lab, Wolverhampton NE) asks when the PM will stop ‘talking down’ the NHS. He replies “Me and my family are so grateful for everything the NHS have done. But I am interested in securing the NHS’ future. That’s the aim of our reforms.”

12:19 Most of Cameron’s answers are like the guy who announces what’s coming up on the BBC. “Sit tight, as George is going to give you a good show!”

12:18 We received this tip-off 30 minutes ago. Cameron just confirmed it in the House in an answer to Richard Fuller (Con, Bedford): Council Tax to be FROZEN or REDUCED in every council across the country, the first time since the tax was set up (in 1993) that it will be reduced!!”

12:17 PM: “There is a whole series of measures to get growth across the country.”

12:14 Karl McCartney (Con, Lincoln) asks “With Gaddafi sitting on £6.5bn of ill-gotten gold, and an ex-Chancellor who sold off all the gold at rock bottom prices, who is the most flawed?” to rancour in the House.

12:12 Ed Miliband spends a second question on the DLA. Cameron tells him “The review of DLA is the way we will reform. Instead of getting excited about it, he should congratulate the government from listening to opinions from across the House.”

12:11 Ed is back on his feet. He asks why the Government is cutting the mobility part of the disability allowance. Cameron says “The short answer is… I’m not.”

12:09 Questions from the backbenches on Marie Curie cancer trust, the North Tyneside mayor and enterprise in Croydon.

12:05 Ed Miliband asks for an update on the military operations in Libya. Cameron praised his speech in the debate on Monday as “powerful”. “Clearly there is great concern about what the regime is doing”, the “ceasefire is nonsense” and “this is early stages and a lot more needs to be done”. Miliband asks what contribution the Arab league will make to the conflict. Cameron says “there are in full support of the UN resolution.” We are receiving logistic support from Arab nations, the PM confirms.

12:03 Jo Swinson (LD, East Dumbarts) asks whether there is a future for nuclear power in the UK. “The power stations in Britain are different… but of course, we have got to test for all eventualities.”

12:00 Cameron starts with a question from John Woodcock (Lab, Barrow & Furness) about defence capabilities. “We need to learn our lessons.”

11:53 Just switched coverage from BBC News to BBC Parliament. The House of Commons is brimming, Cameron already seated. Owen Paterson currently answering Northern Ireland Questions. Well, the ones he can hear.

11:49 “Clara X” on Twitter writes: “Like the tax simplification idea, but hope that the maternity pay suggestions in Telegraph last week aren’t in there.” @feminism4tories

11:45 Conservative Home editor Jonathan Isaby tweets: “When it has to be making its own cuts, does the BBC really need a helicopter above Downing Street to follow Osborne’s car to Parliament?” @isaby

11:42 PP’s Conor Campbell writes: “It’s not often that I agree with Caroline Lucas, although I have found myself doing do more lately. As far as her views on scrapping the fuel rise, I fully agree with her. As a society we need to learn to adapt our ways to the ever increasing rise in fuel prises, and cutting now will only be a very short term solution.”

11:40 George Osborne emerges from Downing Street. See first picture: http://yfrog.com/gzo91ttj

11:38 PP’s Ust Oldfield says “It’s going to be an interesting budget, with so much of it already leaked and with different anticipations, Osborne will surely feel the pressure.”

11:20 Manners adds: “I wonder if he’ll have a drink? Gladstone had a sherry and a beaten egg, Ken Clarke a whisky, Howe a gin and tonic!” I think the Editors are going to stick to coffee for a while…

11;13 Rich Heap, twitters: “Ed Balls had said he has seen the budget, and there’s “nothing worth leaking”. @RichHeap

10:41 Archie Manners, A-level student  and Political Promise contributor, says: I hope that George Osborne will deliver a budget for strong, sustainable growth. A budget that looks after all in society by giving everybody the opportunity to prosper to get our economy moving again after the destructive force that was 13 years of Labour.”

10:32 Mark Wallace tweets: Today’s #Budget may not be perfect, but tax simplification and threshold raising are morally and economically good.

10:30 And we’re off! We’ve started our mammoth coverage, if you have a tip-off, some sort of analysis, a view-point, whatever, then tweets us @PP_tweets, email politicalpromise@yahoo.co.uk or Facebook us www.facebook.com/Political.Promise Two hours to go, we will have all the latest news as it comes.

Key Reads

Ed Staite, former speechwriter and adviser to George Osborne, wrote a blog on what it is like to be in Opposition on Budget day.

WATCH: Budget and PMQs Live

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  1. Council Tax to be FROZEN or REDUCED in every council across the country, the first time since the tax was set up (in 1993) that it will be reduced!!

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