Budget - for millions or for millionaires?

Chancellor on TV screens

Never forget that the chancellor is from a family of gamblers, one of his friends told me.

On Wednesday George Osborne gambled that he could cut the tax rate for the richest because the official figures suggest it raises very little. He's raising other taxes on the wealthy and he's spending much more giving a tax break for those on lower and middle incomes.

Ed Miliband - also something of a spinner of the political roulette wheel, as his brother discovered - is gambling that this decision alone will destroy the coalition's claim that "we are all in this together".

Most people in the days after the Budget focus on how the chancellor's decisions affect them.

Millions of taxpayers will welcome the little more they can earn tax free. But millions of pensioners will see their tax allowance frozen.

Three quarters of a million higher tax rate payers will be breathing a sigh of relief that their child benefit is not, after all, being cut.

BUT millions hoping that their tax credits won't be cut or that fuel duty will be held down will be disappointed.

Nick Robinson's Budget explainer

Smokers, company car drivers, drinkers of sports drinks and eaters of hot chicken on a spit will all lose a little.

Rich buyers of £2m houses or exploiters of tax reliefs will hurt but millionaires who aren't moving house or using those reliefs will get a very big tax cut indeed. Overall the Treasury's numbers only add up on the assumption that the money lost by cutting the top rate is offset by the gain of people moving themselves or their tax back into the UK.

The old political rules state that no-one can win an election promising to increase tax.

Will new rules be written that prove that no-one can win one by giving a tax break to the rich in an era of austerity.

Nick Robinson, Political editor Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Lets actually look at the facts - The richest 10% stump up the majority (53%) of tax collected in Britain. And the richest 1% stump up a staggering 22% of the tax collected.

    Instead of demonizing the rich maybe we should thank them for their extremely large contribution to the welfare state?!

    Personal responsibility not politics of envy please!

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Definitely welcome the rise in what we can earn tax free

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    You didn't need a chrystal ball to know that the banner headline after this budget was going to be top rate tax cut.Everything else gets ignored.Says more about the media and its political agenda rather than focusing on the picture as a whole.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    as one of the people who will be pushed into the higher rate tax bracket I will certainly be speaking to our company's financial advisor to work out how I can better arrange my finances to reduce my tax liabilities. Should have done this years ago but this budget has provided the push I needed to finally go ahead and do it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    AGree with prestonpans, quite why it is deemed fair to pay an ever increasing proportion of your money to the state is beyong me. Sureley the fiar way is everyone paying the same %, the "richer" you are the more you pay at the moment(unless you have some very good accountants) that's where they should focus. A nice simple tax system would make this possible and increase revenues.


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