Budget 2012 in full: As it happened

Key Points

  • The top income tax rate will be reduced to 45% from April next year
  • The stamp duty rate on properties worth more than £2m via companies will be raised to 15%
  • Labour leader Ed Miliband says millions of people will be paying more, while millionaires pay less
  • 300,000 people will be drawn into the 40% higher rate tax band from 2013-14
  • The point at which people start paying income tax will be raised to £9,205 from next April
  • Age-related alowances to be removed from new pensioners from 2013

    Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the 2012 Budget. Chancellor George Osborne will - even more than usual - have tax on his mind. He is expected to raised the level at which people start paying income tax, possibly to above \u00a39,000 a year. But what will he promise the highest paid?


    Reports suggest the rate on earnings above \u00a3150,000 will be reduced from 50% to 45% - but but this is not expected to kick in until next year. The political pressure is on Mr Osborne from both the Conservatives and the Lib Dems in the coalition. Will he find a balance to keep everyone happy - or at least a little less than furious?


    Other things to look out for when the chancellor stands up at around 1230GMT are a pledge to cut down on tax avoidance schemes, and changes to child benefit proposals. At the moment, the the government plans to move this from a universal benefit to one paid only to parents not paying the 40% rate of income tax. Many middle-class families are not happy. Will Mr Osborne raise this threshold - and by how much?


    The owners of homes worth more than \u00a32m - and people considering buying one - will be watching intently too. Will the chancellor increase the rate of stamp duty on such properties?

    0938: Breaking News

    The government's borrowing figures are out. Public sector net borrowing, excluding financial interventions, rose by a larger than expected \u00a315.2bn in February, up from \u00a38.9bn a year earlier.


    Government borrowing for the first 11 months of the financial year 2011/12 is now \u00a3110bn, putting the chancellor \u00a317bn away from the full-year target of \u00a3127bn


    Here's what today's papers have to say about the budget.The Times says by raising the threshold below which earnings are untaxed the chancellor is "handing 23 million lower and middle-income earners a tax cut partly paid for by a raid on the super-rich".


    The Sun focuses on fuel duty. An exclusive YouGov poll for the paper showed more than three quarters of the country said they wanted to see the chancellor "slash the crippling levy".


    The Guardian says that the Liberal Democrats have been handed a "victory" from the chancellor who will announce a rise in stamp duty "in return for his cut in the 50p tax rate".


    According to The Daily Mail, the chancellor will also confirm that the government is "overriding the objections of countryside campaigners and proceeding with the biggest reform of planning law for 60 years."

    Dominic Quick, St Leonards On Sea

    emails: Typical government. They give with one hand and take with another. What's the point in complicating things? Big whoop if the allowance increases but at what detriment to the people who would be affected by the change. Sorry to say I am one such person who would earn \u00a310k but any increase in income would result in me losing partial housing benefit and council tax benefit. What's the point?


    Liberal Democrats have been briefing journalists that they want this to be a "Robin Hood Budget".


    Don't forget that, before the Budget, David Cameron will face Labour leader Ed Miliband for Prime Minister's Questions. That starts at about 1200GMT.


    George Osborne has already been out and about this morning, going jogging and taking his son to school.

    George Osborne

    Another possible announcement from Mr Osborne is the introduction of regional rates of pay for public sector workers. Mr Osborne argues that this will stimulate business growth by removing a reliance on the state in some parts of the country. But unions say it will mean pay cuts for many staff and impoverish regions already hit hard by the economic downturn.

    Anne Ashworth, The Times,

    tweets: Only 120 \u00a32m-plus homes sold in a month. 7% stamp duty will only be an earner if more mansions caught in tax net.


    More on those borrowing figures - higher than the government previously estimated. A Treasury spokesman says the latest figures show there has been "progress" in cutting the deficit this year. He adds: "As expected, growth in departmental spending has increased towards the end of the fiscal year, bringing it closer to forecast, and income tax receipts were weak."


    Labour leader Ed Miliband says the government's economic plan is "failing" and that a tax cut for people earning more than \u00a3150,000 a year is "completely the wrong priority". He adds: "What the chancellor must do is ensure that every penny he can raise from those at the top is spent on helping millions of ordinary families who are struggling to get by."


    Scotland political editor Brian Taylor reports that the Scottish Parliament is to gain new financial powers after a deal was reached between the UK and Scottish governments. The powers include additional control over income tax and the power to borrow money.

    Stewart Whiteford, Coalville

    emails: I still cannot understand why they keep minimum wage so low. An 11p rise this year is just a joke. Minimum wage should be a living wage of at least \u00a38.00 an hour. All it means is that higher wage earners are paying more tax so that the Asda and Tesco's of this world get cheap labour.

    1000: Anne Watkinson, Newmarket,

    emails: Are we pensioners going to have our personal allowance increased or is it going to be eroded in real terms? Many pensioners, myself included, are struggling with reduced incomes due to low interest rates on savings and massively increased fuel and food bills. What is being done to help us?


    What's inside? Boxes, thought to contain copies of the Budget, have been delivered to 11 Downing Street.

    11 Downing Street
    rhys lloyd thomas

    tweets: #BBCbudget absolutely no point in raising the tax relief threshold, they're better off cutting VAT and fuel tax!

    darren clare

    tweets: #bbcbudget big query is what is happening to the tax on fuel, ministers are all backing down from what i can see, will not help recovery


    Not just any cat. This is Larry the Downing Street cat, outside the chancellor's front door.

    Downing St cat

    Vicky Redwood, chief UK economist at Capital Economics, has been giving her reaction to the higher-than-expected borrowing figures. She says they provide a "disappointing backdrop" for the Budget.


    Education Secretary Michael Gove tells reporters in Downing Street that the Budget will be "good for business" and "very fair and progressive".


    Will George Osborne be Robin Hood, or the Sheriff of Nottingham? See what our political editior Nick Robinson thinks.


    Here's that story on how the government borrowed almost twice as much as expected last month.


    Good news for council tax payers - it looks like most local authorities (85%) have decided to freeze their tax this year. The Office for National Statistics says the average rise for a band D property will be just 0.3%.


    Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles says: "This [council tax freeze] is a real-terms cut in council tax and real help to hard-working families and pensioners with their cost of living expenses."


    Conservative Party deputy chairman Michael Fallon talking - on the News Chanel - about the 50p top rate of income tax, questions whether it "was" effective. Telling use of the past tense?

    Pam, Stafford,

    emails: He needs to cut petrol for low income earners who have to travel outside of their town to work. It's costing \u00a360 a week to get to work for minimum wage!

    Anne Farmer, London,

    emails: I am a low earner, single and childless and am not entitled to any benefits. Therefore I welcome this news and will vote Conservative or Lib Dem in the next general election. They have done more for me and the country than the last government did.


    Simon Walker of the Institute of Directors tells Jon Sopel on the BBC News Channel that the 50p rate has raised less money than expected - it's even reduced the total tax take, he says

    Brian Warburton, Sale,

    emails: If the tax threshold is to increase to \u00a39,205, as quoted, and not the \u00a310,000 as hoped, then this increase has already been absorbed by inflation for the lower paid.


    Don't forget, the BBC's Budget Special programme starts over on the News Channel and BBC Two in about an hour's time. There will be guests, live analysis of the speech as it happens and you can also watch it (on your PC) in the box on the right hand side of this page.

    Pam Higgs

    posted on Facebook: Yes it is admirable putting up the tax threshold, but \u00a3300+ a year in some people's pockets (about \u00a36 a week), is pitiful and will soon be lost in some other taxation! It is the sprat to catch the mackerel time again!!!!!


    A different way to make a few extra quid in these difficult times? There's always Cash in the Attic and Bargain Hunt on BBC One for those who just cannot take any more Budget coverage.

    Lauren from Essex

    texts: I'm a first-time buyer and just about to exchange on my first home. If the stamp duty for first-time buyers is no longer frozen it will cost me over \u00a32,000 just because I haven't completed in time before the Budget! I hope it stays frozen!

    Peter Rogers, Faversham,

    texts: in reply to Stewart from Coalville: Increasing minimum wage would increase unemployment - firms can't afford to employ as it is. What the government should focus upon is increasing disposable incomes for the lower brackets and incentivising small businesses to innovate. I don't agree with the 45p tax bracket either, but at least it may accelerate investment into the UK.


    "Lest we forget, the UK economy and the public finances are still in a horrible state". So says our Economics Editor Stephanie Flanders in her latest blog.

    Michael Hardy

    tweets: As a small business owner, doubt to see any benefits or any support to help me, unless GO accelerates rise in PA to \u00a310k now


    tweets: #bbcbudget Budget will be judged on restoration of innovation in the UK.


    Richard McGuire at Rabobank tells Susan Street on the BBC News Channel that sterling has weakened after the Bank of England meeting this morning that concluded the UK economy neeeded extra stimulus.


    More on this month's Bank of England meeting. The minutes - just released - show that the bank warned high oil prices and rising mortgage costs were among "significant risks" to the UK's recovery. The nine-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted in favour of keeping its stock of quantitative easing at \u00a3325bn after the previous month's increase of \u00a350bn.


    The committee concludes there was a "clear risk" that oil prices, driven up to $125 a barrel by fears over supply disruption with Iran, could push inflation higher than the MPC's current predictions and hit the global economy.

    Paul Erskine

    tweets: Introducing regional pay rates would be disastrous. Let's concentrate on reversing regional disparities not reinforcing them

    Hugh McNulty, Surrey,

    texts: As a serving soldier it is surely time to see a significant pay rise for all our armed forces. It is a bitter pill to swallow knowing benefits will rise by over 5% yet we get 1% which is in effect a pay cut when inflation cut in as well as the rise in accommodation costs and other charges we pay.


    And we're live outside the chancellor's front door in Downing Street. We're expecting him to emerge any moment now, carrying that famous red box.

    Gary, Belfast,

    texts: Some families have a huge difference in pay between partners. Some partners do not work to bring up a family. Would it not make sense to allow these individuals to use both partners' tax allowances and split the incomes equally between them?

    John, London,

    texts: Please, please, please extend the first-time buyer stamp duty holiday. My partner and I are looking at a \u00a32.4K bill caused by other people's mistakes and could really use some good news.


    Share prices seem to be holding their value as the Budget approaches. A short time ago, the FTSE-100 index was up 3.95 at 5895.36.

    BBC News Channel's Norman Smith

    tweets: Snappers rehearse Red Box moment by asking one of their number to pose as chancellor and to raise his camera

    Sophie, Glasgow,

    texts: I'm a first-time buyer and our solicitor has pushed our sale through this week so we avoid stamp duty. Gathering a deposit as "low earners" was hard enough without the added %.

    Stephanie Flanders Economics editor

    tweets: This from IFS: if the personal allowance goes up to \u00a39000 next year, that should save 580,000 people from paying tax.

    Stephanie Flanders Economics editor

    tweets: Also that allowance change will cost about \u00a33bn if he makes sure higher rate taxpayers benefit the same as others. Otherwise it's about \u00a34bn.

    Robin Brant Political Correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: Protestors have formed 'dole queue' by cabinet office outside downing street. Several hundred. Two wheelchair bound demonstrators at front.


    What do we already know about the Budget? The BBC's Kevin Peachey takes a look.


    George Osborne is expected to appear on the steps of 11 Downing Street any moment now, red box in hand.

    Ian, Luton,

    texts: Anyone struggling to pay stamp duty is not really in a position to buy a house. When interest rates go back to normal levels and they are in negative equity, what then?

    Brian, Suffolk,

    texts: I voted cons hoping they would deal with the deficit but all they seem to be doing is making me, as a civil servant, pay more and get less. I hope that this budget gives something back else I'll be looking to vote Labour next time.


    For Labour, shadow Treasury minister Owen Smith says the Budget will not promote "fairness or growth" if George Osborne decides to cut the top 50p income tax rate

    Robin Brant Political Correspondent, BBC News

    Green MP Caroline Lucas is at the front of a "dole queue" formed by demonstrators outside Downing Street. There are roughly 180 people in the crowd. They are shouting: "George bloody Osborne."


    Labour's Owen Smith predicts that the coalition will make a "Horlicks" of the economy.

    Labour's Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rachel Reeves

    tweets: Whatever he claims in Budget speech, Osborne is off track on borrowing plans-2days figures show he borrowed \u00a36bn more in Feb than Feb lst yr


    Live coverage of Budget 2012 has begun on BBC Two and the BBC News Channel. You can also watch it here (if you are on a PC) on the right hand side of this text.


    Mobile phones billionaire John Caudwell on the possible cut in the top rate of income tax, which is currently 50%. He tells Sky News that some poeple have left the country as a result of the tax but this would "probably still be the case" if the top rate was 30%.

    Labour Party leader Ed Miliband

    tweets: Chancellor must ensure every penny he can raise from those at the top is spent on helping ordinary families struggling to get by


    Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs says it will reveal how much money the 50p top rate of income tax has raised on the HMRC website as the chancellor sits down after his speech. Simultaneously, the Treasury will publish all the Budget documents on its website, with links to the HMRC report.


    The Guardian explores what the different interest groups "from the CBI to the TUC to Friends of the Earth" want from the budget"

    Breaking News

    George Osborne appears on the steps of 11 Downing Street with the famous red Budget box in hand. Less than an hour now before he gets up to speak in the Commons.

    Labour's Derby North MP Chris Williamson

    tweets: We need a budget for jobs and growth today, but I don't think Osborne's capable of delivering one


    The chancellor smiles for the cameras and walks along Downing Street to enter his waiting car.


    "The backdrop to Osborne's statement could certainly be better. It may be sunny in London, but Game, the video game and console chain, is reported to have just filed for administration." So says Ian Dunt on the Politics.co.uk blog


    More from the protests outside Downing Street. Many of the demonstrators wore green Robin Hood-style hats, accusing the government of "taking from the poor and giving to the rich". Mr Osborne will be keen to say he is doing precisely the opposite when he unveils the Budget.

    Labour List Blog

    says: It's worth remembering that a year ago Danny Alexander said those suggesting cutting the top rate of tax were living in "cloud cuckoo land".


    UK Uncut activist Joe Brooking says: "Austerity isn't just unfair and unnecessary - it isn't working."


    It's not long now until Prime Minister's Questions starts in the Commons. Most of the government's most senior ministers are already in place. It looks set to be a lively couple of hours.

    Colin Swindell, Matlock

    emails: As a councillor representing a geographically remote and rural area, I am concerned about the impact a further rise in fuel duty will have on the residents of the area. People who have to drive from outlying villages and hamlets to access employment, services and shopping in the nearby towns are getting hammered with their weekly fuel bill.


    Here's that traditional pose: Chancellor and the famous red Budget box.

    Georhe Osborne
    1154: Kate Gould, London,

    emails: If the chancellor goes ahead with his plan to cut child benefit to those earning more than \u00a342K then my family will be badly affected. My husband earns just over that and I work part-time. We live in London, have two children, work very hard to pay the bills etc, our wages have not risen in four years yet everything else is going up. This loss of benefit will seriously hurt us.


    In the Commons it's Cabinet Office questions. Minister Francis Maude says the government is being "much more transparent than ever before" in its dealings with contractors.


    Amid noisy protests outside Parliament, Lib Dem president Tim Farron tells the BBC News Channel that the Conservatives, rather than his party, want to cut the top rate of income tax, which he describes as "odd".


    For Labour, shadow Treasury minister Chris Leslie says real wages are falling and it's "appalling" to be cutting the 50p tax rate. All the while, the protests on the green opposite Parliament are getting louder and louder.

    Lee Munson, Dagenham,

    emails: As a single low earner who is not entitled to claim any benefits for my kids I never received anything under Labour but will spend my entire working life paying for it. Any chance the Conservatives or Lib Dems could do something, anything, for people in my position?

    Michael Downie, Newcastle Upon Tyne

    emails: No one seems to have thought about the most obvious thing that would benefit the public as a whole. If the chancellor were to drop VAT back down to 17.5% then everything would become more affordable.... the best way to encourage people to spend is to make it cheaper for them.

    Gavin Kelly

    writing in the New Statesman says the news that stamp duty could go up to 7% on properties over \u00a32m "has strong echoes of Gordon Brown's 2010 budget" and adds: "It's the tax that politicians have grown to love, and economists love to hate."


    Prime Mnister's Questions is under way. David Cameron says the UK has problems with a "sicknote culture".


    Labour leader Ed Miliband asks whether there will be any change of plans on the timetable for removing combat troops from Afghanistan. Mr Cameron says there will be no combat role after 2014 and that it's important to have a "sensible" discussion of the situation before then.

    Newsnight's Allegra Stratton

    tweets: So, further cuts. I'd been told weeks ago (kicks herself) that DWP expect another 'major cutting event' by end 2012 early 2013


    On Afghanistan, Ed Miliband asks how the UK government will work towards a political solution for the country's problems. David Cameron says he is committed to hand over operations to the Afghan government according to the previously agreed timetable.

    Mary Edwards, Sutton,

    emails: I am semi-retired and earn a small salary working for a charity. I think it is necessary to either reduce the top rate of tax or to increase the threshold at which higher rates tax kicks in. You cannot expect people who work hard to be penalised for working. We need their money to service those on benefits and thus we need to encourage them to stay in the country.


    The chancellor is engaged in jovial conversation with Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, as David Cameron answers backbench MPs' questions. Twenty minutes until the Budget starts.


    Labour's John Cryer says regional public sector pay, which the chancellor is expected to announce, will set region against region. Mr Cameron replies that the policy is "perfectly sensible".


    Ed Miliband says it is not good enough that many funds set up to compensate victims for last year's riots have not paid out in full. Mr Cameron says the government is addressing the issue.


    Mr Cameron admits more jobs are needed but says that the level of employment has risen under the coalition.

    Steve, Newbury,

    emails: Whilst pensioners complain of CPI increases and benefit claimants have their entitlement returned to normality, spare a thought for the the dying breed called the workforce who with zero pay increases, reduced services and support supply the money to pay them knowing that their pensions have been destroyed.

    Robin Brant Political Correspondent, BBC News

    The budget will feature no big giveaways because the chancellor cannot afford it. Where he cuts he will have to increase elsewhere - it is where he decides to make those moves that will probably define what is going to be a very political budget.

    Daniel, Nottingham,

    emails: I am a chartered tax adviser, but even someone with just common sense will realise that the more people there are at the lower end not paying tax, the more everyone else has to pay to cover them. Add in that the vast majority of people think they're "poor" to a certain extent, and that the genuinely rich are more able to choose what they pay, the burden will always fall on the middle-earners.

    Adam Weston, Cambridge

    emails: Shocked at the sheer amount of negativity from the live text feed - as a young person I actually find austerity and tax rises reassuring that my future will be one of less debt, despite the personal impact of tuition fee rises


    Tory MP Robert Halfon says his Harlow constituency has the highest rate of business growth and urges the PM to visit. Mr Cameron replies that the "only way is Essex", praising the county for its entrepreneurial flair.

    1226: Robin Brant Political Correspondent, BBC News

    The Prime Minister has just hinted at what could be significant cost savings for the government from the newly defined military transition in Afghanistan. David Cameron said the chancellor would have more details after PMQs on what could be a peace dividend for the Treasury following talks in Washington with President Obama around plans to withdraw UK and US forces in 2013 and 2014.

    1227: Robin Brant Political Correspondent, BBC News

    The Coalition has committed to complete withdrawal by the end of 2014, however the prime minister and President Obama discussed plans to see some forces step back from a frontline role in 2013. This could likely have significant cost savings which it appears could feed into the Budget balancing which the George Osborne is about to explain.


    Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes says more affordable housing is needed. Mr Cameron says extra money is going into schemes to get building going.

    1228: Ray, Slough,

    texts: The government said they will give all pensioners a rise of \u00a35.30 in line with inflation. I am a disabled pensioner and from the 2 April Slough council are increasing my rent by \u00a35 so I'm only 30p better off. It's a rip off.

    Nick Robinson Political editor

    tweets: #BBCBudget Was PM hinting at Afghan end of war dividend next year? Troops clearly coming home starting in 2013


    The PM mocks Commons Speaker John Bercow's speech ahead of the Queen's address to peers and MPs yesterday, in which he called her a "kaleidoscope" monarch, ruling over a "kaleidoscope" country. Mr Cameron says the chancellor will unveil a "kaleidoscope Budget". The MPs love that.

    1232: Breaking News

    The Chancellor, George Osborne, is on his feet in the House of Commons and delivering his Budget speech.


    Mr Osborne says the Budget "rewards work" and Britain "is going to earn its way in the world".


    The chancellor says it will be a reforming Budget.


    He promises "far-reaching tax reforms", making the UK more competitive.


    Mr Osborne promises to back industries like aerospace and science.


    The chancellor says financial stability "comes first".


    Britain is "not immune" from developments in the eurozone, Mr Osborne says.


    The chancellor promises to take "millions out of tax".

    1236: Breaking News

    The Office for Budget Responsibility is slightly revising up growth forecasts to this year to 0.8% this year and 2% next year.

    1238: Breaking News

    The forecast unemployment rate is forecast to fall, with claimant counts falling too, Mr Osborne says. Inflation will fall to 1.9% by next year, he adds.


    On the deficit, Mr Osborne says it is falling and will reach 7.6% next year. The share of GDP taken by the state will fall to 43% next year, he adds.


    Borrowing this year will be \u00a3126bn this year and \u00a3120bn next year, Mr Osborne says. It will be \u00a321bn by 2016/17, he tells MPs.


    Up to \u00a310bn additional welfare savings will be needed by 2016.


    There will be an automatic review of the state pension age.

    1244: Breaking News

    The cost of funding the UK's mission in Afghanistan until 2015 will be \u00a32.4bn lower than previously forecast.


    There will be an extra \u00a3100m to improve accommodation for armed forces personnel's families.


    The government is saving \u00a336bn in debt interest payments compared with Labour, Mr Osborne says.


    Keep up to date with the important points from the Budget speech at our "At a Glance" page.


    Britain is rebuilding its reserves, Mr Osborne says. Gold holdings are now \u00a311bn.


    The building fund providing up-front money for construction firms is being expanded.

    Sean Livesey

    tweets: Did anyone see that flicker of pleasure on Clegg's face as "unlimited benefits" was mentioned.


    Mr Osborne says a new \u00a370m development fund will be set up for London.


    The chancellor says he wants to double exports to \u00a31 trillion by the end of the decade.


    Mr Osborne announces improvements to train services between Manchester and Sheffield.


    The country must "confront" the lack of airport capacity in the south of England, Mr Osborne says.


    The UK will not be left behind by China, Brazil and India under this government, Mr Osborne promises.

    Hugh Pym, Chief Economics Correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: OBR has revised up growth forecast to 0.8 this year, but revised down a little to 2% next year #BBCBudget

    Spectator Coffee House Live Blog

    says: Osborne says that lower-than-expected borrowing will be used to "pay down debt". WRONG: it means debt will rise slightly slower.

    Laura Kuenssberg, ITV News

    tweets: More softening up for a future U turn on Heathrow expansion? Osborne's words on requiring airport capacity will go down well with most firms


    The chancellor promises "major savings" in administration costs for business.

    Robert Peston Business editor, BBC News

    tweets: Chancellor says South East needs more airport capacity. U-turn?


    Mr Osborne says a UK centre for aerodynamics will be set up..


    Tax credit schemes for video games and "high-end" TV production firms will be established.


    Mr Osborne says the UK will become "Europe's technology centre".

    Tim Shipman from the Daily Mail

    tweets: IDS will have to find \u00a310bn extra cuts to welfare


    The chancellor says taxes on patents will be cut.

    Paul Waugh, Editor PoliticHome.com

    tweets: Great dig at Ed Miliband and move to 'keep Wallace and Gromit' exactly where they are


    Former Deputy PM Lord Heseltine has been asked to review how government departments encourage private sector growth.


    The results of the government's planning system overhaul will be published next week.

    1300: Breaking News

    All-day trading will be allowed for eight Sundays starting on 22 July to coincide with the Olympics and Paralympics.

    1302: Breaking News

    A review will be held into whether to introduce differentiated regional public sector pay.


    The tax system needs "further reform", Mr Osborne says.


    Small firms will be taxed on the amount of cash passing through their businesses rather than more complicated methods used for large companies, Mr Osborne says.


    VAT loopholes and anomalies will be tackled, MPs are told.


    tweets: Great decision by government on relaxing sunday working hours. We're a 24 hour country


    The chancellor promises to simplify age-related tax allowances for pensioners.

    Elena Christoforou

    tweets: No, not the Sunday trading laws! Such valuable laws they are.. We'll start small, but in a few years nobody will spend Sun DOING NOTHING

    Simon Gilbert

    tweets: Tories talk up "family values" then prevent retail employees from spending time with family by extending Sunday trading hours?

    1307: Breaking News

    A single tier pension, at a minimum of \u00a3140, will be set, Mr Osborne says.


    From 2014 taxpayers will receive personal statements, detailing what they have paid and where the money is going.


    Mr Osborne promises to ease the rules to ensure scientific research becomes economically viable.

    Nick Robinson Political editor

    tweets: Pensioner tax "simplification" could raise alot of \u00a3s for government

    Breaking News

    The bank rate levy will be increased to 0.05%.


    tweets: so elderly people who still work as well as receiving a pension will have a smaller tax allowance than younger people?

    1311: Breaking News

    The planned level of increase to duty rates will not be changed. Tobacco duty will rise by 5% above inflation - 37p on a packet of cigarettes. The change starts at 1800 GMT today.


    A machine games duty will be introduced.

    Nick Robinson Political editor

    tweets: Just hours left to buy hot chicken, sports drink and fags before tax goes up #BBCBudget


    There will be no changes to fuel duty plans already set out.


    Vehicle excise duty frozen for road hauliers.


    The chancellor says tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance are "morally repugnant".

    Sam Bowman

    tweets: Cigarette taxes take effect at 6pm today. Be right back - just popping out to the shop...

    1317: Breaking News

    The stamp-duty rate on properties worth more than \u00a32m via companies will be raised to 15%. Stamp duty on individual-owned properties worth \u00a32m+ will be set at 7%.

    Robert Peston Business editor, BBC News

    tweets: Massive 15 per cent charge on transfers of \u00a32m plus homes into corporate ownership - to crackdown on stamp duty avoidance


    The 50p highest rate of income tax has caused "massive distortion", Mr Osborne says.

    Faisal Islam, Channel 4's Economics Editor

    tweets: 15% stamp duty on company shelters for property: Plus others too. Osborne's pretty serious about stamp duty. "People have been warned"

    1322: Breaking News

    The top income tax rate will be reduced to 45% from April next year.

    1324: Catherine Mayer

    tweets: So if you're a heavy-smoking, tax-avoiding banker close to retirement, with public sector spouse in regions, this isn't a good budget


    Mr Osborne says the 50p rate damages the economy and raises virtually nothing. Other taxes on the rich that he has announced will raise five times more than the amount lost by moving to a 45p rate, he argues.

    1326: Breaking News

    The salary threshold at which child benefit stops being paid will be set at \u00a350,000 - rather than about \u00a342,000. The withdrawal will be gradual - 1% of benefit for every \u00a3100 earned.

    1330: Breaking News

    The point at which people start paying income tax will be raised to \u00a39,205 from next April. Mr Osborne says two million people will be taken out of paying income tax.


    Millions of people will be \u00a3220 a year better off as a result of the raising of the income tax threshold, Mr Osborne says.


    The chancellor ends his speech by saying the British people will "share the efforts and the rewards" and that the country will "earn its way out" of its problems.

    Nick Robinson Political editor

    tweets: Chancellor quotes Revenue & OBR saying top rate tax cut will cost just \u00a3100 million to justify cut to 45p

    Robert Peston Business editor, BBC News

    tweets: Chancellor claims, backed by HMRC and OBR, that cut in top rate of tax from 50p to 45p to cost "only" \u00a3100m. Credible?

    Breaking News HM Treasury

    tweets: For when G Osborne sits down, you'll find official #Budget docs here, OBR report will be here

    1333: Breaking News

    Labour leader Ed Miliband says the Budget marks the end of the government's claim that "we're all in it together".

    1334: Breaking News

    Labour leader Mr Miliband says millions of people will be paying more, while millionaires pay less. There is a tax rise for pensioners "hidden" in the details of the Budget, he says.

    Andy K, Taunton,

    emails: What about childless couples, as usual we get NOTHING, but have to pay for everyone else. Budget for no one. By the time next April comes the \u00a3220 pound you're not paying in tax, will be wiped out with cost of living costs. Yet again, a wasted opportunity.


    The chancellor has failed to help middle-income families, the Labour leader tells MPs.

    Stephanie Flanders Economics editor

    tweets: Higher personal allowance will lift around 600,000 out of tax but remember one third of adults don't pay income tax now.


    Mr Miliband repeatedly says the chancellor has "failed", citing borrowing and unemployment figures.


    On stamp duty, Mr Miliband says 99% of people will be unaffected and that many people buying expensive homes worth less than \u00a32m will not pay any more.


    The Budget "squeezes the middle", Mr Miliband says. A banker of \u00a35m will get an extra \u00a3240,000 a year as a result of the reduction in the top rate of income tax, he argues.


    Mr Miliband asks members of the cabinet who will benefit from the income tax cut to raise their hands. Nobody complies.


    Mr Miliband makes a joke about income tax. "Now he's going to be able to buy his own horse," he says of the prime minister. David Cameron recently admitted he had ridden a former police horse cared for by ex-News International boss Rebecca Brooks.


    Mr Miliband says the Lib Dems must be "dumb" to believe this is a "Robin Hood Budget".

    Breaking News Robert Peston Business editor, BBC News

    tweets: Company car tax going up \u00a3375m in 2015 - hidden in budget book

    Robert Peston Business editor, BBC News

    tweets: And with changes on capital allowances, government taking extra \u00a31/2bn from company cars

    Ant in Leighton Buzzard

    writes: Why does Ed Milliband respond with qualitative statements saying everything in the budget is wrong for the country? It would be much better if we could see what Labour would have done in this position.


    Mr Miliband keeps joking. he says the cabinet regards Downton Abbey not as a costume drama but a "fly-on-the-wall documentary".


    The Labour leader ends his speech by saying it is an "unfair Budget from the same old Tories".

    James Saville

    tweets: Miliband also attacks Lib Dems over "millionaire's budget" - saying they should be "ashamed". Clegg and Cable looking sheepish


    Here's our story on the planned rise in fuel duty.


    And here's our take on the chancellor's plans to clamp down on stamp duty avoidance.

    Stuart Knowles, Warrington,

    emails: How quick the Labour Party forget why the country has such a large defecit and such high borrowings? We are all paying back what they mis-spent and borrowed! Refering to note left by outgoing chancellor "sorry there's nothing left". Talk about scuttling the fleet!

    Robin Brant Political Correspondent, BBC News

    This government's third budget is fiscally neutral - where the chancellor has cut taxes he has had to increase them elsewhere. low earners will pay less tax, so will high earners. There's cost savings from withdrawing UK forces from Afghanistan in 2013 and 2014. Smokers get hit hard. There's an increase on tax for the very wealthy who are selling their property, and a blunt warning about tax avoidance on property. Most surprisingly there was an effective tax rise for pensioners, who will see their personal allowance frozen then abolished.

    Stuart Fox, Nottingham,

    emails: How is this budget going to help young people? The million of them struggling to find work won't be helped by the tax cut, and the low growth figures don't give much optimism about more work appearing for them. All the benefits of this Budget are going to older and richer people.


    Here are some of the protesters who have gathered outside Parliament.

    1400: Helen, Broxbourne,

    texts: The Chancellor appears to be penalising pensioners who can ill afford it given the low interest rates currently in being. When will it end?


    That Budget debate is ongoing. Treasury Committee chairman Andrew Tyrie says the UK needs a "simpler, fairer" tax system and that today's changes should encourage the economy.


    Here's the prime minister offering the chancellor some encouragement after he has delivered the Budget.

    George Osborne and David Cameron
    1402: Breaking News

    Bob Crow, leader of the RMT rail union, says the tax changes will mean a banker on half a million pounds a year will receive a "kick back" of "17,500, money "robbed" from public services and the neediest in society.


    Lib Dem former Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Laws says his party's president Tim Farron, who has expressed doubts about reducing the top rate of income tax, is "delighted" by the Budget.


    For Labour, shadow Treasury minister Rachel Reeves says a tax cut for high earners "cannot be the right priority".


    Back in the Commons, Labour MP Ann McKechin says low earners will not be the main beneficiaries of the increase in income tax allowances - with middle and high earners gaining most.


    Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander says the Budget will get more money into the pockets of low and middle earners.


    Some context here on the plans to withdraw child benefit from higher-earning parents.


    Danny Alexander says it is a Budget for the "millions, not the millionaires".


    Friends of the Earth's executive director, Andy Atkins, says: "This Budget sticks two fingers up at David Cameron's promise to build a clean future and gives a massive thumbs down to new jobs and cutting our reliance on expensive gas and oil."


    Danny Alexander says changes to tax allowances for pensioners will save about \u00a31bn by 2016/17. There will be no "cash losers", he adds.


    Wendy Piatt, director-general of the Russell Group of leading universities says the announcement of \u00a3100m for investment in research facilities is" a step in the right direction, especially following recent cuts to capital spending". But she adds that the money "must be in addition to government funding and not a replacement for it".

    Jim Griffiths, Chelmsford

    emails: Did I understand it right? Now a couple can earn \u00a3100k before losing child benefit while a single income of \u00a350k can trigger a cut in benefit. That still seems unfair to me.


    In the Commons, Conservative MP John Redwood has said Labour didn't raise the top rate of tax from 40p when in government. Is it because they knew it wouldn't raise much revenue? he asks.

    1425: Robin Brant Political Correspondent, BBC News

    George Osborne's big picture is that green shoots are emerging in the UK economy - a few, tiny, verdent buds - but the deficit reduction plan will be gradual and long drawn out. Read more here.


    John Redwood says that there is "a natural ceiling on how much you can get out of people in a free economy". We "desperately need every job we can get" he adds.


    Another picture from those protests outside Parliament.

    Lewis, Glasgow

    emails: Danny Alexander claims that earners eligible for the 50p tax are dodging this, so what guarantees are there that they will pay 45p and why couldn't the government put more effort into making them pay the 50p tax?

    Clive Harber, Scunthorpe

    emails: Personal tax allowance increase next year, great. Oh, wait a minute, fuel duty to rise in August? How about don't bother with either? Would be better off that way.

    @ConHome's Paul Montgomerie

    tweets: My tmrw's frontage predictions: Mail will be unhappy at granny tax. Sun will moan about fuel duty. Mirror will focus on 50p.

    Michael Savage from the Times

    tweets: Pensioners are a formidable lobby group and they vote. Does Osborne realise what he's in for? #grannytax


    Tim Martin, chairman of the Wetherspoon pub chain, says: "We are disappointed that excise duties on alcohol will increase by 2% beyond the rate of inflation, since the British people are now paying 40% of all the alcohol duties in Europe."

    OAP, Cleethorpes

    texts: Once again rob the poor to pay the rich. What a travesty of we are all in this together. Another big con.

    Jack Cherry, Golalming

    texts: I believe that the decrease in the top rate tax is good. In many cases these people work hard and keep our economy going. They are getting taxed for doing good deeds! We are better off this way.

    Jason, Coulsdon

    emails: Everyone wants something but seem to have forgotten that the country is flat broke. It's about time a touch of reality comes into the discussion and Labour's response.

    Simon Glanville, Perranporth

    emails: If we had a government that understood anything outside concreted areas, they would realise that people in the countryside actually need petrol to get around and would do something about it, like reduce it!


    Labour shadow chancellor Ed Balls on the BBC's Budget Special says the government are cutting the taxes top rate tax payers at a cost of \u00a33bn. That's a tax cut of about \u00a310,000 each for millionaires, he says.

    Will, Guildford

    emails: Spare a thought for widowed parents out there who earn more than \u00a360K. I not only lose child benefit but widowed parents allowance that is paid whilst in receipt of child benefit. Effect, I take a net \u00a35700 cut in income ....


    And Ed Balls adds he doesn't think cutting the top rate tax to 45p will end tax avoidnace by the rich.


    Mr Balls says the chancellor is using a "tax rise on pensioners" and money saved on the Afghanistan mission and handing the proceeds to millionaires.

    Claire Dissaanyaka, Hartley, Kent

    emails: Frankly I am disgusted that the Chancellor has decided to go through with cutting child benefit in this way. I am being penalised for being a successful, hard working, tax paying single parent.

    Dr J. Ellis, Leics

    texts: Rural folk won't need petrol to get around as there won't be any countryside left soon with planning laws disappearing.


    Back to the budget debate in the House of Commons. Labour's John Denham tells MPs that "families with children will be \u00a3530 worse off on average".


    Neil Prothero, lead UK Analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, says Mr Osborne's growth predictions beyond this year "still appear for too optimistic". He adds: "With private debt levels and unemployment remaining high, and external demand (especially in Europe) struggling to recover, a likely weaker trend in output will imply even more austerity to meet government's medium-term fiscal targets."


    The CBI's director-general, John Cridland, says that "by putting more money in the pockets of ordinary people, the chancellor has provided a much-needed confidence boost". But he adds that businesses would have been hoping for "more... in the area of deregulation".


    Labour leader Ed Miliband taunted the Coalition front bench during the budget debate, daring them to raise their hands if they would benefit from the Chancellor's tax cut for the better off. No-one complied. Watch it again here.

    1507: Breaking News

    The BBC's Simon Gompertz says 300,000 people will be drawn into the 40% higher rate tax band from 2013-14. The change comes as a result of the higher rate threshold being reduced from \u00a342,475 to \u00a341,450.

    1512: Christine Quigley

    tweets: Today's was a budget about figures, not people. Little comfort for older people, NEETS etc.


    Some reaction from the Countryside Alliance, which says Mr Osborne has "overlooked" the rural economy in the Budget. While the campaign group applauds plans for improved mobile phone coverage, it says there has been no action on fuel prices and access to faster broadband.

    Paul, Chesterfield

    e-mails: I'm extremely angry and disappointed with this budget. The way this child benefit change is being implemented is ridiculous. All this whilst millionaires are rewarded with a tax break.


    The British Chambers of Commerce says small companies will be "disappointed" there was not more in the Budget for them - such as further incentives to take on workers and to invest in new machinery.

    Robert Peston Business editor, BBC News

    tweets: HMRC says cut in top rate of tax will hand \u00a33bn to top-rate tax payers, but those dodging taxes will stop dodging by \u00a32.9bn. Plausible?

    Keith Smith, Cornwall

    emails: Well, after over 45 years of supporting the Conservative Party, Mr Osborne has managed in one day to bring this all to an end. Bye Bye, Mr Cameron, I am sure this move will cost you your job in the end - there are a lot of us pensioners!!

    Eileen, Dover

    texts: I am very disappointed to hear this. As a mother of two who doesn't earn a lot and now my child benefits are being cut, I am deeply worried for our economic future.


    Smokers' groups criticise the 37p rise in a packet of cigarettes, saying it will encourage black market sales and smuggling. Forest says it "an attack on all law-abiding smokers who support Britain's retailers by purchasing their cigarettes at home".


    In the Commons Sammy Wilson of the DUP has described tax cuts for the highest paid as "just bizarre".


    But Mr Wilson welcomes corporation tax changes which he believes will help Northern Ireland against its "main competitor" for overseas investment - the Republic of Ireland.

    Sarah, Glastonbury

    emails: As a one income family of three who don't claim any benefits and are not entitled to any tax credits I worry that they haven't announced the point at which we pay 40pc.

    Neil, London

    emails: Anyone who chooses to live in the countryside and be further away from amenities and jobs should stop complaining about fuel prices. If they want to live there and enjoy all the benefits that go with it then they must also accept the costs.


    Labour's shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper says pensioners are paying for the wealthy's tax cuts. It's starting to be a consistent Labour theme.


    The chancellor's pledge to make UK the "technology centre of Europe" is questioned by Sir Paul Nurse, head of the Royal Society. He says the UK must "think bigger than its competitors" and invest more in research and development to bring it into line with its rivals.


    Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper tells the BBC that the Budget is "deeply, deeply unfair". Families with children are being "hit hard" while pensioners are being asked to pay more, she says. This is a consistent Labour theme.

    Stu, Doncaster

    emails: I can't believe how many people are whinging about child benefit being cut. "We" really are a country obsessed with being given benefits. What happened to being accountable for your life choices?

    Mike, Wigan

    emails: I see the government is adding 8% to the cost of flights... Going on holiday is now so expensive, it'll become a thing for the rich. Is this a ploy to keep the UK public in the UK, so we spend our money on the UK economy?


    Former Conservative chancellor Lord Lamont says there is "too much attention" being paid to the cut in the 50p tax rate. He believes the focus should be on the rise in the personal tax allowance for more than 20 million which "will leave a lot of people better off".

    Melody Crookes, Gloucester

    emails: So what are we pensioners supposed to do when you've reduced our income yet again, Mr Osborne? Get one of the abundance of jobs out there? It's true - you shouldn't be old or ill or very young in this country under this government. Pensioners do vote, though - think on that, Mr Osborne!

    Sue, London

    emails: Just watching the live post budget discussion. Clearly the empty benches show just how interested all parties are.


    This is artist Kaya Mar with his painting depicting George Osborne as a naked conjurer.

    George Osborne painting

    Union leader Mark Serwotka welcomes the rise in tax allowances for the lowest-paid. But he says the 50p tax cut sends the signal that this is a "budget for a rich while everyone else carries on suffering".


    The BBC News Channel's chief political correspondent Norman Smith says Mr Osborne does not want tomorrow's headlines to be dominated by a row over 50p. While it might have been a "no-brainer" financially to reduce the top rate, he says the chancellor will know what a "politically loaded" move it is.

    Ian Connor, Kent

    texts: Isn't the real headline the fact that fuel is going up by 3p as previously threatened? This will force commuters and businesses off the road - it's a glaring oversight that will have serious consequences.


    The 50p tax rate has been a "complete flop", Eric Pickles argues. The communities secretary says ministers have found a "much better way" of ensuring the wealthiest pay their fair share of tax.


    SNP Treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie tells MPs that the reduction in the threshold at which people will pay 40% tax next year means that the middle have been "not so much squeezed, they've been almost halved".

    1543: BBC Chief Economics Correspondent Hugh Pym

    tweets: There are estimated to be more than 4 million taxpaying pensioners who will see tax free allowance frozen - \u00a31bn hit in 2015


    TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber likens plans for regional pay rates to "picking the pockets of public servants" outside London and the south east of England. It could lead to skills shortages, he warns, as people move to areas where they will be better paid.

    Former Labour Deputy Leader John Prescott

    Cameron gives 14,000 millionaires (him & Osborne included) a \u00a340k tax cut funded by grannies. Shameful.

    Daily Mail's Tim Shipman

    tweets: There's a case that this generation of pensioners did well & there's case for generational transfer. Osborne did not make this argument.

    Labour's Hilary Benn

    tweets: Bizarre! Eric Pickles on the TV claiming that the way to get the rich to pay more taxes is to cut the top rate of tax!!


    The Taxpayers Alliance broadly welcomes the Budget, saying it will "ease the pressure" on family budgets and allow people to keep more of their money. But the campaign group attacks the rise in stamp duty for sales of \u00a32m homes, calling it "an ugly tax".

    Martina McAuley, Ballymena

    emails: As someone who stands to lose child benefit, it strikes me as extremely unfair that I have friends who earn the equivalent jointly, who will get to keep theirs. How is this fair? We're already paying a higher rate of tax on our household income.


    John Whiting, director of the Office of Tax Simplification, says there are good and bad things in the Budget in terms of making the system more straightforward. He jokes that to "change the game", ministers would have to do something "really radical" like abolishing income tax altogether.


    Across the Atlantic, the main US news networks are completely ignoring George Osborne's Budget in favour of their rolling, and seemingly never-ending, coverage of the US Presidential primary race and other domestic stories. The Wall Street Journal has piece on its website noting that the pound "continues to sag against the dollar" after Mr Osborne "reaffirmed his commitment to rein in the country's debts".

    Jim, Glasgow

    emails: Interesting reading all the pensioner complaints about the impact of the allowance change and their threat to vote against the government next time. I'll remind my children who can't vote why they can't afford a house, need to pay for university and pay for their taxes to support wealthy pensioners. It's about time there was a fair burden generationally and not just on rich vs. poor.


    Responding to the OBR's forecast for negative growth in the eurozone this year, the UK Independence Party says the UK is "chained to the slowcoach of the world economy" while it remains within the European Union. "This Budget confirms the sooner the UK leaves the EU, the better," says Tim Congdon.


    It's no great surprise but Mayor of London Boris Johnson has praised the Budget, saying it will make the capital "more competitive and attractive to business". Mr Johnson, who is standing for re-election in May, welcomes "vital" new funds for transport.

    Breaking News

    Michelle Mitchell, director-general of Age UK, says: "Older taxpayers will be disappointed that the government has decided to scrap the age-related tax allowance. This will affect those with modest pensions and savings for their retirement."

    Huddlebuy, London

    emails: If the chancellor really supports small businesses he should have put his money where his mouth is. The huge 5.6% rise in business rates next month will cost businesses up and down the country billions of pounds.How is this fair and supportive to business?


    Our Home Editor Mark Easton has been looking into who has been hit hardest by the Budget. We all know about the "squeezed middle," he says. But what about the "squashed bottom"?

    Simon, Manchester

    texts: Labour's reputation for economic competency is still taking a hit. They are simply criticising everything without offering any meaningful suggestions to balancing the books other then taxing bankers. It's easy to be critical whilst sitting on the fence but it's too short-sighted.


    There's a warning that thousands of jobs could be lost in the pub trade after the government said it would proceed with a 2% above-inflation rise in alcohol duty. Real ale group Camra says beer prices will rise by between 5p and 10p next week and duties have risen by 40% since 2008.


    More discussion of the detail. Charities say big donors will be discouraged by a tax relief cap introduced in the Budget.

    John, Harrogate

    texts: Thanks Mr Osbourne for your back door tax increase for pensioners. We have clearly funded the reduction in the 50p tax rate. What next? Take our bus passes and free prescriptions off us?


    Stephen Tetlow, chief executive of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, offers a musical metaphor: "This Budget contains some helpful measures but it's a vision we need, not this piecemeal approach. We're hearing the right notes, but no tune."

    Nick Robinson Political editor

    "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?" Read more of Nicks blog here.

    Derek Coleman, Luton

    emails: I am retired, not yet 65 and I am in the 4+million people who will be affected by the tax changes for pensioners. I have supported the Conservatives for most of my adult life. Enjoy your term in power Cameron and Osbourne, I hope all of these 4+ milllion people do not vote Conservative next time.


    Michael Izza, chief executive of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, says the Budget "will have little immediate impact in accelerating the UK's slow economic recovery. It is a Budget for tomorrow, not for today."


    In the Commons, Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy - whose constituency was hit by last August's riots - has warned of a "workless class" in society and a lack of jobs which, he says, should "concern" all MPs.


    Professor Stephen Caddick of University College London says: "Reducing the 50p tax rate will show that the UK is opening its arms to business rather than battening down the hatches and give a strong signal of support to entrepreneurs."


    The SNP say there is a "democratic issue" with the Budget they claim is reminiscent of the 1980s. The party's Westminster leader, Angus Robertson, says the Scottish people did not vote for the government so "why on earth should we put up with it".


    How does the building industry feel about the Budget? Well, Liz Peace, chief executive of the British Property Federation, is none too pleased that the chancellor has "again ignored" calls to provide relief from the empty property rate tax. She says this is a "major disincentive to carrying out speculative development for small business premises".


    David Lammy argues that "the cost of living is going up for the working poor" and that two thirds of London apprenticeships have gone to those over 25, which does not help youth unemployment.


    For Plaid Cymru, the party's economy spokesman Jonathan Edwards says plans for regional pay will "institutionalise" low pay in Wales and other parts of the UK. This is "extremely worrying", he adds.

    Jody Rolfe, Stevenage

    emails: I'm a first time buyer who exchanged contracts in December, not going to complete in time for stamp duty holiday as new build. Now have to find \u00a31,500 on top of \u00a323,000 deposit, which is going to be impossible for us. We feel punished for trying to get on the ladder.


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