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Live Reporting

Pippa Simm and Sarah Weaver

All times stated are UK

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  1. Recap: Budget day round-up

    George Osborne raises his Budget box to photographers outside Number 11 Downing Street

    Well, it's fair to say it's been a very busy day. Here's a recap of what's happened:

    We're ending our coverage for the day now. Thanks for joining us - we'll be back tomorrow at 6am.

  2. End of oil 'cash cow'

    Douglas Fraser, BBC Business/economy editor, Scotland

    North sea oil rig

    Douglas Fraser, the BBC's Business/economy editor, Scotland has this analysis of the impact of the chancellor's measures on the Scottish oil industry.

    He writes that a headline tax cut of a third - in the case of the Supplementary Charge on newer fields - "looks unusually generous in the current fiscal climate".

    But he goes on: "It looks less generous when it's added to corporation tax, which runs at 30% of profits while other industries pay 20%. And it's less generous still, when you recall that the cut in supplementary charge from 30% to 20% precisely reverses the increase George Osborne announced in his 2011 Budget - to oil industry consternation.

    "This was a Budget which spelled the end to the 40-year era of oil and gas being a government cash cow."

  3. Gaby Hinsliff, political editor, Grazia


    tweets: Tsk, you lot confused by what the Sun front page image of Osborne means. It's this ad, aimed at Young Persons

  4. Chancellor 'gets what he wanted'

    Tomorrow's front pages

    Isabel Hardmann has blogged in the Spectator that the chancellor will be pleased with tomorrow's front pages. Yup, even THAT Sun front page, apparently.

  5. Lord Ashcroft, pollster


    tweets: YouGov/Sun poll CON 33%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14%, GRNS 6%

  6. 'Not a giveaway'

    Daniel Finkelstein

    Danny Finkelstein responded to Damian McBride and defended the chancellor's performance. He said the Conservatives' election strategy was not to run the election on a giveaway Budget but rather try "to show that it has competent, consistent management" of the economy.

  7. 'A missed opportunity'

    Damian McBride

    Damian McBride says George Osborne hasn't done enough, today, to hand the Conservatives the election. The former advisor to Gordon Brown told BBC Newsnight, "in an election campaign ... momentum is everything".

    He said: "Will this produce the 5% shift in the polls that will change the momentum and direction of the election campaign and massively put the pressure onto Labour or does it actually leave Labour thinking 'Well, we've got the argument where we want it.' And I fear for George Osborne today that he hasn't produced that shift." He went on to say it was a "big opportunity" for the chancellor but it was "a missed opportunity."

  8. Small print

    The Spectator editor Fraser Nelson says that, as ever, the story of the Budget was hidden in the small print. There are no hidden tax rises, but the story isn't really in the tax. It's about the cuts to come, the incredible jobs recovery and the games already being played for the general election campaign, he adds. He breaks down the Budget down into ten graphs.

  9. More borrowing?

    Chris Leslie

    It's shadow Treasury secretary Chris Leslie's turn to be grilled by Evan Davis now. Asked to confirm that Labour would spend more than the Conservatives if it wins the election, Mr Leslie does not address the question directly. He says Labour rejects the need for such "extreme spending cuts" planned by the Conservatives, and tells BBC Newsnight the party would not rely on borrowing in its general election manifesto. He says that getting on top of the deficit is not just dependent on cuts but also fairer taxation.

  10. Independent front page

    Independent front page
  11. The Times front page

    Via @SkyNews

    Times front page
  12. i front page

    Via @suttonnick

    i front page
  13. 'Right direction'

    Treasury minister David Gauke on BBC Newsnight

    The chancellor was making a point about deficit, wages and job "where we have got a very good story to tell", David Gauke adds. He says the government inherited a "desperate position" from Labour in 2010 "but we are now moving in the right direction".

  14. Paying our way?

    Treasury minister David Gauke

    Challenged over Mr Osborne's remarks that Britain is paying its way in the world, Treasury minister David Gauke tells BBC Newsnight the government will be delivering a budget surplus in 2018-19 and that debt will be falling as a proportion of GDP from 2015-16 - the first time in fifteen years, he adds.

  15. Daily Star front page

    Via @suttonnick

    Daily Star front page
  16. Argument refined

    James Landale

    Deputy political editor

    Today's Budget doesn't change the fundamental debate of British politics: George Osborne is still saying 'the economy is getting, better stick with me', while Labour is saying 'there are big cuts to come, don't risk it with him'. But the argument has been refined. The chancellor has a budget book which he says shows debt will be falling, living standards will be rising and austerity will end a bit earlier than expected - all designed to counter specific Labour criticism of the Conservative position. But Labour says the chancellor has got the tone wrong, and by being so optimistic today he has been hubristic, which will jar with the public. The test of the budget will come in the coming days, when strategists pour over the numbers and opinion polls to see whether today's announcements have tempted marginal voters to come on board or whether they say no, it's time for a change.

  17. Guardian front page

    Guardian front page
  18. Daily Mail front page

    Via @suttonnick

    Daily Mail front page
  19. Daily Mirror front page

    Via @suttonnick

    Daily Mirror front page
  20. The Sun front page

    Via @suttonnick

    Sun front page
  21. A cunning plan?

    Blackadder, Baldrick and Queenie

    "In his crucial Budget speech, George Osborne tries to pull off a tough balancing act - while Ed Miliband gets cross, and David Cameron becomes a little over-excited," writes the Telegraph's parliamentary sketchwriter Michael Deacon.

    He says George Osborne has improved as a speaker but, "what hasn't changed, however, is his tone of voice. Almost everything he says sounds like an insult".

    With phrases such as "walking tall" and "the comeback country", the chancellor's statement was designed to convey optimism, he goes on, arguing, "David Cameron could have said these words easily. For Mr Osborne - the most acidly cynical figure in British politics since Edmund Blackadder appointed himself Baldrick's election strategist - it must have been rather harder."

  22. 'He kept chanting. And kept chanting'

    Iain Dale

    Sharp-eared viewers may have heard the nation's media competing with hecklers during some of today's live Budget analysis coming from outside Parliament, on Westminster's College Green. LBC's Iain Dale has explained what was the cause of the racket.

  23. TV debates

    Natalie Bennett, Nigel Farage, Nick Clegg, David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nicola Sturgeon, Leanne Wood

    The Guardian is reporting that broadcasters are expected to confirm tomorrow that the first TV election debate featuring the party leaders will go ahead next week, with David Cameron and Ed Miliband interviewed separately by Jeremy Paxman. It is also thought the announcement will confirm the formats for the rest of the debate, with no substantial changes expected to the proposals which Downing Street claimed on Tuesday to have agreed with broadcasters.

  24. BBC Newsnight

    A timely reminder that Newsnight is coming up on BBC Two shortly, at 22.30pm. Conservative Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke and his opposition counterpart, Chris Leslie, will be on the programme. We'll be watching, and bringing you all the latest.

  25. Daily Telegraph front page

    Daily Telegraph front page
  26. 'Simplistic, repetitive, dull, muscular, negative'

    Conservative election strategist Lynton Crosby

    Tim Montgomerie sees Lynton Crosby's fingerprints all over the Budget - and isn't best pleased about it, bemoaning what he sees as the short-term election strategy coming at the cost of a long-term vision for the party.

    Writing in tomorrow's Times (£) he says: "The campaign the Tories are fighting — simplistic, repetitive, dull, muscular, negative — is all Crosby and so was the budget."

    He goes on: "My only hope is that, win or lose, Crosby is not allowed to continue his domination of the Conservative party after May 7," concluding, "Crosby's political recipe might be enough to beat Ed Miliband. It's not enough to build a Conservative party that deserves to win elections."

  27. Metro front page

    Via @suttonnick

    tweets: Thursday's Metro front page: 22 die in terrorist attack at museum

    Metro front page
  28. FT front page

    FT front page
  29. Spectator front page

    Via @suttonnick

    tweets: This week's Spectator front page: Britain is working #tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers

    The Spectator front page
  30. £81m on 'cheap shots'

    The Chancellor George Osborne delivering his 2015 Budget

    The Guardian has totted up the cost of, as it sees it, the Budget measures which allowed the chancellor to score a point at Ed Miliband's expense in the Commons - and arrives at a total of £81m, plus some "valuable treasury civil servant hours". It claims the chancellor's speech left "some wondering if he is spending millions of public money on cheap shots".

  31. Evening Standard front page

    Evening Standard front page

    One for tonight, rather than tomorrow ... the West End final of the Evening Standard. Readers will remember two years ago when the paper had to apologise after publishing details of the Budget too early.

  32. 'A budget for Jeremy Clarkson'

    BBC News Channel

    Jeremy Clarkson

    Was there much in the Budget for women? "Noooo!" asserts economist Katrine Marcal. "Duty cuts for fuel and beer - that's a budget for Jeremy Clarkson." Although George Osborne said in his statement that the gender pay gap was now at its smallest, she says if you compare the UK to many other countries in the OECD "it is still pretty large".

  33. Beth Rigby, FT's deputy political editor


    tweets: I haven't had enough of this pre-election Budget -- will be reviewing the frontpages on the #bbcpapers tonight

  34. Rebecca Keating, BBC parliamentary reporter


    tweets: Wednesday in Parliament: Wisecracking @George_Osborne favours savers & ends austerity early. Labour labels #Budget2015 'unbelievable' (1/2)

    Plus: Mixed feels about the schools building programme & fears Likud's victory will further stall the Mid East peace process (2/3)

    And @David_Cameron sees the funny side of @Ed_Miliband's two kitchens @bbcdemlive 2300 tonight (3/3)

  35. Inaccurate picture?

    BBC News Channel

    It was a "tick box Budget", economist Marian Bell tells the BBC News Channel, and by "apparently giving something for everybody the image that's been created is perhaps not entirely valid". The budget overall did very little for the economy, she adds, as everything "netted out".

  36. Osborne's message

    James Landale

    Deputy political editor

    George Osborne holds up Budget case as he stands outside Number 11

    George Osborne's aim today was to turn the economic recovery of the country into the political recovery of the Conservatives. So, he tried to reassure voters worried about another Tory-led government and convince them they'll benefit from the growing economy. Read more from James here.

  37. Ed Conway, Sky News economics editor


    Graph of net cost/gain of Budget measures for election

    tweets: Statistical evidence that Osborne's refusal to do pre-election giveaway is HIGHLY unusual. Brown in 05 only other one

  38. Tunisia terror attack

    Tunisian police outside the Bardo museum in Tunis

    In other news, David Cameron has said he is "appalled" by the terror attack in Tunisia, which left 22 people dead when gunmen stormed the country's national museum. The prime minister pledged Britain's full support, while the Foreign Office said it is "urgently" looking into the attack amid reports Britons may be among the dead.

  39. The other Tory chairman

    Conservative chairman Grant Shapps has been in the headlines rather a lot this week but, according to journalist and former Conservative staffer Andrew Gimson, it is his co-chairman Lord Feldman who is the more important political figure. In a profile for ConservativeHome, Gimson describes Feldman - who is in charge of party fundraising - as David Cameron's "oldest political friend" and suggests he has an "exceptional aptitude for filling the party's war chest". With the election just 50 days away, this backroom figure's significance could be greater than ever.

  40. Election impact?

    Ken Clarke

    "Budgets never affect elections," former Conservative Chancellor Ken Clarke tells Sky News, before adding that George Osborne's was a good one today.

  41. What's been happening?

    People walk across Waterloo Bridge in front of The Houses of Parliament

    If you're just joining us, here's a quick recap of today's events:

    • Chancellor George Osborne delivered his sixth and final Budget of this Parliament, with 50 days to go until the general election
    • He announced tax cuts for first-time home buyers, workers and savers and declared that Britain was "walking tall again"
    • Ed Miliband said it was a Budget that people "won't believe" from a government "they do not trust"
    • Earlier in the day, David Cameron and Mr Miliband clashed over the NHS at Prime Minister's Questions - likely to be the penultimate encounter before the election
    • Unemployment has fallen again, by 102,000 to 1.86 million in the three months to January.
  42. Robin Brant, BBC political correspondent


    tweets: on chances of minority govt ken clarke tells @SkyNewsBreak 'its the duty of the electorate' to 'put upon strong government' ie vote

  43. Robin Brant, BBC political correspondent


    tweets: looks like @TheSunNewspaper - unsurprisingly - heading towards endorsing @Conservatives if you're listening to @StigAbell on @SkyNewsBreak

  44. Former HSBC's boss 'regrets'

    Lord Green

    Channel 4 News has tracked down former trade minister and HSBC boss Lord Green to a church in the City of London - where he was giving a lecture. Pressed on allegations that HSBC helped customers of its Swiss banking arm to avoid tax, he said the claims were a "source of dismay and deep regret". "Did we work hard to try and do the right thing. Yes we did," he told Channel 4's Alex Thompson. "Did we get everything right. Maybe not?"

  45. Annuity advice 'needed'

    BBC News Channel

    Ros Altmann

    Pensions expert Ros Altmann has welcomed the government consultation into making it compulsory for pensioners to take professional advice before selling their annuities. Discussing the proposal on the BBC News Channel, she said the risk of overcharging was "why we need advice for people and we need the regulator to be on top of this."

    She continued: "The idea that we shouldn't trust people with their own money - which is how it used to be - I think, needed to change."

  46. 'Don't press send'

    Shadow chancellor Ed Balls

    George Eaton's Staggers blog reports how Ed Balls seized on a Tory Treasury defence of the level of cuts to spending on day-to-day services planned in the coming years.

    At his post-Budget briefing, the shadow chancellor claimed spending was back to 1938 levels, but midway through his briefing the Tory Treasury twitter account tweeted: "not true - OBR text makes clear it's 1964".

    When made aware of the tweet, the shadow chancellor apparently scoffed: "Is that a boast?" before adding: "If I was George Osborne I would have said: 'Don't press send'".

  47. 'Public services squeeze'

    Budget analysis

    Buzzfeed's Robert Colvile has summarised the future pressures on public spending. His analysis describes how "the cuts - whichever party wins the election - will be felt in much the same areas, squeezing public services that have already been squeezed still further," before concluding: "Despite Osborne's upbeat rhetoric, we should all be bracing ourselves for the cuts to come."

  48. Via Blog

    Linda Yueh

    Chief business correspondent

    Investors don't like to be surprised, so part of what the Fed has to do is to manage expectations. And one of the concerns that's percolating right now is whether Fed raising rates or tightening could result in a repeat of the 1930's." Read more of Linda analysis of today's Fed statement here.

  49. Labour's fox 'lamed'

    Robert Peston

    Economics editor

    A fox

    For Robert Peston, the Budget hasn't changed the choice facing the nation's voters. The BBC's economics editor writes: "George Osborne has lamed - if not shot - one of Labour's foxes, namely that Tory spending cuts would be egregiously larger than Labour's.

    But he continues: "The choice confronting voters hasn't changed much as a result of this Budget: more spending on public services with Labour (and to a lesser extent with the Liberal Democrats); faster debt reduction with the Tories."

  50. Osborne 'blinked' over cuts

    Channel 4

    Paul Mason, economics editor, Channel 4 News

    Channel 4 News economics editor Paul Mason says he thought George Osborne had "simply blinked" when confronted with "the scale of austerity" promised in December's autumn statement and "realised it wasn't going to be that popular."

    Asked whether any triumphalism over today's Budget was justified, Mr Mason says the chancellor has halved the deficit "without chaos and catastrophe" but pointed out that, in doing so, Mr Osborne had only achieved what Alistair Darling said Labour were going to do - criticised at the time by the Conservatives as not going far enough. He concludes that "if anyone gets a flypast it should be the Governor of the Bank of England and possibly that half a million migrants who came to this country and boosted the workforce and boosted the growth".

  51. US market update

    Energy stocks led the gains on Wall Street as the price of oil spiked sharply after the Fed's statement. Lower rates tend to make oil a more attractive investment. The energy sector in the S&P 500 jumped 3.1%. The S&P was up 1.13%, while the Dow Jones was 1.17% ahead.

  52. 'No knock-out blow'

    George Osborne didn't deliver the game-changer the Conservatives need, opines George Eaton over at the New Statesman. He said the budget neutralised some of Labour's strongest attack lines, namely on the scale of public spending cuts, but there was no "knock-out blow".

    "After a raft of articles proclaiming that this could be the day the election was decided, the Tories' task looks little easier than it did this morning," he adds.

  53. 'Delivery on a plan'

    BBC News Channel

    Robin Walker and Shabana Mahmood

    Conservative MP Robin Walker says the budget was about "delivery on a plan", with growth and jobs up and the deficit and debt down, rather than any rabbits in the hat. He welcomes the message of economic credibility over Labour's "chaos".

    But shadow Treasury minister Shabana Mahmood says ordinary people have paid the price for the government's "economic failure" and claims the Conservatives are planning "very deep" spending cuts in the next parliament.

  54. Federal Reserve

    Janet Yellen at Fed press conference

    Despite the Fed's cautious comments on growth and exports, Janet Yellen says today's statement is not a "weak forecast". She tells a press conference: "Taking everything into account, we continue to project above trend growth. So we do see considerable underlying strength in the US economy. And despite what looks like a weaker first quarter, we are projecting good performance for the economy."

  55. 'Fast and loose'

    George Osborne should be delighted so many people are lining up to criticise his policies - it disguises the fact he doesn't have any, writes Dr Craig Berry, deputy director of Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI). In an article for the Left Foot Forward blog, he says the measures announced by the chancellor were designed to "curry favour" among his own supporters and "take the sting" out of Labour attack lines. But, he adds, Mr Osborne has "continued to play fast and loose with the British economy, refusing to address or even intensifying the kind of problems that caused the financial crisis and subsequent severe recession".

  56. Federal Reserve

    Market strategist David Joy, of Ameriprise Financial, in Boston, says the word "patient" was becoming a restriction on the Fed. "I applaud the Fed's actions today. By eliminating "patient" from its guidance it removed an artificial stricture on its flexibility, creating room for the data to dictate its future actions."

  57. 'Osborne the tortoise'


    This was the chancellor's least exciting budget - and none the worse for it, writes Paul Goodman for ConservativeHome. Instead of Osborne the hare, we today got Osborne the tortoise. His gambit is to try to grind his way to victory. We will know soon enough whether it works, he adds.

  58. Federal Reserve

    The Fed's decision to end its "patient" approach to when interest rates might rise should not be misinterpreted, says the central bank chair Janet Yellen. "Just because we removed the word patient from the statement doesn't mean we're going to be impatient." It's unlikely that comment will settle the debate, though.

  59. Federal Reserve

    Janet Yellen

    Fed chair Janet Yellen says she wants to "emphasise again, that today's modification of the forward guidance should not be read as indicating that the Committee has decided on the timing of the initial increase in the target range for the Federal funds rate. In particular, this change does not mean that an increase will necessarily occur in June. Although we can't rule that out."

  60. Emoji Budget


    If words aren't your thing, why not read about the Budget details in Emjoi. Can you guess what the ones above are referring to? You'll find more here.

  61. Federal Reserve

    The Wall Street rally after the Fed's statement was a sign of relief that the timescale of an interest rate rise remains uncertain, says John Carey, portfolio manager at Pioneer Investment Management, in Boston. The statement was "largely what was expected, though some may have been fearing a more hawkish Fed, and that explains the rally we're seeing right now - that it didn't state a precise time for raising rates," he says.

  62. 'Very generous state help'

    Robert Peston

    Economics editor

    BBC economics editor Robert Peston

    The BBC's economics editor Robert Peston summarised the impact of the tax breaks on savings income for all but the very richest - as: "A maximum saving of a couple of hundred quid a year £200 ... not life-changing but every little helps."

    He identified the help-to-buy ISA as more decisive, describing it as a "very substantial subsidy for first time buyers who save money". He called the scheme, where the government adds £50 to every £200 savers invest, up to a £3,000 limit, "very generous state help for young people trying to get on the housing ladder".

  63. Osborne's election sneak preview

    Chris Mason

    Political correspondent, BBC News

    When Gordon Brown was the chancellor, reporters like me would add up how many times he used his favourite word - "prudence". For George Osborne today, there was another word that both leapt out and summed up what the Budget was all about. By my calculations, he used it five times in the first two-and-a-half minutes. That word: "Choose." Which is just what the country has to do in 50 days' time - polling day. Read more from Chris here.

  64. No surprises

    James Landale

    Deputy political editor

    There were no massive surprises or rabbits out of the hat in George Osborne's Budget. But it was an attempt by the chancellor to reassure voters about spending cuts and standards of living. Essentially the political argument hasn't changed: Mr Osborne is saying the economy is on the right track but Labour is warning of "extreme cuts" to come. The test for the Conservatives will come in the coming days, however, when "anxious" Tory strategists mine the data to see whether Mr Osborne's announcements have pulled any "hesitant" voters back in to the Tory camp.

  65. Market update

    Dow Jones graph

    Wall Street is rallying after the Federal Reserve indicated that it is ready to raise interest rates - but not necessarily any time soon. The Dow Jones and S&P 500 are both more than 1% higher. Meanwhile, the dollar is falling against the euro and sterling.

  66. Federal Reserve

    Aaron Kohli, interest rate strategist at BNP Paribas, says the removal of the word "patient" from the Fed's statement should be no surprise. "The patient language was so well priced in by the market, and so well choreographed, that I don't think it had any significant impact on the market response or on the Fed's decisions to get rid of it," he says.

  67. Paul Waugh, editor, PoliticsHome


    Tweets: Seems Paxman to quiz Cam + Miliband on C4 next Thurs, 9pm. Will Ed stay on set on off chance of a debate? #Popcorn

  68. Federal Reserve

    Federal Reserve building

    In its statement following a two-day meeting, the Fed's policy-setting committee repeated its view that job market conditions had improved and gave its strongest signal to date that it was nearing its first rate hike since 2006. The Fed said a rate increase remained "unlikely" at its April meeting and said its change in rate guidance did not mean the central bank has decided on the timing of a rate hike.

  69. Budget Calculator

    Budget calculator graphic

    What does it all mean for your finances? Find out with the BBC's Budget Calculator.

  70. US interest rates

    The message from the Federal Reserve is that the central bank is ready to increase interest rates - although the pace of the rises may be slower than many analysts thought.

  71. Get in touch


    Beryl Smith emails: I still feel Mr Osborne should help pensioners more by raising the personal tax free allowance for those aged 70 and over to £15,000. This would give pensioners a bit more money as it would take a lot of them out of paying tax. After all, most of us have paid tax all our lives and are still paying it.

  72. Federal Reserve

    US dollar notes

    The US Federal Reserve opens the door further for an interest rate hike as early as June, ending its pledge to be "patient" in normalising monetary policy. But the US central bank signalled a more cautious outlook for economic growth.

  73. 'Draconian' cuts in future spending

    BBC News Channel

    Alistair Darling MP

    Former Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling has warned that a so-called public spending rollercoaster is the "last thing you want", and said the real story of the budget was the severity of future cuts.

    He told the BBC: "The biggest thing that he [George Osborne] didn't say was that the OBR - not the Labour Party - said that the cuts in the next two or three years are going to be sharper than they've been in the last five.

    "If you look at the politics of that and, if you protect the health service - although I think it's going to be very difficult to do with that sort of squeeze - it means defence, it means policing, it means education - they're all going to face quite draconian reductions in spending."

  74. Get in touch


    Steve emails: It would have been nice if he had cut the duty on fuel by at least 10p instead of taking all the money. People are travelling less (to visit family or friends) because of the high cost of fuel.

  75. Spending cuts 'ideological'

    BBC News Channel

    Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Chris Leslie MP

    Labour is claiming that Conservative spending cuts are about shrinking the state rather than the deficit. Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Chris Leslie told the News Channel: "Look at the precipitousness of what they [the OBR] say is an even sharper squeeze on public spending than we've seen in each of the last five years.

    "If you want really extreme, sharp cuts to your police, defence, social care and, heaven knows, even potentially the NHS, too, then the Conservatives are the people to vote for," continuing: "It's going beyond what's necessary to deal with the deficit. This is about ideology."

  76. Plans no 'rollercoaster'

    BBC News Channel

    Treasury Minister Priti Patel

    Treasury minister Priti Patel has rejected the OBR's characterisation of the government's spending plans as a rollercoaster ride.

    She told the BBC News Channel: "We've been very clear about that consolidation of £30bn and what that will entail - in terms of efficiencies across government, reductions in welfare as the economy grows and more people are in employment, and also through the measures on tax evasion and tax avoidance."

  77. Budget 'puts voters off politics'

    BBC News Channel

    Michelle Harrison, TNS

    Market research company TNS says the budget can be a turnoff to some voters.

    Michelle Harrison, head of political and social practice at TNS, told the BBC News Channel: "In focus groups we did in Watford on Monday night, we actually had some participants tell us that things like the budget, this Westminster theatre, put them off politics."

    She said that although most voters "would not be too aware of what's been happening today", everything counts in a "horse race as close as this" and identified two main aims for George Osborne today. First, to reinforce the idea that he had a strong hand on the economy and, the second, the need to pull back some older, more affluent voters who may have moved away from the Conservatives towards UKIP.

  78. 'Greatly relieved'

    BBC News Channel

    Former Chancellor Ken Clarke MP

    Former Conservative chancellor Ken Clarke says the political agenda "has not changed too much" after George Osborne's budget today, which he's "greatly relieved" by. He said the chancellor was under pressure to hand out giveaways but he is glad that he did not do so. Pressed on the OBR's characterisation of the government's spending plans as a rollercoaster ride, Mr Clarke says it's a rather "attractive" rollercoaster.

  79. Steerpike, The Spectator's gossip columnist


    Prince George, Prince William, Kate Duchess of Cambridge

    Tweets: Royal baby due at height of general election campaign via @spectator

  80. Budget debate

    George Osborne's Budget statement may have finished several hours ago, but MPs are busy debating his announcements in the House of Commons - and will do for days to come. The debate is split over four days, and concludes on Monday. Our colleagues at BBC Democracy Live bring you all the latest.

  81. Tweet us


    In the last 24 hours over 166,000 people have tweeted using the hashtag #budget2015. It has been the most popular Budget hashtag by far.

  82. Get in touch


    James Burns emails: I thought the government should have taxed alcoholic drinks sold in supermarkets and gambling more. Also, I think more investment in mental healthcare and care for the elderly is massively needed in this country. Investment should come in the form of training and education. Also, there should be better facilities and homes. If mental health care and care for the elderly is incorporated into the health service it can be treated as more of a real career pathway. Finally, there should be investment in personal financial help, especially from a young age. It is important that people know how to save their money and what the correct account is for them.

  83. Laura Kuenssberg, BBC Newsnight chief correspondent


    Tweets: Lab insist claim Tories wd take spending back to 30s holds-expect lots of shouting on both sides on this over next 6 wks + not much clarity

  84. Tax changes

    Barnardo's logo

    Some reaction to the chancellor's budget from Barnado's chief executive, Javed Khan. He said: "We're disappointed that the chancellor has chosen to combat in-work poverty with tax changes that benefit higher earners three times more than the poor. Struggling working families will see precious little from the tax change."

  85. Get in touch


    Katrina in North Wales emails: So Britain is 'walking tall'?? Perhaps George Osborne would like to go and spread this message at his nearest food bank! Another budget with little or no meaning for anything other than the upper classes...

  86. 'Bit of a flop'

    BBC political correspondent Robin Brant

    Some more from Labour's media briefing, which our political correspondent Robin Brant has been attending. He tells us Mr Balls, the shadow chancellor, has described the budget as "a bit of a flop" and challenged the "hubris" of Mr Osborne's version of the economy which he branded "entirely out of touch".

    Mr Balls pointed repeatedly to the OBR's prediction that spending cuts will see a "sharp acceleration", and said Mr Osborne had moved forward the planned cuts and increased them in depth to the first three years of the parliament. He also said the chancellor had so far only set out how he would pay for 25% of projected £12bn welfare cuts.

    On Mr Osborne's claim that living standards would be higher this year than they were in 2010, Mr Balls said this would not be the case, adding that the government measure of this is "imperfect".

  87. Get in touch


    Tony emails: he Chancellor says: "A new personal savings allowance of £1,000 will be introduced in April next year, removing the first £1,000 of savings income from income tax" Is this in addition to ISA interest, or does ISA interest paid count towards the £1,000 limit?

  88. 1930s spending levels?

    BBC political correspondent Robin Brant

    Labour is not ditching its claim that the Conservatives would take the UK to public spending levels not seen since the 1930s. In an on-the-record briefing, shadow chancellor Ed Balls said the spending forecast by the OBR based on government numbers would be "deep and extreme and back to the 1930s on the basis of the numbers that are here (in the red book)".

    Mr Balls insisted the spending plans would see a fall in 2018 "to the lowest level of GDP since 1938". The distinction here is that the chancellor said his plans would see spending in 2019 - the following year - at 36% of GDP, the same level Labour was spending in 2000.

  89. Get in touch


    Robert Brooks emails: Once again the government has talked up increasing the inheritance tax threshold above the current £325,000 per person (unchanged for 7 Years) and once again there was a deafening silence. The government is always on about being fair but the savings benefits are mainly for people paying mortgages and borrowing, due to the low interest rates. The government's / Bank of England's policy of quantative easing and cheap money loans to the the banks has resulted in a devastating drop in interest for savers. The inheritance tax income to the Government is less than £3 billion. A trifling amount compared to the overall budget. The rapid increase in house prices has been accelerated by the low mortgage rates and is out of the control of those homeowners affected and affects the majority, who originally bought relatively modest homes. The government promised a £1,000,000 inheritance tax threshold before the last election and once elected promptly reneged on it.

  90. Get in touch


    Joshua emails: I'd like to see a fair and even minimum wage for all school leavers who are no longer in education. I'm just about to turn 21 and for my three years of full time work, and now relevant qualification within my industry, I am still paid below the national minimum wage for a 21 year old worker. Why should an employee doing the same job be paid less simply because they are under a certain age? If we really want to get young people into work give them an incentive to do so.

  91. Tweet us


    @Outoftweet123 tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay where in the budget is the £200bn needed for infrastructure projects #hs2 #hs3 #crossrail2?

  92. Beer duty

    BBC News Channel

    Steve Pickthall

    Craft brewer Steve Pickthall, of the Out There Brewing Company, welcomes the cut in beer duty. But he puts the cut in perspective: "You've still got to buy 300 pints before you get a free one," he tells the BBC.

  93. Fraser Nelson, Editor, The Spectator


    Borrowing figures comparison

    Tweets: Is it rude to point out that Osborne's new debt plan still way above the Darling plan he once denounced? #Budget2015

  94. Get in touch


    James emails: I find it irritating how we get the same "the poorer get poorer" line from the same people after every budget that this government makes. The personal allowance has gone up by £4000 in this parliament. I think some people before spouting about the 'cost of living crisis' should remember that we are still getting over a huge recession, and bear in mind when complaining about price rises that we basic rate taxpayers (I earn 15k in case you were wondering) are allowed to keep around £800 more, which goes some way to offsetting those rises.

  95. Tweet us


    @carlh281161 tweets: @bbc_haveyoursay a tax free allowance on savings would be useful if people actually were able to earn interest on them! #pointless #rip-off

  96. Tweet us


    @TaleahPrince tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay - positive reaction from the stock exchange on the budget - raised quite sharply when announced oil tax reductions

  97. Market update

    FTSE 100 share price graph

    The chancellor's raised growth forecast for 2015 and confident economic outlook helped push London's benchmark index higher. The FTSE 100 ended the day up 1.57% at 6,945.2 points. Standard Chartered surged 8.08% on broker upgrades.

  98. Savings changes

    Chris Mason

    Political correspondent, BBC News

    George Osborne is making the first £1,000 of the interest earned on savings tax-free from April 2016. Higher-rate taxpayers will benefit, but only from the first £500 of their savings. This will help the vast majority of taxpayers, but not by very much - few of us have enough dosh in the bank to earn more than a grand in interest in a year. The Treasury estimates the average benefit will be around £15 per year.

  99. 'Aggressive campaign'

    Writing in the Spectator, Isabel Hardman explains what the Budget says about the election campaign. "The NHS was the one line of attack that Osborne didn't shut down, and it will be the main line of attack in an aggressive campaign from Labour. Labour will try to scare voters about the prospect of the Tories being in charge of the NHS as the Tories try to scare voters about the prospect of a Labour Chancellor. The result of the election may end up hinging simply on which is the least scary prospect."

  100. Via Blog

    Kamal Ahmed

    BBC Business editor

    If you work in the North Sea oil and gas sector, today was a good day. If you work in the City, today was not quite as cheery. Read Kamal's budget analysis here.

  101. Savings tax break

    BBC News Channel

    Martin Lewis,

    Personal finance expert Martin Lewis told the BBC News Channel: "[On] a thousand pounds interest, you'd currently pay £200 tax on that, as a basic rate tax payer. It's £200 a year maximum giveaway. But it will be very, very popular for the many, many people in the country who have savings and many pensioners out there."

  102. Get in touch


    Mark emails: I'm a public sector worker in the North East. Huge increase in pension contributions year after year and lack of pay rise (zero again this year) mean I'm taking home less pay than in 2010. Economic growth? How is it helping me and thousands of others? I am not better off than four-five years ago. My standard of living has been cut.

  103. North Sea oil

    BBC News Channel

    Jenny Laing, leader of Aberdeen City Council

    The leader of Aberdeen City Council, Jenny Laing, welcomes the new investment incentives and tax breaks given to the North Sea oil and gas industry. It will be great for Aberdeen, she tells the BBC. It will bring more jobs and investment into the city, she says.

  104. Get in touch


    Rosie Shaw in Cambridge emails: Properties for sale in Cambridge today online at or under £250,000: 18. Cheapest of those: £120,000 for a half share of a one bed flat. To put it politely, the new ISAs are no use at all in the areas where it's most difficult to buy. The Help to Buy ISAs start this autumn, it will take you four and a half years to save the maximum amount. A five year wait to get an extra £3,000 for your deposit. The the maximum property price outside London is £250,000.

  105. National Insurance

    BBC News Channel

    Economist Andrew Sentance tells the BBC that he would have like to have seen changes to national insurance. He accepts it would have been difficult for the chancellor to do something ahead of the general election, but says tax reforms should be high on the agenda for the next government.

  106. Are we better off?

    Radio 5 live

    So are we better off now than in 2010? On Radio 5 live Gemma Tetlow from the Institute for Fiscal Studies explains that Labour and the Conservatives use different measures. The Tories look at real household disposable income, which has been boosted by the return of people to the labour force and also includes pensions. Labour has been looking at average earnings of employees, which are still lower that in 2010.

  107. DUP: Budget 'won't make much difference'

    BBC News Channel

    DUP Leader Peter Robinson

    DUP leader Peter Robinson has told the BBC that, in terms of public spending, it doesn't make much difference whether Labour or the Conservatives are in power in Westminster.

    The first minister of Northern Ireland said: "From a Northern Ireland point of view, there is very little - we're talking about single digit figures - of a difference in our public expenditure that we would receive."

  108. Get in touch


    Jennifer Dong emails: I'm frustrated. I am eager to see what will be put in place. I've been looking for a house with my fiance for the last year. We saved our deposit and we are both in full time employment. We've had no help from family. We have a budget of about £250 thousand pounds but we thought the change in stamp duty would help us. But when the stamp duty changed, the prices shot up. We've had to look further out because of the changes in Stamp Duty.

  109. Via Twitter

    Dave Harvey

    BBC West of England, Business reporter

    Cider maker Swindon

    A happy cider maker. In Swindon, wd u believe? 2% duty cut. You get everything in this town #budget2015.

  110. Get in touch


    Anthony emails: So the chancellor says the recovery is happening , well the truth is: too many people are an 0 hour contracts most new jobs are self employed , and many people are not earning a real living. If the recovery is happening why is every high street been decimated by bankruptcy and empty shops? Many other new jobs are 'agency' workers, having to re-apply for work every 12 weeks and long periods of 'no assignments' and no hope of Job Seekers allowance for these periods. The minimum wage has fallen in real terms and many workers especially in retail and the public sector having substantially reduced living standards.

  111. Joe Twyman, Head of political and social research at YouGov


    Tweets: Which party's voters think their financial situation will improve over next 12 months? Con: 1 in 3, Lab: 1 in 7, LD: 1 in 4, UKIP: 1 in 8.

  112. Business boost

    The CBI, which represents British business interests, has offered a broad welcome to today's Budget measures. "Stability and consistency are what businesses need to grow and prosper," director general John Cridland says. "This Budget sets the tone, providing a clear plan for fiscal health and growth." The corporation tax cut, help for the oil and gas industry and continuation of the annual investment allowance are all greeted with enthusiasm, but Mr Cridland believes there is more to do in response to the improved fiscal situation. He adds: "In the next parliament this fiscal breathing space should be used to achieve intelligent reductions in public spending, together with much-needed infrastructure and innovation."

  113. Three buttons

    George Osborne

    One or two commentators online have been as riled by the chancellor's sartorial choices as his fiscal ones today: his three-buttoned suit is "against gentlemen's outfitters orthodoxy", the Scotsman's deputy editor Kenny Farquharson tweets.

  114. Via Twitter

    Faisal Islam

    SkyNews Political Editor

    OBR now projecting faster surge in household debt... Higher than Brown levels (170% GDP) by 2018

  115. US interest rates

    Wall Street sign

    Now the Budget is out of the way, investors can get back to fretting about interest rates. There will be a key announcement later when the US Federal Reserve issues a statement at 18:00 GMT and holds a press conference half an hour later. The Fed is expected to provide some indication of when its first interest rate increase in nearly a decade will happen. It's a big deal in the financial markets.

  116. Tweet us


    @discodejenerate tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay I guess you can split how people will vote by whether they think what's in this #Budget2015 is for 'me' or for 'us' #SaveOurNHS

  117. Get in touch


    Mikkel Erikson has some positive thoughts: "Definitely a Budget which is looking to provide the foundations for a future generation. It's about time we build the foundations of a stable economy for our children to inherit. People will always complain and suggest cutting something not relevant to them, but this is a fair Budget for the majority."