George Osborne announces 18 March date for 2015 Budget


Chancellor George Osborne is to deliver his last Budget of the Parliament on 18 March, less than two months before the date of the general election.

Mr Osborne announced the date while appearing before the Commons Treasury Committee in Parliament.

His update on the economy, including any tax announcements, will come just weeks before Parliament breaks up ahead of campaigning for the 7 May poll.

Mr Osborne has already announced his spending plans for 2015-6.

He has also set out his intention to secure a surplus in current government spending by 2017-8, which will entail £30bn in either spending cuts or tax rises in the first years of the next Parliament.

The chancellor, who announced major changes to stamp duty and air passenger duty in the Autumn Statement earlier this month, downplayed talk of any major pre-election tax changes.

"Anyone expecting unaffordable pre-election giveaways will be disappointed because we will stay on course to prosperity," he told the cross-party committee.

The Budget will be the sixth of the current Parliament, Mr Osborne having delivered an emergency Budget in June 2010, weeks after the coalition government was formed, as well as statements in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.