Chancellor delivers a budget for ‘makers, doers and savers’

Chancellor George Osborne. Library image.
Chancellor George Osborne. Library image.
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Chancellor George Osborne has today (March 19) delivered his annual budget statement for the year, outlining how the Government intends to build a ‘resilient economy’.

Speaking to the House of Commons a short while ago, he said: “I can report today that the economy is continuing to recover – and recovering faster than forecast. We set out our plan and together with the British people, we held our nerve. We’re putting Britain right, but the job is far from done. Our country still borrows too much. We still don’t invest enough, export enough or save enough. So today we do more to put that right.”

Mr Osborne said this year’s budget would help build a ‘resilient economy’.

He said: “It is all part of a long term economic plan – a plan that is delivering security for the people of this country. I have never shied away from telling the British people about the difficult decisions we face. And just because things are getting better, I don’t intend to do so today.”

He added: “This is a budget for the makers, the doers, and the savers.”

Among the key announcements were:

- increasing the point at which people pay income tax from £10,000 to £10,500 in April 2015.

- increasing the threshold for 40p income tax from £41,450 to £41,865 next month and by a further one per cent to £42,285 next year.

- abolishing the 10p rate for savers.

- merging cash and stocks ISAs, with the limit for tax-free saving raised to £15,000 from £11,520

- cutting the duty on beer by one penny a pint, freezing duty on cider and spirit and abolishing the duty escalator for wine.

- increasing tobacco duty by two per cent above inflation.

- scrapping the planned duty rise on petrol.

- halving bingo duty to 10 per cent. Duty on fixed odds betting terminals is to rise by 25 per cent.

- providing £140 million of new funding to repair flood defences that have suffered damage in the recent severe flooding and providing £200 million to establish a potholes challenge fund.