Budget: Osborne unveils home-building plans

George Osborne reveals an extension of the Help to Buy scheme and plans for new garden city with 15,000 new homes.

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Tory Warsi wants people to keep more of their earnings

Baroness Warsi tells Tom Bradby on tonight's edition of The Agenda that she wants to see the Tories return to the "very core conservative principles" of allowing people to keep more of what they earn.

Tom Bradby with tonight's panellists on The Agenda. Credit: Twitter/@agendaitv

The Conservative peer said: "That means first of all focusing on the poorest first and making sure that they get the first bite of the cherry, but also looking at other people and looking at how we can bring the tax burden down. But we've got to balance that against the public finances."

The Agenda with Tom Bradby is on ITV tonight at 10.35pm.

Other guests on the show are TV historian Dan Snow, comedian Katy Brand, and columnist Jonathan Freedland.


LGA: Wrong for quango to lead Ebbsfleet development

The Local Government Association expressed concern at the Chancellor's decision to establish an unelected urban development corporation to drive the development of Ebbsfleet.

While we support the Government's aims to build more houses, democratically accountable councils have been at the forefront of delivering local growth and the creation of a separate, remote quango is unnecessary.

Residents will be concerned that such a body, unelected and accountable to central government, could have the power to make local decisions about investment, planning, development and possibly even local transport.

– Sir Merrick Cockell, LGA chairman

Lord Lamont: 40p rate 'catches not very well off'

Former Conservative Chancellor Lord Lamont has told ITV News George Osborne should raise the threshold at which workers pay 40% income tax.

He said that some the current threshold was meaning some "not very well off" workers such as teachers, nurses and train drivers are being "caught" by the higher rate.

Lord Lamont added that he hoped a pledge to raise the threshold would be included in the next Conservative Party manifesto.

Osborne refuses to be drawn on 40p rate

George Osborne says the government has planned a 1% increase in the 40p tax rate. Credit: BBC/Andrew Marr Show

George Osborne has refused to be drawn on calls to cut the 40p tax rate in real terms, despite facing pressure to help middle income earners being drawn into the higher levy.

The Chancellor told the Andrew Marr Show the government's plans are for a 1% rise in the threshold - a fall when inflation is factored in.

Mr Osborne was urged to raise the 40% tax threshold by former Conservative chancellor Lord Lawson earlier this week.


Ebbsfleet garden city to host '15,000 new homes'

George Osborne has announced plans to create a garden city with 15,000 new homes in Ebbsfleet.

Speaking on BBC's The Andrew Marr Show ahead of Wednesday's Budget, the Chancellor said it would be the country's first garden city in 100 years.

He also announced plans to extend the Help to Buy scheme for first-time-buyers beyond its planned 2016 deadline. It will now end at the end of the decade, Mr Osborne said.

Osborne: No turning away from deficit reduction

While he said that the economy was "on the mend", Chancellor George Osborne reaffirmed there would be no deviation from his deficit reduction strategy.

He said the deficit was still too high, which is why public sector workers face another year of pay restraint and welfare spending will be capped from 2015.

My Budget next week will set out what we must do to build a resilient economy.

We must not waver from our plan to reduce the budget deficit and deal with Britain's debts. That plan has delivered economic stability and low mortgage rates for families and it has laid the foundations for economic recovery.

None of these decisions are easy, but the alternatives are worse.

We've made huge progress dealing with the debts we inherited, but finishing the job will require further difficult decisions in the next parliament.

– George Osborne

He warned that the "single biggest risk" would be to change course just as the current strategy was delivering results.

Osborne to confirm promised cap on welfare payments

Chancellor George Osborne has warned of more "difficult decisions" in this week's Budget as he sets out his plans to build a "resilient economy" for the future.

Writing in The Sun on Sunday (behind paywall), Osborne confirmed he will use his Commons statement on Wednesday to spell out details of the Government's promised cap on welfare payments.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. Credit: Scott Heppell/PA Wire/Press Association Images

He made clear that after five years of austerity, the squeeze on the public sector will have to continue beyond the general election and into the next parliament to rebuild the public finances.

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