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Osborne wants radical tax shake-up after 2015

Income tax and national insurance will be merged into one "earnings tax" under plans the Chancellor is considering for the Conservative 2015 manifesto, it has emerged.

George Osborne
The Chancellor believes merging the two taxes will make the system easier to understand. Credit: PA

Reported in the Times, George Osborne is said to be planning to simplify the tax system by combining the two taxes, which come straight out of almost every worker's pay packet.

David Cameron's closest ally was said to be considering the change for last year's budget, but backed out because of problems integrating computer systems.

The move would mean basic-rate taxpayers handing over 32% of their earnings and higher-rate taxpayers returning 52%.

Employers’ NI contributions are likely to remain unchanged under the plan.

North to be offered 'devolution of powers and budgets'

Northern mayors could enjoy the same powers as London Mayor Boris Johnson.
Northern mayors could enjoy the same powers as London Mayor Boris Johnson. Credit: PA

Northern cities could be offered "serious devolution of powers and budgets" in return for electing mayors, George Osborne has announced.

The elected mayors of the North would enjoy similar powers to those of London Mayor Boris Johnson.

A referendum on the subject was held but rejected in 2012.

But Mr Osborne made clear that he was ready to offer a bigger carrot in terms of local decision-making power to tempt the cities to reconsider their opposition.

He said the combined economic and creative energies of Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Hull could compete on a global scale, just as the stars of their Premier League football sides could "wipe the floor with any competition" if they came together in one team.

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George Osborne tweets 'Northern Powerhouse' plans

Chancellor George Osborne has tweeted his plans to create a 'Northern Powerhouse' to rival London as he gives keynote speech in Manchester.

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We'll back the science & universities & creative clusters in the North and offer the local power & control the #NorthernPowerhouse needs

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We'll build the #NorthernPowerhouse by making sure cities here are radically more connected. Means better roads & new high speed rail link

Economic growth is fastest in North, says Chancellor

Chancellor George Osborne has said the fastest growing economic activity right now is in the North-East.

Giving a keynote speech in Manchester, he said people were also joining the jobs market there at the fastest rate.

Despite being a Londoner, the MP, who represents Tatton in Cheshire, spoke of his love for the North.

Being a Londoner I am proud to represent a northern constituency.

I feel the buzz and the energy every time I’m here. And I see it too in the Treasury data."

– George Osborne.

Create 'northern powerhouse,' says Osborne

Chancellor George Osborne gives his keynote speech in Manchester.
Chancellor George Osborne gives his keynote speech in Manchester. Credit: Pool

A new high-speed rail connection and better roads could create an economic "powerhouse" in the north of England to rival the success of London, George Osborne said today.

The Chancellor is proposing the new transport link between Manchester and Leeds to connect a collection of northern cities, which if combined could 'take on the world.'

He said he was prepared to back it up with money in the sum of '£6 to 7billion.'

He said: "It's a vision of how you create better road and rail links across the Pennines.

"We are about to commit, later this year, many billions of pounds to investing in our economy to try to bring together a vision of how the north of England can have this northern powerhouse."

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Osborne: No absence of money to keep country safe

Chancellor George Osborne has played down suggestions that monitoring British Jihadis returning to the UK could be hampered by a shortage of funds.

He told BBC Breakfast: "There's no absence of money to keep our country safe. We've made a huge investment in security and counter-terrorism.

Screengrab of Isis 'recruitment' video on YouTube.
George Osborne's comments came after Brits were shown in an Isis 'recruitment' video. Credit: YouTube

"I don't think it's a question of the money, because we've not only protected the counter-terrorism budget, we've increased funding for the security services.

"But it's a question of priorities, I think. These are highly-trained professionals in the security services and the police and they do profiles, they work out who are most likely to be the biggest risks and of course they focus their human resources on that."

"The police and the security service and the Government are working intensively on this, as I've seen for myself," the Chancellor added.

Osborne: Appoint Northern mayors 'to rival Boris'

George Osborne has said there is a 'strong case' for more elected mayors to drive growth and development in northern cities and rival London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Speaking on BBC radio 4's Today programme the Chancellor said: "I think there is a strong case for elected mayors in places like Greater Manchester to make sure they have the same powers, the same clout, as the mayor of London does in our capital.

"I think it helps to have a single individual who is, of course, democratically accountable, but also bringing together powers over planning, housing and transport."

He added he wanted to bring together cities like Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Hull with new transport links.

Osborne: A closely linked North could 'take on world'

George Osborne will say a collection of northern cities linked closer together by new transport infrastructure could "take on the world" as he bids to end London's "unhealthy" economic dominance.

The Chancellor will say in a keynote speech in Manchester today:

We need an ambitious plan to make the cities and towns here in this northern belt radically more connected from east to west - to create the equivalent of travelling around a single global city.

As well as fixing the roads, that means considering a new high speed rail link.

Today I want us to start thinking about whether to build a new high-speed rail connection east-west from Manchester to Leeds.

– Chancellor George Osborne
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