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Escalation of Ukraine crisis could impact UK economy

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has warned of the potential harm the Ukraine crisis could do to the UK economy if the situation continues to escalate.

The OBR said: "Developments in Ukraine are not expected to have a large impact on the UK in our central forecast.

"However, if the situation escalates or continues for a prolonged period, there is a risk of higher commodity prices affecting inflation and output growth.

"There could also be a broader risk through trade linkages and financial exposure to Ukraine, Russia and other affected countries."

Read more: 'Pro-Russian forces' storm Ukrainian naval HQ

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Mecca owner's shares surge 8.6% after bingo duty cut

Shares in Mecca owner Rank surged 8.6% following the Chancellor's duty cut announcement, which it called "an important boost" for Britain's bingo clubs.

Rank, which operates 97 Mecca Bingo clubs, said that as a result of the duty change it would be able to invest in the development of three new clubs and safeguard the future of a number of existing clubs.

General view of a Mecca Bingo hall in Wandsworth, south west London.
Rank, which operates 97 Mecca Bingo clubs said the announcement was 'an important boost' Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Chief executive Ian Burke said, "By bringing bingo duty into line with other forms of gaming entertainment, the Government has created a basis for renewed investment and innovation."

George Osborne's Budget confirmed the duty on bingo will be reduced to 10%

Osborne's Budget for 'makers, doers and savers': Latest updates

Citizens Advice welcomes Osborne's pensions change

Citizens Advice has welcomed the Chancellor's proposals on pensions in his Budget speech.

Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said after the announcement: “The proposals to free up pensions are welcome, particularly the new ‘right to advice’, which recognises the significant value of impartial, trusted advice.

File photo of a sign above a Citizens Advice Bureau in Nottingham.
Citizens Advice welcomed George Osborne's proposals 'to free up pensions'. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

“People who are able to put money aside into savings will find an increase in how much they can save tax free helpful.

"But the Chancellor does need to remember that for many people, saving money is a pipe dream as they are struggling to make ends meet."

Explained: How private pensions are changing

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BMA: Osborne 'doing nothing' on NHS funding shortfalls

Chancellor George Osborne has been accused of doing "nothing" to address funding shortfalls in the NHS in his latest Budget.

Dr Mark Porter, chair of council at the British Medical Association, said: "Despite claiming the economy is on the up, today's Budget does nothing to address the crippling funding shortfall in the NHS.

NHS signs.
The British Medical Association accused George Osborne of doing 'nothing' to address funding shortfalls in the NHS. Credit: PA Wire

"While the Government claims the NHS budget is protected, in reality it's suffered £20 billion of cuts, billions of which have come from a sustained attack on staff pay.

"Without the investment needed to meet rising patient demand and put the NHS on a sustainable financial footing the Government need to face up to the reality that patient care, and indeed the very future of the NHS, will be at risk."

'Ridiculous' tax rebate extends to those earning 300k

A mother of three and chief executive of MyFamilyClub, a money saving website, told ITV News the government's childcare support was "welcome" but it was "ridiculous" it extended to those earning up to £300,000 a year.

Gemma Johnson. Credit: MyFamilyClub

Read: No big dramatic shift from Osborne's Budget

Gemma Johnson said: "British childcare costs are amongst the highest in the world - so this tax rebate is welcome, as it will help make working parents better off at a time when family budgets are stretched to the absolute limit.

"But it's ridiculous that this tax rebate extends to families earning up to £300,000 a year, and yet doesn't help the millions of families that have a stay-at-home mum or dad by one single penny."

Read: At a glance - The eight top points from the Budget

OBR: Government 'on course to meet fiscal mandate'

This Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) tweeted after Chancellor George Osborne made his Budget announcement:

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Government on course to meet fiscal mandate, but to miss debt-to-GDP target. #Budget2014 http://t.co/dRp52nTO0d

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Explained: How private pensions are changing

Chancellor's namesake 'got less abuse this year'

An online writer has said that he has received less abuse on Twitter this year after previously being mistaken for the Chancellor:

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Thank you for not confusing me with the other @george_osborne - if it helps any #Budget2014 analysis, I got a lot less abuse this year #win

George Osborn seemed to suggest the better reaction was due to a combination of people knowing that real Twitter handle for the Chancellor (@George_Osborne) as well as a warmer reception for this year's Budget.

Read more: At a glance: The 8 top points from the Budget

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