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  1. National

Pickles: 'Seen longer chip shop queues' than picket lines

The Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said he had seen "longer chip shop queues" than the number of staff protesting on the picket line today:


  1. National

How the Chancellor's Budget plans to help business

  • New Employment Allowance will take the first £2,000 off the employer National Insurance bill of every company in the country
  • Around 450,000 small businesses - one third of all employers - will pay no employer National Insurance at all after introduction of Employment Allowance in April next year
  • Small firms will be given help through Government procurement budgets, growth vouchers and controls on regulators' charges
  • The Capital Gains Tax holiday will be extended
  • Corporation tax to be reduced by a further 1% to 20% in April 2015
  • Small company and main rates of corporation tax merged at 20p
  1. National

How will the Chancellor's Budget affect you?

Here are some of the measures announced by Chancellor George Osborne that could affect voters' wallets:

  • Rise in personal allowance brought forward to 2014, meaning no income tax on the first £10,000 of earnings
  • Tax free child care vouchers worth £1,200 per child and increased support for families with children on universal credit
  • Flat rate pension worth £144 a week to be brought forward to 2016
  • Fuel duty rise scrapped
  • Help for Equitable Life policy holders extended to those who bought with-profits annuities before 1992, with payments of £5,000 and extra £5,000 for those on lowest incomes
  • Planned 3p rise in beer duty tax scrapped and replaced by a 1p cut in duty on a pint of beer
  • New Help-to-Buy scheme for those struggling to find mortgage deposits will include £3.5 billion for shared equity loans, and a Government interest-free loan worth 20% of the value of a new build house
  • Cap-on social care costs to come in in 2017 and protect savings above £72,000


  1. Ben Chapman, Business Correspondent

Osborne offers help to home buyers and builders

The government will put up loans of 20% of the cost of a new house interest free, the Chancellor has announced. Buyers will only need to put up a 5% deposit.

The loan would help buyers get a mortgage, as long as they buy a newly built house.

It will not be restricted to first time buyers, a move that will be welcomed by estate agents. Yesterday, Janet Hopkinson from Sanderson Young, a member of our Business Club, told me she wanted some action to help people move up the property ladder.

The Chancellor says it will also help the construction industry by creating demand for more new houses.

  1. Ben Chapman, Business Correspondent

Osborne praises North East in Budget

George Osborne has praised the North East for being one of the most successful regions in the country for creating new private sector jobs.

He announced a single pot of money to support local enterprise - a move welcomed this week by the North East Chamber of Commerce.

He also highlighted that for the first time in 40 years Britain is exporting more cars than it is importing, in no small part thanks to the phenomenal success of Nissan's Sunderland plan, which is the most productive car plant in Europe.

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