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George Osborne's Budget 'passes the business test'

George Osborne's budget passed "the business test", the British Chambers of Commerce has said, as it hailed the Chancellor's focus on investment, exports and house-building.

"Osborne’s focus on investment, exports, house-building and economic resilience passes the business test," Commerce director general John Longworth said.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne delivers his Budget. Credit: PA Wire

"By making a better business environment his top priority, the Chancellor has recognised that successful and confident companies are the key to transforming Britain’s growing economic recovery into one that is felt in homes and on high streets.

"Business wanted a Budget that was disciplined, focused, and geared toward the creation of wealth and jobs – and that’s what the Chancellor has delivered."

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Miliband: Osborne ignored living standards

The Chancellor spoke for almost an hour but failed to mention that people's living standards have fallen under the Conservatives, Labour leader Ed Miliband claimed after the Budget.

He told the Commons: "Living standards down, month after month, year after year.

"Since the election working people's living standards - £1,600 a year down. You are worse off under the Tories.

"Their 2010 manifesto promised 'an economy where people's standard of living rises steadily and sustainably'.

"But they have delivered exactly the opposite.

"And today you simply reminded people of the gap between your rhetoric and the reality of people's lives.

"Living standards falling for 44 out of 45 months under this Prime Minister, unmatched since records began. No amount of smoke and mirrors can hide it."And we already know the answer to the question millions of people will be asking in 2015 - are they better off now than they were five years ago?

"The answer is no. Worse off, much worse off, worse off under the Tories."

  1. National

Government's 'austerity obsession causing misery'

Unions have attacked the Chancellors "obsession with austerity" after he gave his latest Budget.

This Budget reeks of the stuck-up complacency of the well-heeled elite.

Osborne's claim that the economy will get back to pre-recession levels this year is sadly not the case. GDP per head is still 5.7% down on 2007 and real value of average earning is also down 13.8%. There is a very long way to go to get living standards for the vast majority of workers back to pre-recession levels.

The Budget is doing very little to get the 912,000 unemployed aged 16-24 into proper jobs. As some 246,000 have been out of work for over a year, there is a grave danger of seeing a lost generation.

– Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB

This Government's obsession with austerity is causing misery for millions of people while the over-hyped economic recovery benefits only a wealthy few.

Instead we need free universal childcare so parents can afford to return to work, a living wage and an end to pay cuts, and proper investment to create sustainable jobs and build the homes to tackle the scandal of our housing crisis.

– Mark Serwotka, Public and Commercial Services union general secretary
  1. National

Growth figures from George Osborne's Budget

The Chancellor has predicted growth will be higher in 2014 than predicted. At the last Budget - the 2014 growth was forecast to be 1.8%.

Now he says GDP will grow by 2.7% The forecast is also higher in 2015 at 2.3%.

It is the same in 2016 at 2.6% And slightly lower in 2017 and 2018

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Investment allowance boost for businesses

The Annual Investment Allowance for businesses has been doubled to £500,000, George Osborne has announced.

Mark Evans, Tax Partner at independent chartered accountants Baker Tilly, says: "This is great news for businesses and means any spending up to that amount on capital plant or machinery can receive tax relief of 100%.

"Obviously George Osborne has been persuaded to change his mind as it was pre-announced that this allowance would fall from £250,000 to £25,000."

The Chancellor now says 99.8% of businesses will get the benefit of this measure.

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Bingo duty cut to 10% and beer down by 1p a pint

The duty on Bingo will be reduced. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

The Chancellor has confirmed that the duty on Bingo will be reduced to 10%

Tobacco duty will rise by 2% above inflation, and the escalator already in place, will be extended for the rest of the next Parliament.

The alcohol duty escalator will be scrapped. Duties on Scottish whiskey and cider will be frozen.

Beer duty will be cut by 1p, for the second year running.

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Duty on bingo halls halved to 10%

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