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Budget 2011: live blog

We’ll be covering Chancellor George Osborne’s 2011 Budget live as he delivers it today. The big headlines are likely be around private-sector growth forecasts, action on fuel prices and personal tax allowances. Throughout the day, we’ll also be bringing you the full Budget documents and “at a glance” summaries for entrepreneurs.

Keep refreshing this page for all the live announcements.

13.31: Osborne’s final quote: “We want the words Made in Britain, Created in Britain, Designed in Britain and Invented in Britain to drive our nation forward – a Britain carried aloft by the march of the makers. This is how we will create jobs and support families. We have to put fuel into the tank of the British economy.” Total length of speech: one hour. Stay tuned on for the reactions from entrepreneurs.

13.28: A “fair fuel stabiliser” will be introduced from Thursday, which will raise an extra £2bn. The fuel duty escalator will be cancelled for the rest of this Parliament. Osborne will be cutting fuel duty by 1p per litre (taking effect from 6pm tonight). Cheers all round.

13.25: On to the big one… fuel duty.

13.24: No changes to rates of alcohol duty. Tobacco duty to increase by 2p above inflation.

13.21: The Chancellor is clamping down on tax avoidance: he says three forms of stamp duty land tax avoidance will be shut down, among other measures which he says will raise £1bn a year. On personal taxes: personal tax allowance will go up by £630 to £8,105 next April. That means 1.1 million people will have been taken out of tax altogether.

13.20: Osborne says the state pension age will rise to 66 by 2020. “This government is doing the best thing for the long term”.

13.16: Note that Osborne has name-checked the following industries: manufacturing, life sciences, green energy and creative services.

13.13: Good news for young people: Osborne says the government is funding another 250,000 apprenticeship schemes over the next four years.

13.09: Creation of green investment bank (to start next year) – Osborne commits another £2bn.

The small business rate relief holiday is being extended by one year to October 2012, at a cost of £370m, the Chancellor says.

13.03: The Chancellor (who caused laughter when he claimed that “we’re all in this together”) announces new export credits for small businesses and the funding of nine new university centres for “innovative manufacturing”. He also says that R&D tax credit will rise to 200 per cent this year and 225 per cent next year. Twenty-one new enterprise zones will be funded. Businesses will get super-fast broadband and reduced rates. The major will choose the site for London.

13.00: Osborne says the 50 per cent tax rate won’t go yet – but he regards it as temporary.

12.58: £50,000 charge for non doms who have lived in the UK for 12 years. Osborne also announces the launch of Startup Britain and dramatic changes to the Enterprise Investment Scheme (income tax relief on the Enterprise Investment Scheme will increase from 20 per cent to 30 per cent in April 2011).

12.54: There will be a moratorium of three years for small businesses (“genuine startups and companies employing ten staff or less”) on new domestic regulation. The Chancellor says small businesses are the “victims” of the credit crunch. He announces a 15 per cent increase in the availability of credit for SMEs.

12.52: Corporation tax will be cut by two per cent (not one per cent as expected). It will be the lowest in the G7. Osborne  shouts: “Britain is open for business!”

12.49: Osborne has announced that the government will look at merging income tax and NI (but admits it will take “years”): He says: “Our purpose is not to raise taxes, it’s to simplify them.”

12.47: We have the longest tax code in the world (longer than India). Osborne announces that 43 complex reliefs are being abolished in this Budget and 100 pages from the tax code will be removed.

12.44: Osborne says inflation is expected to be between four per cent and five per cent this year – dropping to 2.5 per cent next year and two per cent in two years’ time. Borrowing for this year will be £146bn (less than expected), falling to £122bn next year.

12.40: The annual growth forecast has been revised downwards to 1.7 per cent, rising to 2.5 per cent next year, and 2.9 per cent in 2013.

Osborne promises that he will not “rattle through” his announcements today.

12.39: Nick Clegg (sporting a red tie) already looks bored.

12.35: Osborne says this Budget will be about “reforming the nation’s economy so we have enduring growth and jobs for the future.” He says we’re on the route from “rescue to reform, and from reform to recovery.” He claims this is NOT a tax-raising Budget. It’s built on “sound money” and encourages enterprise (we’ll see). It’s a Budget for “making things – and not making things up” (good quote there, Osborne).

12.34: There’s a kerfuffle as everyone gets ready for Osborne’s second Budget since he took office.

12.29: Still waiting for the main event. [Note: Cameron just admitted that he reads the Daily Star]

12.15: Cameron and Miliband are at loggerheads. Miliband accuses the government of wanting to cut the disability living allowance, by removing the mobility component. The PM says that’s not true. Who do we believe

12.11: David Amess MP talks about the “horrible mess left by the last government”. Much cheering and “hear hear-ing” from the House. Cameron (who is in a very jovial mood) says he wants to involve charities more in healthcare. He also talks about moving some government departments to Croydon to save money.

12.05: Prime Minister’s Questions has just started. The House of Commons is packed.

12 noon: Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has just told the BBC that “the government should take a different course – they shouldn’t be cutting so hard and so fast”. She basically just repeated Miliband’s comments earlier today. The Labour team are clearly on message.

11.58: It’s hard to hear the interviews taking place outside Westminster. The copters are circling the Houses of Parliament and making a racket!

11.40: No wonder Osborne took a car for the short journey from Downing Street to Parliament. Protesters are out in force. Read their tweets at @budgetblockers. Apparently, they lay in front of the Chancellor’s car, blocking his entrance into Parliament, and have chained themselves to the railings. Could this delay the Budget?

11.36 George Osborne is on the steps of Downing Street brandishing the Budget Box. And guess what” His tie his purple (which means our online news editor Jason Hesse has just lost £10).

11.30: Ed Miliband has told the Telegraph what the Budget would look like if he was in Osborne’s shoes. He said to the BBC earlier today: “This government is going too far and too fast with its cuts. We hope today that Osborne will change course.”

11.20: The Chancellor is still loitering at No 11 Downing Street. We’re waiting with bated breath for the customary shot of Osborne holding up the famous red box.

11.00: The government’s website has a helpful Budget guide. Real Business is wondering if Osborne will drink alcohol during his speech. Previous Chancellors have chosen whisky (Kenneth Clarke), gin and tonic (Geoffrey Howe), brandy and water (Benjamin Disraeli), sherry and beaten egg (Gladstone) and spritzer (Nigel Lawson). Gordon Brown chose to drink mineral water. We reckon Osborne will go for a similarly dull beverage. @BigShaunGalleon tweeted us telling us he thinks Osborne’s tipple will “probably be the blood of newly slaughtered babies mixed with his own vileness”. Clearly not a fan, then.

10.52: David Cameron has left No 10 as Westminster gears up for the main event.

Read more on page two


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