Budget 2013: Live text

Simon Nias
Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Live updates of the Budget 2013 and the measures that will impact UK print as it happens.

Coming just month's after the Office for Budget Responsibility slashed its GDP forecasts, Chancellor George Osborne is facing a grim task with his latest Budget.

The Chancellor's debt targets keep being pushed back as a result of the stagnant UK economy, while the loss of the UK's prized AAA credit rating dealt a serious blow to the coalition's austerity plans.

Osborne has already demanded an extra £2.5bn spending cuts from ministers in a bid to drum up some much needed cash to invest in growth-promoting capital projects.

Meanwhile, the print sector has called for today's Budget to reveal improvements in lending strategies and tax reliefs to stimulate the UK economy.

We'll keep you updated with the Osborne's Budget and what it means for print, as well as developments from Prime minister's questions (PMQs) as they happen.



13:25 "I want to support jobs and the small businesses that create them," says Osborne. The government is to introduce an Employment Allowance that will take the first £2,000 off the employer NIC for new employees. "This government is taking tax off jobs," says Osborne as he tells MPs that "this is a Budget for an aspiration nation" and commends the Budget to the house

13:22 Personal income allowance increase to £10,000 to be brought forward a year to April 2014. 10p income tax rate abolished

13:20 Alcohol duty. Beer duty escalator to be scrapped altogether and beer duty to be scrapped by 1p - "We're taking a penny off the pint," belows Osborne to cheers from the house. Duty increases for other alcohol to be maintained

13:19 Fuel duty now. "The government has foregone £6bn in revenues to date by freezing fuel duties," says Osborne as he cancels this September's fuel duty increases. Petrol is now 13p per litre cheaper than it would have been under Labour's fuel duty escalator

13:14 "This Budget makes a new offer to our aspiration nation," says Osborne as he announces measures to help first-time buyers and those wishing to move up the property ladder. Help to Buy will commit £3.5bn capital spending to shared equity loands; loans worth up to 20% of the property value (for new build homes worth below £600,000) to be provided by the government to buyers with a 5% deposit; loans will be interest free for the first five years. Higher loan to value mortgages - backed by the government - will be provided to support £130bn of mortgages for those who can afford a mortgage but can't afford a big deposit

13:09 Osborne is now announcing a number of measures designed to curb tax avoidance

13:07 Osborne says the government has cut the 28% rate of corporation tax inherited from Labour to 22% in the current year. This will fall to 21% from April 2013, with a further 1% cut to take effect from April 2014, bringing the rate down to 20%. "Britain is open for business," says Osborne as he states that the UK will have the lowest rate of corporation tax of any major country

13:06 Abolishment of stamp duty on trading of shares on growth markets like AIM in order to help promote equity raises over debt

13:05 More boosts to R&D credits

13:03 UK is at the top of KPMG's ranking of most competitive tax regimes says Osborne. Capital Gains Tax relief for sales of business to their employees

13:02 Ceramics industry "and some others" to be exempt from the Climate Change Levy from next year - there will be support for energy intensive industries beyond 2015 announced in the June spending round

13:01 Five-fold increase in the amount the government spends with small firms

13:00 Osborne backs Michael Heseltine's idea of a single competitive pot of funding for local enterprise

12:58 £3bn a year boost to infrastructure investment from 2015/16 funded by government departmental cuts. Long term spending plans for that to come in June

12:57 We need supply side reform to support entrepreneurs, says Osborne. Railway, roads and mobile telecomms investment highlighted by the chancellor

12:52 Osborne is outlining the cuts to government departments that will be used to finance the growth measures to be announced

12:47 The BoE asset purchase facility will remain in place for the current year; the government is considering extensions to the FLS and is outlining plans for the BIS bank. Changes to the Monetary Policy Committee remit, but 2% inflation target to remain

12:45 Osborne says he won't "gamble with the economy" especially when the calls to do so come from the party that got the country into this state in the first place. All measures to be announced in the Budget will be fiscally neutral

12:40 The Budget deficit has fallen from 11.2% in 2009/10 to 7.4% this year. It is then forecast to fall to 6.8% in 2013/14 and 3.2% by 2017/18. Osborne says the previous government borrowed £159bn in its last year in office - this year the government will borrow £114bn he adds, showing the government is borrowing less, not more as Labour has claimed

12:40 OBR growth forecast for next four years: 1.8% 2014; 2.3% 2015; 2.7% 2016; 2.8% 2017. However, employment forecast up. 600,000 more jobs expected in 2014 than at this time last year. "Unemployment rate is lower than when we came to office," says Osborne

12:36 The OBR forecast is bleak for the Eurozone - the UK's biggest trading partner - and this is impacting UK growth. "The unexpectedly poor performance of exports" explains the downgrade to UK growth

12:35 Repeated calls for order from the deputy speaker due to permanent jeers from the Labour backbench

12:33 Osborne's highlights so far: Budget deficit reduced by one third. Helped business create 1.25m new jobs. Maintained interest rates at record lows. But there is still a lot to be done and the government will maintain its current course says the chancellor

12:32 Shuffling of chairs as we prepare for George Osborne's fourth Budget. "A Budget for people who aspire to work hard and get on," says the Chancellor

12:30 The debate takes a bizarre turn due to the fact George Osborne signed up to Twitter this morning - the Prime Minister says he looks forward to the chancellor's first tweet after the Budget. Good grief

12:25 A question from the Liberal Democrats to remind everyone that they are involved in the coalition government and laying claim to the policy that will see the income tax threshold raised

12:23 The Funding for Lending scheme has now successfully reduced mortgage rates, says Cameron. Unsurprisingly no mention of its impact (or lack thereof) on business lending

12:20 Another barb from Cameron in relation to Labour's economic record: "Being given economic advice by the party opposite is like asking Enron for accountancy advice"

12:19 Cameron says the Chancellor is "getting the country out of the hole it was left in by the party opposite" and has brought the budget deficit down by a third in the current parliament

12:17 Cameron alludes to an upcoming announcement on investment in social housing

12:14 A question from Labour on whether the Prime Minister agrees with Lord Heseltine's comment that it would be the wrong policy at this time to remove the 50p top rate of tax. Cameron points out that top rate tax payers are paying more than at any period under Labour

12:12 Ed Miliband and David Cameron now trading questions on Syria and whether the EU arms embargo should be relaxed. Cameron says current policies are not working for the people of Syria

12:06 A few planted questions coming from the government side of the commons on Labour's economic record and the mess the coalition inherited - met with jeers by the opposition

12:02 A number of questions from Ed Miliband regarding the crisis in the Cypriot banking system and the potential impact on UK depositors

12:00 Prime Minister's Questions has started

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