LIVE: Budget 2015

George Osbourne

George Osborne

14.00 – Well that’s it, it’s all over. We’d love to hear your comments on the budget. Contact us @YorkshireV or leedstrinitycfj@gmail.com. Here are the key points:

  • Local councils to decide on Sunday trading hours
  • Personal tax allowance raised to £11,000 from next year
  • 2% of national income to be spent on defence
  • £3,000 off national insurance contributions for employers
  • National ‘living wage’ set to £9 by 2020
  • From April 2017 a £1m bequeathment will be free of inheritance tax
  • BBC are to pick up the cost of free TV licences for over-75s
  • Public sector pay is to rise 1% a year for four years
  • Student Maintenance Grants to be abolished and replaced by loans

13.53 – Harriet Harman still speaking:


13.46 – Harriet Harman, the leader of the Opposition, is questioning Osborne’s ‘Northern Powerhouse’, saying it is more like a great ‘Northern Powercut.’ Will he invest in the Manchester-Leeds TransPennine line?


13.39 – It will apply to over-25s. It will start next year at £7.20, rising to £9 a year by the end of the Parliament. Osborne has now wrapped up.


13.35 – ANNOUNCEMENT OF NATIONAL LIVING WAGE.


13.34 – The Chancellor is moving on to national security. They are ‘committing to the armed forces’ – by committing to the 2% of spending on armed forces.


13.28 – Osborne makes the expected announcement on child tax credits. Limited to 2 children but ONLY APPLIES to new claimants after 2017. Also:

  • Benefits cap to be reduced to £23k in London, and to £20k elsewhere (such as in Leeds).
  • Wealthy social housing tenants to pay market rents.

13.26 – Big cuts to benefits. Osborne to reduce welfare bill by £9 billion 2019.

  • Working-age benefits to be frozen for four years. Statutory benefits like maternity pay to be excluded from this.
  • Rents in social housing to be reduced by 1% a year over next 4 years.
  • Tax-credits for only the very poorest.

13.18 – Welfare now. Osborne says IDS’s efforts on Universal Credit have been ‘Herculean’… On child benefits: Parents of working parents for 3 and 4 years olds will get free childcare of 30 hours a week.


13.12 – Osborne moving onto reforming the dividend tax system. ‘We have inherited an archaic and complex system.’ Pensions and ISAs will remain unaffected by his reforms.


13.10 – Are you a student at one of Leeds’ 3 universities? Student Maintenance Grants are to be abolished. It will be replaced by loans.


13.09 – On the Northern Powerhouse. ‘Let’s put the power into the Northern Powerhouse’. Sunday trading hours will be put into the hands of Local Authorities. Not a great deal else of substance announced…


13.06 – The Productivity Question:


13.03 – Do you run a business that employs apprentices? An apprenticeship levy is to be imposed on all firms. Those that offer apprentices will get more out of this, in terms of funding for apprenticeships, than they put in.


13.00 – Want more roads? Osborne does. He thinks we don’t have nearly enough. He wants more motorways. Tax paid on people’s cars will be used to improve the roads they drive on. From 2017 they will introduce new taxes on new cars. Osborne says no duties on expensive fuel-efficient cars and high duties on cheaper, second-hand cars is ‘regressive’.


12.53 – 8% surcharge on bank profits from next year. Osborne wants to make Britain a good place to do business but also to balance this with responsibility.


12.50 – Osborne is now discussing tax avoidance. “We’re boosting HMRC’s capacity with an extra 3/4s of a billion pounds of funding to help them pursue tax avoiders. We’re also naming and shaming serial abusers of tax evasion schemes leaving them no place to hide.”


12.47 – The Chancellor is now setting out how he will save £17 billion. Public sector pay will rise at 1% per year for the next four years.


12.44 – “We should always fix the roof while the sun is shining.” Osborne’s theme is achieving a budget surplus by 2018/19. The fiscal charter forcing all future Chancellors to run a budget surplus will be put to a vote in the House in the autumn.


12.38 – Osborne mentions the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ to howls of derision from the opposition benches. He is also discussing the deficit, which he says it half what they inherited. His first key judgement is: How fast do we cut the deficit? His answer: As fast as it was cut during the last Government. “This is a Budget that puts economic security first.”


12.35 – George Osborne has now started delivering his budget. He mentions strong growth. Current growth in the UK economy is at 0.4%.


12.34 – Lots of bemusement in the House over the vote next week on the repeal of the Hunting Ban. Cunning timing by the Tories to bury the announcement on Budget Day.


12.31 – It is being mentioned on Twitter that Government insiders are saying we should expect a very austere budget.


12.16 – PMQs is underway and in full-swing. Lively as ever, the Tories sound bullish and in full-voice.


12.01 – A little pre-budget announcement on foxes. The Government will allow a free vote on repealing the Hunting Ban next week.


11.57 – David Cameron’s spokeswoman has made a statement ahead of the Budget: “This is a Budget that will put our country firmly on the path from a high tax, high welfare society to a lower tax, lower welfare society. It will provide a strong and solid foundation to secure a better future for people across the UK in the years ahead.”


11.53 – Labour leadership hopeful Andy Burnham MP has tweeted his thoughts before today’s Budget.


11.41 – The Chancellor says that his Budget will convert a “high-tax, high-welfare society to a lower-tax, lower- welfare society”. At this point he still hasn’t mentioned the other important point in the equation: wages.


11.32 – The last Tory budget was in 1996, nearly twenty years ago. The Press Association have provided a reminder of what was happening at the time:

  • The Prodigy were top of the singles chart with Breathe, while Robson & Jerome had the number one album
  • A first class stamp cost 26p compared to 63p today
  • At Wimbledon Sir Cliff Richard led a sing-song on Centre Court during a rain delay. Some have still not recovered.
  • Alex Ferguson won his second title with Manchester United
  • Chris Evans TFI Friday was first launched in 1996
  • And Take That split up. Many hoped it was forever…

11.20 – Anti-austerity protestors around the country will be gathering in cities today to voice their objections to Osborne’s austerity budget. Taking inspiration from left-wing campaigners in Greece, the message will be ‘Oxi to Osborne!’.

The protests are being co-ordinated by The People’s Assembly.

In Leeds, the protestors will be meeting this evening at 5pm in City Square. In Bradford, they will be assembling at 5.30pm in Centenary Square.


11.09 – George Osborne, red box in hand, is now on his way to the Commons to deliver the Budget. It will be the first Conservative-only Budget in nearly 20 years.


11.05 – One key theme of the Budget will be that the Chancellor aims to reduce the speed of deficit reduction, with plans being implemented over the coming three years instead of the mooted two years.


10.54 – It’s expected that Osborne will limit child tax credits to two children per family – but only for new claimants. Other likely measures include:

  • billions of cuts to housing and sickness benefits
  • a reduction in the benefits cap to £20,000 for households in the Leeds area
  • an increase in the inheritance tax allowance for couples to £1million, funded by a raid on the pensions
  • a significant clampdown on tax avoidance

10.37 – Good morning. It’s budget day today, and we’ll be live-blogging the Chancellor’s announcements as and when they come in. Follow us on Twitter @YorkshireV.

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