23 Mar 2011

LIVE BLOG: Budget 2011 – as it happened plus analysis

Chancellor George Osborne delivers Budget 2011 and a fuel duty “bombshell”. Follow reaction and analysis, plus video and comments from the #c4Budget Twitter panel.

LIVE BLOG: Budget 2011 - as it happens

(Above: Channel 4 News Economics Editor Faisal Islam on the fuel “bombshell”)

BUDGET ANALYSIS: Chancellor George Osborne has delivered a “keep calm and carry on” Budget – with some surprises, including fuel price cuts for the consumer. Click here for analysis from Caroline Artis from Ernst and Young – she picks out the key points for Channel 4 News.

– Corporation tax to be reduced by 2 per cent from April

– Personal tax allowance to be raised

– Fuel duty cut by 1p a litre – from 6pm Wed 23 March

Read more: Economics Editor Faisal Islam’s blog – Budget: zero sum game?


13.45 Ed Miliband: “We needed a Budget that changed course on cutting too deep and too fast. When families look at this Budget, they will conclude ‘It’s hurting but it isn’t working.'”

13.30 Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “It is the same old Tories: it is hurting but it is not working.” He adds: “He’s Norman Lamont with an iPod, Mr Speaker!”

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Send us the web link to the report along with its location and we will plot it on our UK map. Or tweet the link using the hashtag #c4cuts: Cutsmap - show us the spending cuts
Budget 2011: Fuel bombshell

13.29 Osborne cuts Fuel Duty by 1p a litre and ends his Budget proclaiming: “We have put fuel into the tank of the British economy!” The inflation rise in fuel duty planned for next week to be delayed until 2012. The fuel duty escalator that adds 1p to fuel duty on top of inflation each year is to be cancelled for the rest of this Parliament. Vehicle Excise Duty is to increase in line with inflation, and frozen for heavy goods vehicles.

He is using additional taxes on oil companies to defer duty rises on the price of petrol… I am not sure how this is simple… but it gives him his headline of helping Britain’s families. Caroline Artis, Ernst and Young

Caroline Artis, Ernst and Young, tells Channel 4 News: “He is using additional taxes on oil companies to defer duty rises on the price of petrol at the pump. I am not sure how this is simple – it sort of flies in the face of the rest of what he is doing – but it gives him his headline of helping Britain’s families.”

13.25 Osborne now reaching out to “Ford Focus Britain” on petrol prices.

LIVE BLOG: Budget 2011 – add your voice
Budget 2011: No new changes to alcohol duty

No new changes to alcohol duty beyond those already announced by George Osborne.

13.21 The chancellor confirmed plans to raise the personal tax allowance by a further £630, to £8,105, a real increase of £48 extra per year, or £126 in cash terms. Meanwhile a pay rise of £250 is announced for armed forces, prison, NHS, teachers and civil servants earning under £21,000.

Faisal Islam (@faisalislam) tweets: Tax allowance up £630 £48 in real terms.. tax cut is a whopping 92 pence per week, in real terms. A packet and a third of Maltesers.

13.20 Osborne sets out clampdown on tax avoidance to raise £1bn per year from levies including Stamp Duty, Capital Gains Tax and relief on CDs imported from Channel Islands.

He’s Norman Lamont with an iPod, Mr Speaker! Ed Miliband

13.16 From April 2012, people leaving 10 per cent or more of their estate to charity will enjoy 10 per cent reduction in inheritance tax, benefiting charities by £300m.

13.10 Osborne sets out funds for an additional 40,000 apprenticeships and 10,000 higher-level apprenticeships. The number of places on a new work experience scheme will increase to 100,000 over two years, rather than 20,000 as previously announced.

Budget 2011: Carbon pledge

13.07 Osborne says the UK is to become the first country in the world to introduce a carbon price floor for the power sector.

13.05 Osborne commits £100 million to help councils repair potholes – read our story: English councils get £100 million to fix potholes

Comment via Twitter: ptristram @channel4news I am relieved to neither be a part of "Ford Focus Britain" nor "Alarm Clock Britain".

13.04 Osborne says he is investing £200million in regional railways.

13.05 The chancellor confirms funds provided for 21 new Enterprise Zones. Caroline Artis tells Channel 4 News:”These are genuine attempts to make it easier to start up and grow a business in the UK.”

Business Correspondent Siobhan Kennedy's report: Enterprise Zones on the way back 

13.00 Osborne announces new shared equity scheme for first-time buyers to help 10,000 families get onto the housing ladder, funded from £250 million from the Bank Levy.

More from Channel 4 News: Did Ken Clarke fall asleep? Click here for video.

Budget 2011: business

(Above: the verdict on tax havens from Business Correspondent Siobhan Kennedy)

12.56 Osborne reveals Entrepreneurs Relief scheme will be doubled to £10m from 6 April.

12.51 Today’s “Plan for Growth” will remove £350 million worth of regulation on businesses, says Osborne.

12.50 The chancellor announces corporation tax is to be reduced by 2 per cent from April 2011 – rather than 1 per cent as previously announced – and to fall by 1 per cent in each of the next three years to reach 23 per cent.

Cathy Newman (@cathynewman) tweets: I think Osborne's voice is going to give out if he does many more perorations!! 

12.48 Osborne: Let it be heard all over the world: “Britain is open for business”

12.47 Government to consult on merging the operation of National Insurance and Income Tax, “an historic move” says Osborne.

12.45 Caroline Artis, Ernst and Young tax partner is watching the Budget with Channel 4 News. She says Osborne’s continual mentions of fuel prices suggest that he is likely to announce some action on them. She added: “He’s talking about the West Midlands – suggests he might be moving towards looking at regional development, Enterprise Zones.”

Budget 2011: jobs and prosperity

12.40 Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts growth of 1.7 per cent for 2011, 2.5 per cent next year, 2.9 per cent in 2013, 2.9 per cent in 2014 and 2.8 per cent in 2015.

12.35 Mr Osborne said the Budget was “about reforming the nation’s economy, so that we have enduring growth and jobs in the future”. He said he does not need to ask the public for more taxes or more spending cuts.

This is not a tax-raising budget, but nor can we afford a giveaway. George Osborne

12.33 Chancellor George Osborne rises to deliver his second Budget to the House of Commons. He says: “This is not a tax-raising budget, but nor can we afford a giveaway.”

12.20 George Osborne is expected to announce that the amount people can earn tax-free will rise by £600 from April 2012, benefiting 25m people and taking 250,000 out of income tax altogether.

Budget 2011: Petrol

12.00 Chris Bones, Professor of Creativity and Leadership at Manchester Business School tells Channel 4 News: “I believe there are several things from a business and general public point of view which people will want to hear about today.

“Small business for example will be looking for corporate tax relief, which will help stimulate growth.

“For the general public, they will want to hear that fuel tax will be frozen and the government will make concessions for the rising cost of living.”

Read more: Where can you get the UK’s cheapest petrol?

11.30 A slight smile from Chancellor George Osborne on the steps of No. 11. “That tells you there is something in there he thinks you’ll like”, says Channel 4 News Political Editor Gary Gibbon.

11.20 Demonstrators have chained themselves to the gates of Downing Street.

11.10 Chancellor George Osborne tells the Cabinet the Budget will set out the Government’s plans to reform and rebalance the nation’s economy and help families with the cost of living.

Who Knows Who: Spads you like: Osborne’s Treasury advisers

#c4Budget Twitter panel: what are the big issues?

A mother of three children, a student and a full-time carer give their reaction to George Osborne’s Budget 2011.

LIVE BLOG: Twitter Budget panel - Perdita Strang

Perdita Strang, @wifeandmummy,full-time mum

I live in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, in a three bed semi, hubby is a police officer. I gave up working for revenue and customs as childcare for three children would cost more than I would earn.

As my husband earns £30-odd thousand a year, the Government doesn’t think we need help. As a police officer, he has a lot of deductions from his wages (more than your average job) so take home is not that great.

Seen a cut? Feeling the age of austerity? Add a link to our Cutsmap. #c4cuts

We have a mortgage and I would love to work but do not have family to help out with childcare. I’m looking for help with this in the Budget.

We have two cars, due to husband working shifts and I need to take children to and from school. Fuel prices are so expensive.

I have an autistic daughter. We do receive reasonable financial assistance at present for her so I am happy with this. However, it would be good for carers to be paid more than £50 per week. It’s an insult.

We have a mortgage and I would love to work but do not have family to help out with childcare. Perdita Strang

People who care often have no choice and have to use this as their only income. They don’t have the choice to top it up elsewhere. I personally, just manage on this, but this is due to me being fortunate enough that my daughter attends mainstream school, so I do get a break. Some people care from when they wake up to when they sleep, and really should be paid for this. For these people and myself to be paid the same is an insult.

Read more: Channel 4 News special report – Spending cuts check

I would also like to see benefit cheats sorted. I’m sick of seeing and hearing of people picking up their giros, and going straight to the off licence! My husband and I only manage to treat ourselves to a small bottle of Magners at the weekend!

It makes me hugely cross just to think about how easy some people have it. I really hope we crack down on some of these people, or we introduce a new way of dealing with benefit claims.

@wifeandmummy top tweets:
Usually a budget will leave me thinking. This years has hardly touched us! Yes we'll save a tiny bit of fuel and a little tax.

Really would've liked more focus on personal issues over businesses. Carers,benefit fraud, nhs, education etc. Am disappointed.

Fuel duty news step in right direction,won't help massively,but will help a little. Pleased postponed next rise in fuel duty.

Budget. Well that was a damp squib. Ah well...
LIVE BLOG: Twitter Budget panel - John Cresswell-Plant

John Cresswell-Plant, @puppyjohn1999, unpaid carer

I live in Pelsall, West Midlands. I’m an unpaid carer for my wife and I’m also disabled myself – I have a very rare form of high function autism.

I feel strongly about this year’s Budget because we need it to help the least able in society to be able to contribute to their community and the economy without being demonised, penalised or stigmatised.

The key issues for me are social care; health; public transport; welfare; employment (especially for the birth-disabled).

I want reassurance I will be able to find the full time work. Jono Read

I’m hoping for tax breaks and greater financial support for unpaid carers; parity for unpaid carers with foster carers; greater steps to help get the severely/birth disabled who would need special advantage into employment with large private sector employers.

@puppyjohn1999 top tweets:
Nurses, unpaid Carers AND Armed Forces all do fantastic jobs...But Unpaid Carers must be better supported.

I'm in an impossible position. Most people think unpaid carers are a drain on the economy...

Osbourne tackling Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion - thank heavens!

I've watched Budget programmes since I was a child and that was the most confusing ever!
LIVE BLOG: Twitter Budget panel - Jono Read

Jono Read, @jonoread, student

Why I feel strongly this year: my sister and I will be graduating from university in June and will be looking for full time work. I have friends who have graduated with good degrees but cannot even get a basic job. I want reassurance I will be able to find the full time work.

This is particularly important as my father retires at the end of this year, and the family will have less money as a result. This year I will also start driving lessons, but if the costs of petrol continues to spiral, I may have to use public transport to travel for jobs.

Key issues: Jobs, provisions for young families, pensioners, petrol costs, and being a student there will be a slight interest in alcohol costs!

What I’m hoping for: Businesses need confidence. If they don’t have the confidence there just won’t be the jobs. I want to see what the budget will do for graduates and those looking for work. I also want to know that fuel costs will be stabalised.

@jonoread top tweets:
First time buyers scheme is good news and apprenticeships. But I'm not convinced by the tax changes...

Good news for support for science in Norwich. Stimulus for some of the local economy.

A Lib Dem hinted there might be something today as a replacement for EMA. No word on that...

@clairee_french I don't think even Clarkson would be that impressed. Apart from the pot holes.
Add your voice via Twitter @channel4news using the hashtag #c4Budget or on Facebook/Channel4News.