9.45pm WATCH: VAT increase is 'least worst option', says Vince Cable
6pm On CentreRight:
- Jill Kirby welcomes the straight-talking Budget
- Alex Deane has it on good authority that the closure of 150 Magistrates' Courts shall be announced tomorrow
- Matthew Elliott celebrates the apparent end of Regional Development Agencies
4.30pm Iain Anderson on CentreRight: The compulsion to buy a pension annuity at age 75 has finally been scrapped
3.30pm WATCH: The Budget in eight minutes
11am Charles Tannock MEP on CentreRight: Trying to find middle ground between two diametrically opposed positions on whaling
Local government: Let local papers start radio and TV stations
Osborne will deliver 'tough but fair' budget
"The chancellor, George Osborne, is to promise that tomorrow's deficit-busting emergency budget will hit the richest 10% hardest and take 850,000 of the lowest paid out of income tax altogether. Osborne will announce a £200 tax cut for 20 million basic rate taxpayers in an attempt to show that the toughest budget in a generation is "tough but fair"." – Guardian
Nick Robinson: 'All income groups will lose from today's Budget'
"Some good news has emerged from the Treasury tonight. The Budget will take 880,000 people out of the tax system and give basic rate taxpayers a tax cut of £200 per year. The bad news comes tomorrow when it will become clear that overall people in all income groups will pay more as a result of other tax rises, spending and benefit cuts and limits to public sector pay and pensions." – BBC
“This is one of the hardest things we will ever have to do" – Nick Clegg's warning to LibDem members is reported in the FT
Public sector pension costs exaggerated by Coalition and right-wing think tanks, say unions – Guardian
Bank levy may be as high as £3bn – FT
A rise in capital gains tax is to go ahead in the Budget despite protests from senior Tory MPs – Daily Mail
Leader-writers at The Telegraph are concerned: "The Chancellor has already signalled that he wants spending cuts rather than tax rises to bear the brunt of deficit reduction, by a ratio of about four to one. That is a healthy instinct, but it makes his apparent determination to more than double the rate of capital gains tax on non-business assets all the more puzzling. Such a punitive assault on the thrifty not only sends out the wrong message about wealth creation but will also, according to many analysts, be counter-productive in revenue-raising terms."
Tim Montgomerie: Don't increase VAT until all the public sector has been put on a diet
"The biggest part of the state that isn't sharing the pain is the NHS. Protecting the NHS while cutting into other essential services has been described as "irresponsible". Not by a rightwing ideologue but by former health secretary Andy Burnham. The Labour leadership candidate rightly pointed out that local and community services that contribute to the overall health of the population will have to be cut too deeply if the NHS budget continues to grow." – Tim Montgomerie in The Guardian
A VAT hike in today's Budget would cost the average family more than £400-a-year – Daily Mail
Dominic Lawson: Labour will say Tories enjoy making cuts
"Every one of those standing for the vacant leadership, including
the notionally least left-wing of the candidates, David Miliband, makes
the same point: the Tories – with their Liberal Democrat partners as
"useful idiots" – will be cutting public services because such action
gives them a private thrill of satisfaction, rather than because they
think it is in the national interest." – Dominic Lawson in The
There is a mandate for cuts, says The Sun: "At the election, the Tories and Lib Dems polled 17 million votes compared with Labour's 8 million. That means there is a clear mandate for today's unavoidable action."
No extra money for The Queen – Daily Mail
Union condemns the great railway sell-off that could net up to £2 billion – Times (£)
Cameron rebuffed calls by Britain’s leading businessmen to toughten strike laws – Times (£)
'Patients in England will no longer be guaranteed a GP appointment within 48 hours under a scaling back of NHS targets'
"Mr Lansley said: "I want to free the NHS from bureaucracy and targets that have no clinical justification and move to an NHS which measures its performance on patient outcomes. Doctors will be free to focus on the outcomes that matter – providing quality patient care."" – BBC | Watch Andrew Lansley defend £850m change on Channel 4 News
Nick Clegg will hold his first Deputy PM's Question Time with MPs – Express
Cameron to meet Russian President Medvedev to improve ties – FT
Diane Abbott plays race card to excuse her decision to send her son to private school – Daily Mail
And finally… Ten things you didn't know about the 150 year-old Budget box
"1. The box was made in 1860 for Chancellor William Gladstone, who held the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer four times.
2. Gladstone was originally a Conservative MP before becoming a Liberal Prime Minister, so perhaps it is appropriate that its final use should be by a Conservative-Lib Dem coalition.
3. The box has been used by 44 different chancellors in its lifetime…"
Read the full list in The Express.
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