Lilico Andrew BBC4pm WATCH: Andrew Lilico: "It is probably philosophically indefensible to have lower tax rates for pensioners "

3pm MPsETC: An "important moment in British history", and "a very courageous Budget": Backbenchers give their verdict on George Osborne

2.15pm WATCH: Ed Balls: "Why would spending £3bn on the highest income earners be fair?"

Noon ConHomeUSA newslinks: Romney's Jeb Bush endorsement ruined by campaign aide gaffe

11am Mark Lancaster MP on Comment: Foster carers shouldn't be overlooked by the adoption process

Screen shot 2012-03-22 at 07.53.25
ToryDiary: The front pages lead on the pensioner tax hike. But read deeper, and you'll find no consensus about yesterday's budget

Columnist Andrew Lilico: Five things that mattered from the Budget

Dylan Sharp on Comment: We must be careful not to portray the countryside as opposed to growth

Local Government: Manchester councils to be rewarded for transport spending

WATCH: Winners and losers in the budget

The give-with-one-hand-take-with-the-other budget.  No unleaked good news left for Osborne to announce as voters pay for threshold rise and top rate cut…

Screen shot 2012-03-22 at 08.25.49"In the biggest tax-cutting Budget in over a decade, Mr Osborne declared that the income tax personal allowance will rise by £1,100 next April to £9,205. About two million people will be freed from income tax altogether by the move, the biggest ever tax threshold increase.  The Chancellor also revealed that the controversial 50p top rate tax for those earning more than £150,000 a year will be cut to 45p next year." – Daily Express

…Plus corporation tax reduction…

"Business leaders welcomed the move to cut corporation tax by an extra 1p a year earlier than expected and eventually to cut it further to 22 per cent. John Cridland, the Director General of the CBI, said: "An extra 1 per cent off corporation tax this year could make a big difference to investment intentions." The Chancellor said the cuts would make the UK one of the most competitive countries for business in the world and added: "We are now within sight of a basic rate of 20 per cent for all taxes including income tax, small businesses and corporation tax." – The Independent 

…With a raid on pensioner allowances…

Osborne Grinch"The Chancellor was accused of an “outrageous assault” on the over-65s after he used his Budget to announce that he would end a century-old tax break introduced by Winston Churchill. The “age-related allowance”, which means pensioners start paying tax at a higher income level than workers, is to be phased out, Mr Osborne said. The move will mean prudent savers retiring in future will miss out on a tax break worth, on average, £285 a year, despite the Chancellor’s claims that the move would not leave pensioners poorer “in cash terms”." – Daily Telegraph

  • "The hit on pensions went down without comment…but that was because Mr Osborne skimmed over it like a waterboatman crossing a lily pond." – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • Tories fret at rage on party faithful – Financial Times (£)

…Clegg's tycoon tax in a clampdown on allowances…

"In a significant victory for the Liberal Democrats, the Chancellor effectively introduced a 25 per cent minimum rate of tax in the Budget. Under the changes, he will limit how much people offset their tax bills by investing in businesses or donating to charity. Anyone seeking to claim more than £50,000 of tax relief in any one year will have a cap set at 25 per cent of their income from 2013.  Accountants said this means the wealthiest will have to pay at least 25 per cent of their income in tax." – Daily Telegraph

…And the introduction of "Mansion Tax Lite"

"Stamp duty on the most expensive properties will rise to 7 per cent today in a raid on the wealthy the Chancellor says will raise five times more than the 50p tax rate. The move represents a 40 per cent increase in the stamp duty bill for purchasers of homes costing £2million-plus. Currently the tax is levied at 5 per cent for all properties over £1million." – Daily Mail

Osborne also finds revenue by scrapping anamolies on luncheon vouchers and static caravans…Daily Express

…And drawing on the Afghanistan withdrawal dividend (which also pays for council tax cuts for forces' families)Daily Express

It's surely the end for universal child benefit

Osborne Childsnatcher"Parents earning between £42,745 and £60,000 will be able to keep some or all of their child benefit after George Osborne staged a partial U-turn – but 840,000 families will still lose out. The Chancellor said anyone with an income of up to £50,000 would lose nothing, while those earning between £50,000 and £60,000 would have the benefit gradually withdrawn." – Daily Mail

The Chancellor signals that he'd going for airport growth in the south-east…

"A third runway at Heathrow airport could be back on the agenda after the Chancellor unveiled plans for a major Government review of airline capacity around London. George Osborne revealed Justine Greening, the Transport Secretary, has been told to “set out government thinking” on new runways and air terminals in the summer.  Declaring that “this country must confront the lack of airport capacity in the South East of England”, the Chancellor added: “We cannot cut ourselves off from the fastest growing cities in the world.” – The Times (£)

But there's no relief for motorists (and no surprise announcement on childcare)

"Motorists and holidaymakers face soaring bills after Chancellor George Osborne pressed ahead with hikes in fuel and air passenger duty. He ignored warnings of a £7 gallon from the motoring lobby to confirm a 3p increase in fuel duty from August.With VAT this will add just under 4p per litre to the cost at the pumps. Petrol and diesel pump prices are already repeatedly hitting record levels, partly thanks to some of the highest taxes in the world." – Daily Express

What the OBR says

"The official forecasts showed the economy crawling back to health with growth of 0.8 per cent this year, rising gradually to 3 per cent in 2015. Mr Osborne was still on target to eliminate his favoured measure of borrowing two years later than originally planned in 2016-17, the independent Office for Budget Responsiblity said." – Financial Times (£)

  • "They have no institutional memory and they clearly lack experience." Sue Cameron quotes an old hand on Osborne's new, young, briefing-prone Treasury in the Daily Telegraph

Wallace and Gromit fight back: Miliband takes revenge for Cameron's nod-or-shake-your-head Europe treaty Commons pantomime by mirroring it over the 50p rate

Screen shot 2012-03-22 at 08.30.34"[Miliband] concentrated almost entirely on the 5p cut in the top tax rate. The 14,000 people in Britain who earned £1m or more a year would each be richer by at least £40,000. It was the government's own bankers' bonus! Then he launched into manic pantomime. "Hands up in the cabinet if you get a benefit from the income tax cut! Come on!" It was Delia Smith crazed on the pitch at Norwich, Eric Joyce in the Strangers' Bar, without physical contact." – The Guardian

Heseltine sent in to bang public and private heads togetherThe Independent

Council tax bills to be frozen next yearThe Sun

Budget speech in fullDaily Express

Sam Cam arrives at Downing Street for budget day on her bikeDaily Mail

The Editorials:

  • "Osborne was right to produce a Budget that put incentives for growth ahead of political consequences" – The Times (£)
  • "Yesterday, the Mail called for a Budget for national survival. Though Mr Osborne may merit a B+ for going as far as the  Lib Dems would let him, this isn’t it." – Daily Mail Editorial
  • "At a time when older people are struggling with paltry interest rates and lower-than-expected pension payments the cost of this [pension] simplification is too high." – Daily Express
  • How Osborne fuelled our pain – The Sun
  • An audacious gamble from the artful Osborne – Financial Times (£)

And the Telegraph's view: well, at least Osborne didn't make anything worse: "At least this Budget did not make things worse – and may well leave the country better placed to benefit from recovery when, and if, it comes." – Daily Telegraph Editorial

Paul Goodman: This budget paves the way for the Coalition to continue after the next election

Cameron & Clegg laughing
" 'We’ve capped benefits,' said the chancellor. 'Now it’s right to cap tax reliefs too.' It isn’t hard to see how this approach could be extended into the next parliament: a raising of the threshold beyond £10,000, taking still more people out of tax; a reduction of the top rate to 40p, taking it back to where Nigel Lawson left it; an extension of taxes on property; further squeezes on aggressive avoidance and non-doms. One can already hear the renewed coalition pitch: a government on the side of working people; a Britain fair to rich and poor; two parties continuing their work in the national interest." – Financial Times (£)

"A real supply-side Budget would have slashed marginal rates for the majority of taxpayers to boost incentives to work, save and invest – and cut spending faster. Yet the rise in the personal allowance cuts the marginal rates of no more than 7 per cent of taxpayers." – Allister Heath, City A.M

Screen shot 2012-03-22 at 08.39.32More comment:

  • They are still hooked on spending your money – Max Hastings, Daily Mail
  • A budget of no economic significance – Martin Wolf, Financial Times (£)
  • This budget is little more than a sop to LibDem prejudice – Simon Heffer, Daily Mail
  • "The 45p tax cut is an act of bravery, not calculation." – Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph
  • Same old Tories? That's a message that could start to stick now – Steve Richards, The Independent
  • "For a Chancellor who is portrayed as an intensely political tactician, this was a Budget of brave principle." – Camilla Cavendish, The Times (£)
  • "In cutting the top rate of tax, Osborne has sent a missile into six years of Tory modernisation" – Ian Birrell, The Guardian
  • Not so much a gamble, more a grand strategy – David Laws, Daily Telegraph
  • "To be fair, the impact of yesterday’s event was blunted by the fact that so many measures had been leaked. Grumpy Tory aides blamed those naughty Lib Dems for ruining Mr Osborne’s big day. Yet there was more to the whiff of anti-climax than that." – Macer Hall, Daily Express

Yesterday's budget coverage on ConservativeHome:

Scotland gets power to set its own income tax rate from 2016

SALMOND ALEX"Alex Salmond's government has accepted significant new powers to set a Scottish rate of income tax worth roughly £5.3bn after winning further concessions from the UK government. In a sudden about-face, the first minister dropped his repeated demands for extensive controls over corporation tax and excise duty after agreeing to accept a series of new tax and borrowing powers offered by the UK government worth billions of pounds a year." – The Guardian

First Minister relents over Scotland bill demands – Herald Scotland

Livingstone: "Rich Jews won't vote Labour"

"The former London mayor, who is campaigning for re-election, made the comment while meeting Labour supporters in the Jewish community. The left-winger, known as Red Ken, stands accused of anti-semitism for the comment, as well as using the word ‘Zionist’ as an insult and confusing the label ‘Israeli’ with ‘Jew’.  Jewish Labour supporters have written to party leader Ed Miliband, warning him to rein in Mr Livingstone or face losing vital support in the London race." – Daily Mail

Nick Gibb: GCSE stars who can't master the three RsDaily Mail

And finally…Google's translation of Ken Clarke's interview in yesterday's Die Zeit

CLARKE HAPPY"Großbritannien will kein Einzelkämpfer sein." ("Britain wants to be a lone wolf.")

"Meryl Streep hat den Stil und die Stimme von Margaret Thatcher brillant hinbekommen."   Allerdings hat Margaret nie getobt." ("Meryl Streep was hooked to the style and the voice of Margaret Thatcher brilliant. However, Margaret has never raged.")

"Helmut Kohl hat die deutsche Stärke ausgespielt, aber nie zu sehr betont. Ich halte ihn für einen großen Mann." ("Helmut Kohl has played the German strength, but never stressed too much. He was restrained. I consider him a great man.")

"Nicolas Sarkozy wants to push through with its petty tax something that poses a threat to our financial markets." ("Nicolas Sarkozy will mit seiner belanglosen Steuer etwas durchsetzen, das eine Bedrohung für unseren Finanzmarkt darstellt.")

Read the whole interview here


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