Osborne6.15pm WATCH: George Osborne's entire Budget speech and Ed Miliband's response

5.15pm Iain Anderson on Comment: The Chancellor reboots monetary policy?

5pm Jury update: Robert Halfon MP responds to the Budget

4.15pm ToryDiary updateFive must-see graphs on the Budget

3.45pm We ask the ConservativeHome Jury: What did you make of today's Budget?

3pm ToryDiary: You get up early. You work hard. You save. You do the right thing. You make Britain what it is. We're on your side.

2.45pm ThinkTankCentral: Centre right think tanks don't like Budget's complexity

2.45pm Local Government: Right to Buy boosted



12.30pm ToryDiary: David Cameron uses PMQs to confirm that he's considering more intervention in Syria

10am Adam Corlett on Comment: Conservatives should want to tax property fairly. Here's how they could

9am MPsETC: George Osborne's biggest Budget-day decision – he's joined Twitter

Budget-BoxThree Budget-related posts lead our coverage today:

Columnist Stephan Shakespeare: Miliband needs a bigger lead in opinion polls. Cameron's real aim is another Coalition.

Continuing our series of articles from our Victory 2015 Conference, Matthew Elliott asks: What kind of machine do political parties need to win elections in the present age?

Local Government: Wheelie bin consultation doesn't ask about wheelie bins but does ask if residents are gay

The Deep End: Dealing with the rise of China requires more free trade, not less

Budget 1): A "tough love" Budget that swaps current spending for capital spending…

Osborne"George Osborne will offer meagre help to homebuyers, small businesses and cash-strapped households today as he warns of tough decisions to come. … Against a backdrop of growth downgrades and higher than expected borrowing, the Chancellor will admit that he has limited room for manoeuvre. He surprised Cabinet ministers yesterday by squeezing Whitehall budgets by a further £2.5 billion over the next two years. … The money will go on extra capital spending, to be announced today." – The Times (£)

> Yesterday: 

Budget 2): … as the fiscal position worsens

"The British government is steeling itself for rising debt levels despite years of austerity, the country’s finance minister is expected to admit in his annual budget today. … George Osborne will acknowledge that his target for a decline in public debt as a percentage of gross domestic product – currently 75 per cent – has been pushed back to the 2017-18 fiscal year. He had originally forecast that the government’s debt burden would begin to fall in 2013-14." – Financial Times (£)

  • Downturn"When George Osborne delivers his Budget on Wednesday it will be against a backdrop of grim resignation on the faces of Tory MPs. … One Conservative MP emerged from a pre-Budget briefing with the Institute for Fiscal Studies describing what he heard as 'razor blade stuff'. The MP added: 'If we had a sweepstake on when we’ll balance the books, I’d take 2022.'" – Financial Times (£)

Budget 3): But there could be happier news on taxation

"George Osborne is to cast himself as the champion of Britain's hard workers when he unveils a series of measures designed to ease the pressure on low and middle-income earners … The chancellor is expected to announce that moves towards a tax-free allowance of £10,000 will be brought forward a year to 2014. A planned rise in fuel duty, due to take place in September, may be delayed or even scrapped altogether." – Guardian

Budget 4): And George Osborne is set to scrap the beer duty escalator

Beer"George Osborne will today say cheers to Britain — and scrap next month’s 6p rise on a pint of beer. … The Chancellor will also abolish the hated beer duty escalator, ruling out next year’s 6p rise too." – The Sun

Budget 5): And the Armed Forces are set for a pay rise

"George Osborne, the Chancellor, is expected to announce in his Budget that Service personnel will see their pay rise by 1.5 per cent, despite a 1 per cent cap on public-sector pay awards." – Daily Telegraph

Budget 6): Doubts over inflation

"Families have been ripped off for decades by annual increases in bills linked to inaccurate inflation figures, experts warned yesterday. … The Office for National Statistics admitted its retail prices index (RPI) measure was inadequate and had been replaced." – Daily Mail

> Today, by Andrew Lilico on Comment: The Bank of England's target may change in the Budget, but probably in the wrong way 

Budget 7): The newspapers have their say…

  • Newspapers"Short-term fixes are not available. Supply side reform to ease planning restrictions and liberalise labour markets will have a more enduring effect on growth than eye-catching initiatives in discretionary spending. That is the message Mr Osborne needs to stick to and patiently explain." – Times editorial (£)
  • "We need ruthless Whitehall spending cuts far greater than the £2.5billion announced yesterday. … It can be done without hurting the needy, schools or hospitals. … But there can be no sacred cows like lavish overseas aid." – Sun editorial
  • "…the government should be applauded for setting out a vision of where UK industry is heading. Ensuring it arrives there is the next – and hardest – task." – Financial Times editorial (£)
  • "It is no longer the usual suspects calling for a fiscal stimulus; it's business groups, the Tory right and a growing thicket of newspapers." – Guardian editorial

Budget 7): …and so do the columnists

  • DF"…even if there were a decisive policy argument for a completely different economic approach (and, as it happens, I do not believe that there is), politically it would be curtains for the Government. A dramatic departure is not merely unlikely today, it would certainly be a political failure." – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times (£)
  • "Anything the Chancellor can do to encourage private individuals to invest in small companies and start-ups, as they do more readily in the US, would be very welcome." – David Wighton, The Times (£)
  • "George Osborne’s fiscal rules have already been stretched and breached. By 2015 they will in effect be a dead letter. New fiscal rules are needed. Labour should lead the debate and set itself back on the path to economic credibility." – Nick Pearce, Financial Times (£)
  • "…one veteran Conservative suspects that the chancellor will make some surprise moves. 'George and his people have gone to such lengths to play down this budget. This means he is clearly up to something. I expect there will be one or two rabbits out of his hat.'" – Nicholas Watt, Guardian
  • "For 25 years, tax revenue has been stuck at around 38 per cent of GDP. No government has been able to increase it. That is what we have to work with" – Hamish McRae, Independent
  • "The shadow chancellor has not yet managed to rekindle the spirit of 1945, but his party should pray that he succeeds today and all the way to the election. Far from being the ghost of Budgets past, Ed Balls is Labour’s key to victory in 2015." – Mary Riddell, Daily Telegraph

> Today: 

> Yesterday:

The Telegraph and Mail go on the offensive against the Coalition's childcare policies

Telegraph"Campaigners and Tory MPs have rounded on the Government after it announced that working parents earning up to £150,000 each will get up to £1,200 to help with child care because they have a “greater need” than those who do not work. … The policy will, therefore, ignore the interests of 1.2 million parents who choose to stay at home to look after their children, many of whom have already lost their child benefit this year." – Daily Telegraph

  • "Surely the Conservative solution is not to privilege one type of family over another, but to let everyone keep more of their own money, and trust them to spend it wisely." – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • "How can true Tories possibly justify this blatant discrimination, so soon after withdrawing child benefit from single-earner couples on just £50,000?" – Daily Mail editorial

> Today on ToryDiary: What's the Chancellor's policy towards one-earner families?

> Yesterday, on Comment, Harry Benson explains: How to make Sure Start achieve what it was meant to do 

"'It's my proudest day as PM': Cameron honours our Arctic Convoy heroes after 70 years" - Daily Mail

Press regulation 1): The Spectator says No…

Spectator"…we have a dog’s breakfast of a Royal Charter which actually makes less sense the more you read it. This is what happens when politicians get together: each wants to proclaim victory, so the language is made vague enough for everyone to read whatever they want into it. It’s perhaps fitting that the Charter is written in archaic language: that’s how they spoke in the 1690s, the last time there was state regulation of the press in England. All together, it’s a recipe for disaster and future power grabs." – Fraser Nelson, The Spectator

Press regulation 2): … will others follow?…

"Ian Hislop, Editor of Private Eye, said that he doubted the satirical magazine would join. … Lionel Barber, Editor of the Financial Times, said that there was a real problem with the costs of the proposals. Ben Brogan, deputy editor of The Daily Telegraph said that a separate regulator should be formed." – The Times (£)

  • "Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and CEO of News Corporation, has made his first public comments on the deal for press regulation reached in Westminster on Monday, tweeting: 'UK Royal Charter requires Queen's signature. Unlikely without full all party support. Queen doesn't do politics.'" – Guardian
  • "The UKIP boss branded David Cameron’s law-enforced Royal Charter a 'Charter for the suppression of the Press, not for its regulation'." – The Sun

Press regulation 3): as ministers are urged to reopen talks, to stem the confusion


"Ministers were urged to resume talks over the future of press regulation last night amid fears among website owners and bloggers that they could be ensnared and bankrupted by the 'confused' new system." – The Times (£)

  • "You’ll need to send warship to California to stop me…" – Guido Fawkes, The Sun
  • "Press regulation is a victory for the rich, the celebrated and the powerful" – Simon Jenkins, Guardian
  • "This Royal Charter is not what I had in mind, Mr Cameron" – Francis Bennion, Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday:

Press regulation 4): Alex Salmond poised to accept UK-wide regulator for Scottish mediaGuardian

Fewer than 13,000 Romanian and Bulgarian migrants? Eric Pickles doesn't believe it

EP"The number of Romanian and Bulgarian migrants expected when the UK opens its doors next January was put at just 12,700, according to long-hidden figures. … Addressing Westminster journalists, Mr Pickles said he had ‘no confidence’ in the figures and that was why ministers chose not to publicise them, though he said they were slipped out on a Whitehall website in 2011." – Daily Mail

The Independent features a letter from 100 academics, criticising Michael Gove's curriculum proposals

"Michael Gove’s proposed new national curriculum will severely damage education standards by insisting children learn 'endless lists of spellings, facts and rules', experts are warning. In a letter to The Independent, 100 education academics warn that the new curriculum promotes 'rote learning without understanding' and demands 'too much too young'." – Independent

  • "Mr Gove, too, should listen to teachers" – Independent editorial

Jeremy Browne suggests that Mr Cameron will be "reliant" on the Lib Dems to govern after the next election

JB"David Cameron will be 'reliant' on the Liberal Democrats to govern after the next election because his Conservatives cannot win a working Commons majority, a senior Lib Dem minister has said. … His comments are the first in which a senior Lib Dem has publicly raised the prospect of a second power-sharing deal between the two Coalition parties after the election." – Daily Telegraph

> Today, by Stephan Shakespeare: Miliband needs a bigger lead in opinion polls. Cameron's real aim is another Coalition.

Max Hastings: "If they had a scintilla of decency, Tony Blair, Alastair Campbell and John Scarlett would not show their faces in public again"

"All three men thus committed what seems to some of us a heinous political crime. They concocted a false manifesto to justify taking Britain to war, with the loss of 179 British servicemen’s lives. … Yet a decade on, not only are those responsible walking the streets of London as free men, but they are without shame." – Max Hastings, Daily Mail

> Yesterday's video to WATCH: Tony Blair: "I still believe it was right to remove Saddam"

David Nicholson under further pressure to quit

"The head of the NHS faced further calls to quit last night after he admitted giving incorrect information to a parliamentary committee. … Sir David Nicholson has written to the Public Accounts Committee to say that he was wrong to deny repeatedly that Gary Walker, then head of United Lincolnshire Hospitals, had told him that he wanted to be a whistleblower about patient safety in 2009." – The Times (£)

Has Barack Obama picked the next US ambassador to the UK?

US embassy

"A source with knowledge of the White House selection process told The Times: 'We are at the end of the process and the President has made his decision. It is Matthew Barzun.' … Mr Barzun spent two years as the US Ambassador to Sweden before masterminding fundraising for the Obama 2012 campaign." – The Times (£)

And finally… we still don't trust politicians

"Britain is in the grip of a ‘deep institutional crisis’ with trust in government, parliament and politicians at an ‘all-time low’, according to an internationally respected survey. … It has led to the UK having one of the lowest political participation rates in the developed world – and even scoring below Palestine and Iraq." – Daily Mail


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