George Osborne’s pre-election Budget: What it means for you
Chancellor George Osborne eyed first time buyers, savers and voters in marginal seats as he made his final budget outing of the parliament.
A new tax-free savings allowance of £1,000, and a Help to Buy Isa for people aspiring to get on the property ladder, were the hallmarks of a financial blueprint which he delivered claiming “Britain is walking tall again”.
Some areas where the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats could be under threat, or they have seats in their sights, were top of the list for a limited pot of electoral bribes.
The Chancellor also hoped to appeal to drinkers with a penny off a pint, while drivers were cheered by a continued freeze in fuel duty.
The budget also includes a rise in the personal tax free income allowance to £10,800 next year and £11,000 the year after.
Britain’s farmers were given a helping hand amid market volatility, with the Treasury decision to allow them to average their incomes over five years – a key National Farmers Union election manifesto ask.
The Conservative’s junior coalition partners hailed a budget “packed” with their policies, including a further increase in the tax threshold, also taking credit for the money-making measure of reducing the lifetime allowance for pension contributions that benefit from tax relief from £1.25m to £1m – a move which they say will affect the top four per cent of wealthiest individuals.
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They will set out their own plans for the economy after the election in the House of Commons tomorrow.
But independent official forecasters said the Chancellor’s plans to cut spending implied a “rollercoaster profile” for public services over the next few years, with a deeper tightening for 2016/17 and 2017/18 before a sharp spending rise in 2019/2020.
Labour leader Ed Miliband said people would not believe the budget, claiming there had never been such a large gap between the Chancellor’s rhetoric and the reality of people’s lives.
He condemned Mr Osborne for failing to mention investment in the NHS or public services.
He said: “People are £1,600 a year worse off, the next generation has seen wages plummet and tuition fees treble. You have built fewer homes than at any time for nearly 100 years.
“And it’s certainly not a truly national recovery when there are more zero hours contracts than the population of Glasgow, Leeds and Cardiff combined. That is the reality of the lives of working people.”
“Let me just tell you, we’re not going to take lessons on fairness from the trust fund Chancellor and the Bullingdon club Prime Minister,” he added.