Today (16 March) marks the eighth Budget Statement delivered to the House of Commons by George Osborne. It’s his fourth in just one year.
13:39 - That’s all from George Osborne. Jeremy Corbyn now has his say. We’ll be digesting the Chancellor’s statement, which lasted over an hour, and bringing you a summary as soon as possible.
13:37 - The Chancellor wraps up by saying “this is a Budget that gets the investors investing and the businesses doing business”.
13:35 - The tax free allowance will be increased to £11,500 from 2017. And the higher tax rate threshold will be increased to £45,000.
13:32 - From April 2017, the ISA limit will increase to £20,000. And for anyone under 40 a ‘lifetime ISA’, allowing savings of £4,000 a year - “A Budget that puts the next generation first”, he says again.
13:29 - From 2018, National Insurance Contributions will be abolished for the three million self-employed workers in the UK. Capital gains tax cut from 28% to 20% for higher rate taxpayers and from 18% to 10% from basic rate taxpayers from April 2016
13:27 - Fuel duties frozen, beer/cider duty frozen, whiskey and spirits duty frozen and tobacco duty will rise as forecast.
13:25 - A new sugar levy will be imposed on the soft drinks industry in two years time. He admits that some brands will choose to raise prices, but that will impact on sales. It will raise an estimated £520 million, which will go towards sports funding in schools.
13:20 - Here it is, his big announcement: education reform. State schools in England will be given £1.5 billion to transform into academies. He says it will help to boost the UK’s productivity in the future.
13:19 - The insurance premium tax will be raised by 0.5% to 10% with extra revenue committed to flood defence.
13:16 - We already knew, but Mr Osborne confirms plans for HS3, Crossrail 2, bringing forward work on the M62 and exploration of a road tunnel under the Pennines.
13:12 - Following yesterday’s signing of the £1.2 billion Cardiff City Deal, the Chancellor commits to talks over City Deal for Swansea and a Growth Deal for North Wales. Welsh residents will be pleased to hear the Severn Bridge tolls will be halved from 2018, as well.
13:10 - Mr Osborne also outlines tax breaks for the UK’s struggling oil & gas, including the scrappage of the petroleum revenue tax.
13:05 - Focusing on the smallest businesses in the UK, people who sell services online or rent out their homes on line will be eligible for two new tax free allowances worth £1,000 a year.
13:03 - The threshold for small business rates relief will be more than doubled to £15,000, permanently. He says it means that from next year, 600,000 small businesses will pay no business rates at all. There it is… “Britain is open for business”. Remember, business rates reform was massively important to small businesses in this Budget.
13:01 - Corporation tax will be cut “even further”, Mr Osborne says. By April 2020, he says it will fall to 17%. He says the funds raised by tackling tax avoidance among big firms will be used to help smaller businesses.
12:57 - Chancellor announces “radical reform” of the business tax system.
12:54 - He’s really hammering home the ‘putting the next generation first’ message. Is this the new ‘long-term economic plan’?
12:52 - George Osborne says the government will still achieve a budget surplus of £10.4 billion in 2019/20, and more than £11bn in 2020/21.
12:51 - Looking back at those OBR forecasts, growth is expected to be 2% this year - down from 2.4% forecast in November, 2017’s forecast falls from 2.5% to 2.2%, from 2.4% to 2.1% in 2018, and 2.3% to 2.1% in 2019 and 2020.
He’s missed his debt reduction forecast, as well. It was forecast to fall as a share of GDP this financial year, but the OBR says it will now happen in 2017/18.
12:41 - Economy will grow by 2% this year, 2.2% in 2017, and 2.1% in each of the three following years. Brexit supporters grumble as George Osborne says the OBR specifically stressed that forecasts are based on UK remaining in the EU. He goes on to say the OBR believes Brexit would result in “uncertainty” and “volatility”.
12:38 - OBR forecasts “materially weaker” growth in the global economy. Mr Osborne emphasising global problems before saying the only major revision for the UK is downgrading productivity potential.
12:35 - Here we go! The Chancellor says he is on course to achieve a budget deficit by 2019/20, but warns financial markets and productivity pose a big challenge to the economy.
12:32 - We’re running over slightly. While we wait for PMQs to end, here’s an intriguing tweet from ITV political editor Robert Peston:
There is a surprise in this budget that Chancellor expects to generate headlines #Budget2016— Robert Peston (@Peston) March 16, 2016
12:25 - BBC business editor tweets:
Expect to hear phrase Business Tax Roadmap a few times today to try and shore up business confidence by making landscape more predictable — Simon Jack (@BBCSimonJack) March 16, 2016
12:13 - A few Conservative MPs bring up the topic of jobs and unemployment. This morning, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said unemployment fell 28,000 between November and January.
12:00 - It’s midday, PMQs starts. So we’re around 30 minutes away from George Osborne delivering the Budget.
11:46 - If you’ve never followed a Budget before and are wondering how it’s going to work… Prime Minister’s Questions will take its usual midday slot on a Wednesday, lasting for around 30 minutes. The Chancellor will then deliver his Statement - it usually lasts anything between 45 minutes and over and hour. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will then have a chance to respond to the Budget.
11:43 - Good morning folks! Welcome to another Budget day with Fresh Business Thinking. The man in the spotlight, George Osborne, has already done his ‘red box’ moment and has arrived at Westminster.