At-a-glance guide to today's main Budget points
Help with mortgages, 1p off a pint of beer and tough new action to catch Britain's tax cheats
THESE are the main points of today's Budget, presented in the Commons by Chancellor George Osborne in "a very political speech from a man in a very tight economic straitjacket", as the BBC’s political editor Nick Robinson put it...
Income tax: The personal allowance before any tax has to be paid will be raised to £10,000 from 2014 – a year earlier than forecast. In the short term, it rises to £9,440 on 6 April as planned.
1p off a pint: The annual "duty escalator" is scrapped, knocking 1p off the price of a pint of beer from Sunday night.
3p off petrol: The scheduled 3p-a-litre rise in fuel duty due in September is scrapped.
Tax-free loans: Limit of tax-free loans for commuter season tickets doubled to £10,000.
Housing: New Help-to-Buy scheme includes a Government interest-free loan worth 20 per cent of the value of a new-build house. State pension: The flat-rate £144-a-week pension is to be brought forward to 2016.
Tax evasion: Accountants operating "dodgy" avoidance schemes will be named and shamed as part of a drive to bring in an additional £5bn in unpaid taxes.
Corporation Tax: The rate will be cut from 21% to 20% from April 2015.
Capital spending: Spending cuts at Whitehall departments will be used to fund £3bn extra spending on infrastructure from 2015/16.
Public sector pay: Increases will be limited to 1% for a further year to 2015/16.
Employment Allowance: New scheme to take £2,000 off the cost of National Insurance contributions of every company from April 2014. Every business will be able to employ one worker on a salary of £22,400, or four employees on the minimum wage, without paying any employer NICs. Deficit: The Deficit has fallen from 11.2% of GDP in 2009/10 to a forecast 7.4% this year. It is expected to fall to 5.9% in 2014/15 and 2.2% by 2017/18. Growth: Britain will avoid a triple-dip recession, the Chancellor claims. Growth is estimated at 0.6% in 2013 and 1.8% in 2014. Employment: Estimates suggest there will be 600,000 more jobs in 2013 than this time last year.