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Second Day of The G8 Summit

Second Day of The G8 Summit

  • Posted: Jun 18, 2013
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Leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) nations gathered in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland on Tuesday for the second and final day of their summit.

Key items on the agenda are taxation, transparency and counterterrorism.

The issue of Syria was discussed on Monday evening at a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama and also at a working dinner later.

Putin and Obama admitted they had big differences on Syria, but they agreed to push for a summit in Geneva, Switzerland.

“Our positions do not fully coincide, but we are united by the common intention to end the violence, to stop the number of victims increasing in Syria, to resolve the problems by peaceful means, including the Geneva talks,” said Putin at a joint press conference with Obama.

“We agreed to push the process of peace talks and encourage the parties to sit down at the negotiation table, organize the talks in Geneva,” he said.

The United States announced it would begin arming Syria’s opposition forces because it has proof chemical weapons were used against the rebels. But Russia has dismissed the claims, saying they’re based on flimsy evidence.

British Prime Minister David Cameron described Monday evening’s discussions on Syria as “encouraging.”

He is also looking for an agreement on ways that the government can get more tax information from offshore tax havens like Bermuda, the Cayman Islands or the Isle of Man.

The G8 leaders will also be addressing counter-terrorism at their morning session.

The first day of the summit saw a launch of formal negotiations on a free trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and the United States.

The summit is taking place amid intensive security at the Lough Erne resort and its outskirts, with 8,000 police on duty around the venue.

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First Day of The G8 Summit

First Day of The G8 Summit

  • Posted: Jun 17, 2013
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First day of the G8 summit Is expected to focus on the following aspects

The Group of Eight will bring together heads of state from United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Canada, Italy, France, and Russia. Local authorities expect around 2,000 anti-capitalist protestors at a march scheduled for Monday. Protests are by no means unexpected at the talks, and a police force of 8,000 will guard the fenced-in golf resort.

But more important than the crowd-repelling water cannons available to the guarding force will be the diplomatic shotguns with which the congregated leaders will attempt to hit the topics of discussion as they go whizzing by. UK Prime Minister David Cameron, the host of this year’s summit, set the agenda of the meeting to focus on the alliterative topics of trade, taxes, and transparency. The topics of taxes and transparency, both aimed at corporations and financial reporting, will more or less manifest themselves as one cohesive issue. Stepping up to fill the topical triad will be a completely unrelated international situation — that of the conflict in Syria.

One goal that a majority of the leaders appear to share is the reduction of tax evasion on behalf of international corporations. Apple, Starbucks, and Google are the latest to take fire for their reporting policies, which seek to hack through the swampy thicket of international tax codes in order to retain the most and pay the least. Apple CEO Tim Cook emphasized a large part of the tax problem as arising from the United States’ impractically high corporate tax rate, which floats at around 35%. For his own part, French President Francois Hollande will promote an international base tax rate with the goal of eliminating tax havens.

The heads of state also bring with them to Northern Ireland aspirations for new and more favorable trade agreements — the primary target of the protesters looking down the barrels of the aforementioned water cannons. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will fight Irish and French skepticism in his effort to achieve cheaper access into Europe for Canadian beef and pork. But while Mr. Harper peddles his pork for pork, the life and fortune of the ambitious US-EU trade deal hangs by the slender thread of French insistence that an exception be allowed for the continued protection of its ever-subsidized cultural sector. France expressed agreement to the current incarnation of the agreement last Friday, but this precarious compromise may be challenged as the trade deal undergoes added scrutiny at the summit. Meanwhile, interested American stakeholders in Hollywood have turned their attention to other concerns, notably that of dismantling of the world’s nuclear arsenal.

Reflecting the inevitable reality of international summits, global events will most certainly derail Mr. Cameron’s tightly formed agenda in favor of more heated debate. Most notably, the decision on behalf of the United States to arm Syrian rebels last week promises to place a damper on the already less-than-gleaming spirit of cooperation exuded by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who remains in unwavering support of the Assad regime. Despite recent confirmation of the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against its citizens, Mr. Putin reaffirmed Russia’s efforts in “supplying arms to the legitimate government of Syria in line with international law” after meeting with Mr. Cameron on Sunday. Somehow not content with this simple defense of Russia’s stance on the conflict, Mr. Putin also found need to reference a recent bit of gruesome footage in denouncing the rebels: “One does not really need to support the people who not only kill their enemies, but open up their bodies, eat their organs in front of the public and cameras.” While Mr. Cameron appears somewhat optimistic on a potential understanding regarding Syria at the G8, his positive attitude may be countered by more than enough pessimism among the other meeting leaders.

On closing the international tax loopholes and demanding greater financial transparency for international companies, the G8 seems ready to talk with a fair degree of cooperative spirit. Will they solve the issue? In two days, probably not, especially for an issue that is so complex both on the world stage and on the domestic level. Largely formulated prior to the opening of the summit, the US-EU trade deal is most likely to be the grand accomplishment of the summit. As for Syria, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see a statement of universal disdain for the conflict that purports to be a consensus, but which actually isn’t anywhere close. Eight heads of state, two days, an uncertain quantity of topics to address, and infinite room for disagreement.

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What is the G8 Summit?

What is the G8 Summit?

  • Posted: Jun 16, 2013
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On Monday, world leaders arrived for the G8 summit, which is being  held in Northern Ireland for two days In the county of County Fermanagh

County Fermanagh is one of the six counties of Northern Ireland. The county covers an area of 1,691 km², with a population of approximately 61,170, with Enniskillen its county town.

What is the G8 Summit?

The purpose of the G8 is to provide a forum for the world’s major leaders to meet and try to find solutions to major global issues such as economic growth and crisis management, global security, energy, and terrorism. However, because the members of the Group are not obligated to follow what is requested at the summit, the group receives much criticism about its relevance and effectiveness.

The role of the G8

The G8, otherwise known as the Group of Eight, is an assembly of world leaders who meet annually to discuss global issues. Each year, the G8 holds a Leaders’ Summit, in which Heads of State and Government of member countries meet to discuss and attempt to reconcile global issues. Although the G8 is best known for its annual summits, it works throughout the year to tackle important contemporary topics such as the economy and climate change. The G8 discusses and creates global policies. However, adherence to these policies is not obligatory, and other countries can decide whether or not to obey.

 Here are the countries that make up the G8 and their prime ministers

Prime Minister Stephen Harper
President François Hollande
Chancellor Angela Merkel
Prime Minister Enrico Letta
Prime Minister Shinzō Abe
President Vladimir Putin
United Kingdom
Prime Minister David Cameron
President of the G8 for 2013
United States of America
President Barack Obama

Also represented

European Union
Council President Herman Van Rompuy
Commission President José Manuel Barroso
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MPs Are In Line For £20,000 Pay Rise

MPs Are In Line For £20,000 Pay Rise

  • Posted: May 12, 2013
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MPs’ salaries are expected to rise by at least £10,000 following a major review, taking them to more than £75,000.

MPs are in line for a pay rise of up to £20,000 in a move that could spark public fury.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) has been looking at an increase of between £10,000 and £20,000.

This could potentially boost MPs’ pay to more than three times the £26,500 national average salary.

The lower £10,000 figure is considered a more likely increase but even this is likely to anger voters.

Taxpayers’ salaries have risen by just 0.6% on average this year and many people are struggling to cope with the rising cost of living.

The hike for MPs would be partly offset by curbs to their gold-plated pensions and personal expenses.

However the proposal has already met with an incredulous response from many social media users.

Harlow Labour councillor Ian Beckett tweeted: “Ground control to Westminster … what planet are you on?”

Ipsa took responsibility for MPs’ salaries and pensions two years ago after it emerged some MPs had been fiddling their expenses.

It has recently been conducting a fundamental review.

A survey released by the watchdog in January found politicians on average believed they should be paid £86,000 rather than £66,000, with some demanding more than £100,000.

The watchdog is due to deliver its initial proposals for consultation next month, although the main changes will not come into effect until after the general election in 2015.

However, any significant rise is certain to be controversial as the economy continues to struggle and the rest of the public sector is subject to tight pay restraint.

Speaker John Bercow is among those who have been pushing for better remuneration, warning that the Commons must attract people from all backgrounds.

Officials are concerned that David Cameron and other party leaders may find it difficult to back such an increase.

Last month ministers acted to reduce the government element of their pay so they did not benefit from a 1% increase granted to MPs.

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Miliband Quits

Miliband Quits

  • Posted: Apr 11, 2013
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David Miliband stated he wrestled with the decision to leave British politics before accepting a job in New York.

David Miliband has revealed he is quitting British politics because he fears he is distracting from Labour’s attempts to regain power.

The former foreign secretary, who has accepted a charity job in New York declared that was an easy decision to make.

But he insisted it was the right move for him and the party because it would allow Labour under his younger brother Ed’s leadership to progress.

Mr Miliband, who was narrowly beaten to the party leadership by Ed in 2010, will take up a senior role with the International Rescue Committee in September.

The charity was founded in the 1930s to help those fleeing the Nazis and now has 12,000 staff working in over 40 countries to protect people and save lives

Mr Miliband told that the “fascination” with his relationship with Ed was clouding Labour’s fight against the Tories.

He said he felt the narrative about two brothers who had fought each other for the top job was obscuring “the real choice for he country”.

“I didn’t want to become a distraction. I think it’s the right decision for the party as well as for me. It is something I have struggled to accept but I have come to accept,” he said.

He added: “I have wrestled with this because I want to do everything possible to ensure a Labour government and support Ed in what he is doing.”

Mr Miliband earlier explained that he felt his new job “brings together his personal story and political life” because he his own father fled to Britain in 1940 to escape Hitler.

He told constituency chairman Alan Donnelly in his resignation letter: “I feel that in doing this job I will be repaying a personal debt.

“It is a strong, innovative and inspirational organisation, with the potential to change lives and help shape the global conversation about the growing challenge of displaced people around the world.”

He added: “It represents a new challenge and a new start.”

Hailing his brother’s “real success” as leader, he said: “I am very pleased and proud that our shared goal of making this a one-term government is achievable.”

Mr Miliband, 47, who is nicknamed “brains”, quit the shadow cabinet after losing the the knife-edge vote for the party leadership three years ago.

But there had been widespread rumours that he could make a return to the front bench, with Ed repeatedly insisting “the door is always open”.

His decision to quit politics entirely has saddened many Labour MPs and it will be seen as a severe blow to the right of the party.

Ed insisted he was “delighted” about his brother’s new job and praised the “huge contribution” he had made to Britain and Labour over the years.

“We went through a difficult leadership contest but time has helped to heal that,” he said in a statement.

“I will miss him. But although he is moving to America, I know he will always be there to offer support and advice when I need it.

“British politics will be a poorer place without David. But his huge talents will be serving people around the world.”

Tony Blair congratulated his one-time aide on his new job and was among several to express hope that he would one day return to the British political frontline.

“He is obviously a massive loss to UK politics. He was the head of my policy unit and then a truly distinguished Minister in the Government and remains one of the most capable progressive thinkers and leaders globally,” he said.

“I hope and believe this is time out not time over.”

Mr Miliband, 47, who is nicknamed “brains”, quit the shadow cabinet after losing the the knife-edge vote for the party leadership three years ago.

But there had been widespread rumours that he could make a return to the front bench, with Ed repeatedly insisting “the door is always open”.

His decision to quit politics entirely has saddened many Labour MPs and it will be seen as a severe blow to the right of the party.

Ed insisted he was “delighted” about his brother’s new job and praised the “huge contribution” he had made to Britain and Labour over the years.

“We went through a difficult leadership contest but time has helped to heal that,” he said in a statement.

“I will miss him. But although he is moving to America, I know he will always be there to offer support and advice when I need it.

“British politics will be a poorer place without David. But his huge talents will be serving people around the world.”

Tony Blair congratulated his one-time aide on his new job and was among several to express hope that he would one day return to the British political frontline.

“He is obviously a massive loss to UK politics. He was the head of my policy unit and then a truly distinguished Minister in the Government and remains one of the most capable progressive thinkers and leaders globally,” he said.

“I hope and believe this is time out not time over.”

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Welfare Reforms ‘Will Make Benefits Fairer’

Welfare Reforms ‘Will Make Benefits Fairer’

  • Posted: Apr 01, 2013
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New rules on housing benefit come into effect as the Government begins the biggest shake-up in the history of the Welfare State.

The Government is beginning the biggest shake-up in the history of the Welfare State with the introduction of a raft of reforms which it says will make the benefits system “fairer”.

Chancellor George Osborne and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith have dismissed criticism that they say makes the shake-up sound like “the beginning of the end of the world”.

From  April 2013 around 660,000 social housing tenants with a spare room began to lose an average £14 a week in what critics have dubbed a “bedroom tax”.

It is part of a package of welfare and tax changes coming into force this month and will hit poor families and the disabled particularly hard.

Mr Duncan Smith said the changes were about “getting some fairness in the system”.

Iain Duncan Smith

Iain Duncan Smith benefit changes takes affect from 1 April 2013

An overhaul to council tax benefit will see bills for an estimated 2.4 million households rise an average £138 a year, with two million paying for the first time, an anti-poverty group said. Administration of the benefit has been handed to town halls to operate, but with a 10% funding cut.

On April 6, working-age benefits and tax credits will be cut in real terms with the first of three years of maximum 1% rises – well below the present rate of inflation.

On April 8, disability living allowance begins to be replaced by the personal independence payment (Pip), which charities say will remove support from many in real need.

At the end of April, trials begin in four London boroughs of a £500-a-week cap on any household’s benefits and of the new universal credit system.

Pilots for the flagship scheme have been scaled back amid reports – denied by welfare officials – that IT problems have derailed preparations for its roll-out from October.

Labour claims the impact of the measures and other coalition policies have left the average family almost £900 a year worse off.

A coalition of churches has said vulnerable people are paying a “disproportionate price” for the Government’s austerity drive and attacked its whole approach.

Mr Osborne and Mr Duncan Smith declared: “Our changes will ensure that the welfare state offers the right help to those who need it, and is fair to those who pay for it.”

Ending what ministers call a “spare room subsidy” will try to deal with millions of people living in overcrowded conditions and millions more on waiting lists, they said.

The three-year, real-terms cut was a hard but “necessary” decision to save the taxpayer £2bn a year as part of austerity deficit-reduction measures, they wrote.

And raising the personal income tax allowance to £10,000 in two phases starting at the start of the financial year on Saturday was “the biggest tax cut in a generation”.

“What we’re doing this coming week is making welfare fairer, helping to create jobs, and making sure you can keep more of what you earn.”

Mr Duncan Smith has drawn some criticism for saying he could survive on £7.57 per day – the amount given to one benefits claimant who was interviewed by the BBC. The Work and Pensions Secretary told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme he could live on £53 a week if he “had to”.

It came after Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps faced scorn after using the fact that his own two sons shared a room in trying to justify the “common sense” spare room crackdown.

Mr Shapps made a state: “It is wrong to leave people out in the cold with effectively no roof over their heads because the taxpayer is paying for rooms which aren’t in use.

“It’s just a common-sense reform which in the end will help house more people. People share rooms quite commonly – my boys share a room.”

“The problem is the debate over welfare has become so politically charged, emotional even, that some Labour MPs are saying it is not appropriate for Mr Shapps, who is a millionaire, to compare themselves with people on low paid jobs for instance,” she said.

Labour declared that local council tax had enought one and two bedroom properties to house only one in 20 of those families with spare rooms.

Responses from 37 authorities across Britain revealed 96,041 households faced losing benefit but there were only 3,688 smaller homes available.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne said: “These shocking new figures reveal the big lie behind this Government’s cruel bedroom tax.

“They say it’s not a tax but 96% of people have nowhere to move to. In the same week that millionaires get a huge tax cut, hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people will be hit by a vicious tax they can’t escape.

“This wicked bedroom tax is going to rip neighbour from neighbour, force vulnerable people to food banks and loan sharks, and end up costing Britain more than it saves as tenants are forced to go homeless or move into the expensive private rented sector.”

:: Changes to the way NHS budgets are controlled are also being introduced from April 1, with the controversial health reforms seeing responsibility for commissioning care transferred from primary care trusts to groups made up of doctors and other clinicians.

And the legal aid system is also being overhauled, with the number of people who qualify cut by 75% and areas including custody battles, divorce and employment law affected.

Benefit changes from 1 April 2013 information


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Benefit changes From 1 April 2013

Benefit changes From 1 April 2013

  • Posted: Apr 01, 2013
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Benefit changes

Some changes to benefits have already been made, but further changes are coming. You could be affected by changes being made under the Welfare Reform act.

New benefit rules will apply from 1 April 2013.

Access to London hopes offer the most accurate information possible, when becomes available.

Here are some of the main changes being introduced to Britain’s welfare and tax system from 1 April 2013:

Benefits cap

From April 2013, there will be a limit on the amount of benefit a household can get. This is called the benefit cap and some people will get less benefit than before.

Under-occupancy/bedroom tax

Tenants under-occupying social housing will have their Housing Benefit payments reduced if the home is considered to be too large for the household’s needs.

Council tax support

From 1 April 2013 the Council Tax Support (CTS) scheme will replace Council Tax Benefit (CTB). This is a local scheme that helps people with no or low income to pay their council tax.

Universal Credit

Unless you are retired or unable to work all your benefits will be replaced by Universal Credit from October 2013.

Read full story about benefit changes from the 1 April 2013


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Immigration PM Talks Tough On Social Housing

Immigration PM Talks Tough On Social Housing

  • Posted: Mar 25, 2013
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Immigrants will not be entitled to social housing for up to five years as part of David Cameron’s plans to reduce net immigration.

Immigrant families will be kept off council house waiting lists for up to five years under a crackdown being unveiled by Prime Minister David Cameron.

He is to set out a tougher approach on housing and benefits in a keynote speech today – promising to tackle the culture of “something for nothing”.

Councils are concerned that only half of local residents are taking the  residency tests for social housing.

Mr Cameron announced today that Britain become a “soft touch” for immigrations under Labour.

Local authorities will have to introduce minimum residency times of between two and five years for joining waiting lists – or justify why they are not.

The Prime Minister is likely to cite figures in his speech showing that nearly one in 10 new social lettings go to foreign nationals. The proportion has risen from 6.5% in 2007-08 to 9% in 2011-12.

The harder line will please the Tory right, who have blamed the lack of action in such core areas for the party’s dismal third place behind UKIP in the Eastleigh by-election.

Concerns are coming when restrictions are loosened at the end of this year when an influx from Bulgaria and Romania is rising.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg performed a U-turn last week by abandoning the Liberal Democrats’ controversial “earned citizenship” policy, which would allow illegal immigrants to stay once they have been in the country for more than 10 years.

He said such an amnesty now risked “undermining public confidence”.

Under the new rules, ministers will take steps to ensure British nationals are protected when they move for “genuine reasons” – such as work or family breakdown – by ensuring local authorities retain the ability to set exceptions.

Such protection is already legally in force for members of the Armed Forces.

Mr Cameron is also expected to use his speech to reiterate his commitment to reduce net immigration.

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Budget 2013 Statement

Budget 2013 Statement

  • Posted: Mar 20, 2013
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Budget 2013 Statement to the House of Commons by the Rt Hon George Osborne, MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Mr Deputy Speaker, this is a Budget for people who aspire to work hard and get on.

It’s a Budget for people who realise there are no easy answers to problems built up over many years.

Just the painstaking work of putting right what went so badly wrong.

And together with the British people we are, slowly but surely, fixing our country’s economic problems.

We’ve now cut the deficit not by a quarter, but by a third.

We’ve helped business create not a million new jobs, but one and a quarter million new jobs.

We’ve kept interest rates at record lows.

But Mr Deputy Speaker, despite the progress we’ve made, there’s much more to do.

Today, I’m going to level with people about the difficult economic circumstances we still face and the hard decisions required to deal with them.

It is taking longer than anyone hoped, but we must hold to the right track.

And by setting free the aspirations of the nation, we will get there.

Our economic plan combines monetary activism with fiscal responsibility and supply side reform.

And today we go further on all three components of that plan: monetary, fiscal, and supply side reform.

But we also understand something else more fundamental.

Our nation is in a global race – competing alongside new centres of enterprise around the world for investment and jobs that can move anywhere.

Building a modern reformed state we can afford.

Bringing businesses to our shores with competitive taxes.

Fixing the banks.

Improving our schools, our skills, our infrastructure, and our industry.

For years people have felt that the whole system was tilted against those who did the right thing: who worked, who saved, who aspired.

These are the very people we must support if Britain is to have a prosperous future.

This is a Budget for those who aspire to own their own home; who aspire to get their first job; or start their own business;

A Budget for those who want to save for their retirement and provide for their children.

It is a Budget for our Aspiration Nation.

Mr Deputy Speaker, the forecast from the independent Office for Budget Responsibility today reminds us of the economic challenge at home and abroad.

But it also reminds us that job creation and employment remain brighter spots.

Since the Autumn Statement, the OBR has revised down again its forecast for global economic growth and sharply revised down its forecast for world trade.

Growth in the US and Japan was flat in the last quarter, while the eurozone shrank by 0.6 per cent – the largest fall since the height of the financial crisis.

The problems in Cyprus this week are further evidence that the crisis is not over, and the situation remains very worrying.

I can confirm that people sent to Cyprus to serve our country, in our military or government, will be protected in full from any tax on their deposits.

The OBR have today sharply revised down their future growth forecast for the eurozone, and expect it will remain in recession throughout this year.

In their words, the “underlying situation remains very fragile”.

I will be straight with the country: another bout of economic storms in the eurozone would hit Britain’s economic fortunes hard again.

40 per cent of all we export, we export to the eurozone.

There is a huge effort across this government to grow Britain’s trade with the fast growing parts of the world – and exports to Brazil, India and China are up almost two thirds.

UK firms now export more goods to non-EU countries than to EU countries: the first time this has happened in over two decades.

But we are still very exposed to what happens on the continent.

Indeed last year, domestic demand was actually stronger than forecast; but it was the weakness of net trade that helps account for much of the weakness in GDP.

As the OBR make clear, “the unexpectedly poor performance of exports is more than sufficient on its own to explain the shortfall”.

GDP for last year has turned out to be a little higher than the OBR forecast in December, but this year, their output forecast is reduced to 0.6 per cent growth.

Despite the recession in the eurozone, the OBR’s central forecast today is that we avoid a second quarter of negative growth here in the UK.

While less than we would like, our growth this year and next year is forecast by the IMF to be higher than France and Germany.

It is a reminder that all western nations live in very challenging economic times.

The OBR then expect the recovery to pick up to 1.8 per cent in 2014, 2.3 per cent in 2015, 2.7 per cent in 2016 and 2.8 per cent in 2017.

Crucially, jobs are being created.

Indeed, in the words of the OBR, the picture on employment “continues to surprise on the upside” in this forecast.

Mr Deputy Speaker, when we started the unavoidable task of reducing the size of the public sector workforce, some in this House expressed doubts that the private sector would be able to make up the difference.

I’m glad to report to the House, that their lack of confidence in British businesses has proved misplaced.

It is a tribute to the energy and enterprise of British companies that for every one job lost in the public sector in the last year, six jobs have been created in the private sector.

The employment rate has been growing faster than in the US and three times as fast as in Germany.

And so despite the weaker GDP, at this Budget the OBR have now revised up further their forecasts for employment.

Compared to this time last year, the OBR now expect 600,000 more jobs in 2013 – and there will be 60,000 fewer people claiming unemployment benefit.

We’ve seen more people in work than ever before – including a record number of women.

A quarter of a million fewer workless households than two years ago.

And the unemployment rate is lower than when we came to office.

Mr Deputy Speaker, the deficit continues to come down.

We have taken many tough decisions to bring that deficit down – and we will continue to do so.

The deficit has fallen from 11.2 per cent of GDP in 2009-10, to a forecast of 7.4 per cent this year.

That is a fall of a third.

It then falls further to 6.8 per cent next year, 5.9 per cent in 2014-15.

5 per cent in 2015-16.

Then 3.4 per cent the following year – reaching 2.2 per cent by 2017-18.

These numbers all exclude the transfer of the Royal Mail pension fund to the government which reduces the deficit still further for this year alone.

Borrowing then falls from £108 billion next year and falls again to £97 billion in 2014-15.

Then £87 billion in the last year of this Parliament.

Before falling again to £61 billion and £42 billion in the following two years.

And to ensure complete transparency, the OBR publish the numbers without the APF cash transfers.

They show, that on that measure too, borrowing is just forecast to fall.

We committed at the start of this Parliament to a fiscal mandate that said we would aim to balance the cyclically adjusted current budget over the following rolling five years.

I can confirm that the OBR says we are on course to meet our fiscal mandate – and meet it one year early.

However, the likelihood of meeting the supplementary debt target has deteriorated.

Public sector net debt is forecast to be 75.9 per cent of GDP this year.

79.2 per cent next year, and 82.6 per cent the year after.

85.1 per cent in 2015-16.

85.6 per cent in the year after.

Before falling to 84.8 per cent in 2017-18.

In response, there are those who would want to cut much more than we are planning to – and chase the debt target.

I said in December that I thought that with the current weak economic conditions across Europe that would be a mistake.

We’ve got a plan to cut our structural deficit.

And our country’s credibility comes from delivering that plan, not altering it with every forecast.

And that’s why interest rates remain so low.

Our judgement has since been supported by the IMF, the OECD and the Governor of the Bank of England.

I don’t propose to change that judgement three months later. Mr Deputy Speaker, I’ve also had representations at this Budget for measures that would add £33 billion a year extra to borrowing on top of the figures I’ve announced.

It’s from people who seem to think that the way to borrow less is to borrow more.

That would pose a huge risk to the stability of the British economy, threaten a sharp rise in interest rates and leave the burden of debts to our children and grandchildren.

I will not take that gamble with the future of this country.

Mr Deputy Speaker, the spending reductions we promised have been more than delivered.

Welfare reforms have been legislated for and are taking place.

And here’s a clear sign of progress: the proportion of national income spent by the state has fallen from 47.4 per cent three years ago to 43.6 per cent today; and it’s on course to reach 40.5 per cent at the end of the period.

We’ve set out the deficit plan – and we’re delivering that plan.

Taken together, the measures I will announce today are fiscally neutral overall.

Ask the British people and they’ll tell you: our problem as a country is not that we’re taxed too little but that the government spends too much.
I agree with them.

So the tax cuts in this Budget aren’t borrowed; they are paid for.

That’s our way – and it’s the only responsible way to lower taxes.

Mr Deputy Speaker, it is the central plank of our economic plan that a tough and credible fiscal policy creates the space for an active monetary policy.

Recovering from the financial crisis has exposed the shortcomings of conventional monetary tools.

We in Britain have had to innovate and develop new tools.

So have other countries.

I confirm today that the Asset Purchase Facility will remain in place for the coming year.

We are now actively considering with the Bank of England whether there are potential extensions to the successful Funding for Lending Scheme that will boost lending still further.

And we are also setting out our plans for lending from our new Business Bank.

But I want to make sure that an active monetary policy plays a full role in supporting the economy.

So I am today setting out an updated remit for the Monetary Policy Committee.

Alongside it, we’re publishing a review of the monetary policy framework.

This Budget confirms the primacy of price stability and the inflation target in Britain’s monetary policy framework.

The updated remit reaffirms the inflation target as two per cent as measured by the twelve month increase in the Consumer Prices Index.

The target will apply at all times.

But as we’ve seen over the last five years, low and stable inflation is a necessary but not sufficient condition for prosperity.

The new remit explicitly tasks the MPC with setting out clearly the tradeoffs it has made in deciding how long it will be before inflation returns to target.

To ensure a fuller communication between the Bank and the Treasury, I am changing the timing of the open letter system so that when inflation is above target, the Governor will write to me on the day the minutes of the next MPC meeting are published to allow for a more substantive exchange of views.

The new remit also recognises that the Monetary Policy Committee may need to use unconventional monetary instruments to support the economy while keeping inflation stable.

And it makes clear that the Committee may wish to issue explicit forward guidance, including using intermediate thresholds in order to influence expectations on the future path of interest rates.

For example, that is what the US Federal Reserve has now done – making a commitment to keep interest rates low while unemployment is high, provided inflation is not expected to rise too much.

This can help the economy because it gives families planning their futures, and businesses wondering whether to invest, more confidence that interest rates will stay lower for longer.

So I am asking the MPC to provide an assessment of how intermediate thresholds might work in Britain, and to give that assessment in its August 2013 Inflation Report.

That Report will be the first issued under the Governorship of Mark Carney.

Whether intermediate thresholds are used will be an operational matter for the independent MPC.

I can confirm Mervyn King and Mark Carney have both seen the new remit and they have both agreed it.

Mr Deputy Speaker, active monetary policy can only operate freely when securely anchored by credible fiscal policy.

That is the next component of our economic plan.

We have instituted new public spending controls in government.

When money is short, we make no excuses for the rigorous financial management we have run across Whitehall.

Let me be clear with the House: that is one of the reasons why we have got forecast borrowing falling in this year and next.

The traditional splurge of cash by departments at the end of the financial year, just to get the money spent, has been curtailed.

And thanks to the tough financial control of my RHF the Chief Secretary, government departments are forecast to underspend their budgets by more than £11 billion this year.

If you want to bring borrowing down, then you have to control spending – and that is what we have done.

Now we want to ensure departments have budgets that are more closely aligned to what they actually spend.

So both next year and the year after, we will reduce resource departmental expenditure limits by the equivalent to a 1 per cent reduction for most departments.

The schools and health budgets will remain protected – because our promise to our NHS is a promise we will keep.

Local government and police allocations for 2013-14 have already been set out and will not be affected.

We also deliver in this coming year on this nation’s long-standing commitment to the world’s poorest to spend 0.7 per cent of our national income on international development.

We should all take pride, as I do, in this historic achievement for our country.

As previously, the DfID budget will be adjusted to ensure we don’t spend more than 0.7 per cent.

Mr Deputy Speaker, departmental budgets have yet to be set for the year 2015-16, which starts before the end of this Parliament.

This will done in the Spending Round that will be set out on 26th June.

I said last Autumn that we would require around £10 billion of savings for that Spending Round.

I confirm today that we will instead be seeking £11.5 billion of current savings.

We’ve got to go on making difficult decisions so Britain can live within its means.

And because we make those decisions – we can get our deficit down and focus on our nation’s economic priorities.

Total Managed Expenditure for 2015-16 will be set at £745 billion.

How the savings will be achieved will be a matter for the Spending Round, but existing protections apply.

We’re also taking steps to help all departments achieve the savings required.

Together, my RHFs the Chief Secretary and the Minister for the Cabinet Office have indentified that a further £5 billion of savings in efficiency and cutting the cost of administration can be made.

This will go a huge way towards delivering the Spending Round in a way that saves money but protects services.

So too will action on pay.

The Government will extend the restraint on public sector pay for a further year by limiting increases to an average of up to 1 per cent in 2015-16.

This will apply to the civil service and workforces with Pay Review Bodies.

Local government and devolved administration budgets will be adjusted accordingly in the Spending Round.

We will also seek substantial savings from what is called progression pay.

These are the annual increases in the pay of some parts of the public sector.

I think they are difficult to justify when others in the public sector, and millions more in the private sector, have seen pay frozen or even cut.

I know that is tough but it is fair.

In difficult times with the inevitable trade off between paying people more and saving jobs, we should put jobs first.

However, there is one area of pay where we should be more generous.

Today is also the tenth anniversary of the start of the Iraq War.

The awarding of a posthumous Victoria Cross to Lance Corporal James Ashworth this week reminds us of the courage and sacrifice that all who serve in our armed forces are still making to defend our country.

We will exempt our military from changes to progression pay.

We are also accepting in full from 1st May this year the Armed Forces Pay Review Body’s recommended increase in the so-called X Factor payment made to military personnel to recognise the particular sacrifices they make.

And I can also announce that further awards from the LIBOR banking fines have gone to good military causes, with money for Combat Stress to help veterans with mental health issues and funds for Christmas boxes for all our troops on operations this year and next.

Those who have paid fines in our financial sector because they demonstrated the very worst values are paying to support those in our armed forces who demonstrate the very best of British values.

Mr Deputy Speaker,

Ultimately as a country we will not be able to spend more on the services we all value, from our NHS to our armed forces, or invest in our infrastructure, unless we go on tackling the growth of spending of welfare budgets.

The public spending framework introduced by the previous government divided government spending into two halves: fixed departmental budgets and what is called Annually Managed Expenditure.

Except in practice it was annually unmanaged expenditure – and it includes almost the entire welfare budget as well as items like debt interest and payments to the EU.

I can tell the House that according to the OBR forecast today, the European Budget deal secured by my RHF the Prime Minister has saved Britain a total of £3.5 billion.

We will now introduce a new limit on a significant proportion of Annually Managed Expenditure.

It will be set out in a way that allows the automatic stabilisers to operate – but will bring real control to areas of public spending that had been out of control.

We will set out how more detail on how this new spending limit will work at the Spending Round.

All decisions, on welfare, pay and departments are tough.

And they affect many people.

But if we didn’t take them then what is a difficult situation for them and for the whole country would be very much worse.

Mr Deputy Speaker, active monetary policy and a responsible fiscal policy are two components of our economic plan.

We also need supply side reform – to throw the full weight of our efforts behind the entrepreneurial forces in our society.

Our fundamental overhaul of the planning laws are now helping homes to be built and businesses to expand.

Our reform of schools, universities and apprenticeships is probably the single most important long-term economic policy we’re pursuing.

Our support for European free trade agreements with India, Japan and the US is a priority of our foreign policy.

And we’re building the most competitive tax system in the world.

We now need to do more.

First, we can provide the economy with the infrastructure it needs.

We’re already supporting the largest programme of investment in our railways since Victorian times – and spending more on new roads than in a generation.

We’re giving Britain the fastest broadband and mobile telephony in Europe.

And the Treasury is now writing guarantees to major projects from supporting the regeneration of the old Battersea Power Station site to building the new Power Stations of tomorrow.

We’ve switched billions of pounds from current to capital spending since the spending review.

But on existing plans, capital spending is still due to fall back in 2015-16.

I don’t think that’s sensible.

So by using our extra savings from government departments, we will boost our infrastructure plans by £3 billion a year from 2015-16.

That’s £15 billion of extra capital spending over the next decade.

Because by investing in the economic arteries of this country, we will get growth flowing to every part of it.

And public investment will now be higher on average as a percentage of our national income under our plans than it was in the whole period of the last Government.

In June, we will set out long term spending plans for that long term capital budget.

And we will use the expertise of Paul Deighton, the man who delivered the Olympics and who now serves in the Treasury, to improve the capacity of Whitehall to deliver big projects and make greater use of independent advice.

The second thing we can do to support enterprise is to give our great regional cities and other local areas much greater control over their economic destiny – and back sectors that are global successes.

Private sector employment has been growing more quickly in the North East, North West and Yorkshire than across the country as a whole.

But we can do more.

So I accept Michael Heseltine’s excellent idea of a single competitive pot of funding for local enterprise.

I also fully endorse the report of Doug Richard to make the most our apprenticeships.

We have the second largest aerospace industry in the world.

For the first time in forty years we manufacture for export more cars than we import.

Our agritech business is at the global cutting edge.

We’re backing international successes like these with £1.6 billion of long-term funding for the industrial strategy the Business Secretary launched this week.

And today we build on our new tax reliefs coming in this year for the creative industries like high-end television and animation with new support for our world-class visual effects sector.

To help small firms, we’ll increase by fivefold the value of government procurement budgets spent through the Small Business Research Initiative.

We will fund the proposal to make growth vouchers available to small firms seeking advice on how to expand.

And we’re putting new controls on what regulators can charge, and giving the Pensions Regulator a new requirement to have a regard for the growth prospects of employers.

Mr Deputy Speaker, a vital sector for our economy, and a cost of doing business for everyone, is energy.

Creating a low carbon economy should be done in a way that creates jobs rather than costing them.

The granting of planning permission yesterday at Hinkley Point was a major step forward for new nuclear.

Today, with the help of my HF the Energy Minister, we also announce our intention to take two major carbon capture and storage projects to the next stage of development.

We’ll support the manufacture of ultra low emission vehicles in Britain with new tax incentives.

The HM for Stoke on Trent Central has argued passionately and in a non-partisan way about the damage energy costs are doing to his city’s famous ceramics industry – and he’s persuaded me.

So we will exempt from next year the industrial processes for that industry and some others from the Climate Change Levy.

And in the Spending Round we will provide support for energy intensive industries beyond 2015.

For the North Sea we will this year sign contracts for future decommissioning relief, the expectation of which is already increasing investment there.

But I also want Britain to tap into new sources of low cost energy like shale gas.

So I am introducing a generous new tax regime, including a shale gas field allowance, to promote early investment.

And by the summer, new planning guidance will be available alongside specific proposals to allow local communities to benefit.

Shale gas is part of the future.

And we will make it happen.

Mr Deputy Speaker, we can help companies grow and succeed by building infrastructure, backing local enterprise and supporting successful sectors.

But nothing beats having the most competitive business tax system of any major economy in the world.

That is what this government set out to achieve.

That is what we’re delivering.

The accountants KPMG do a survey of investors that ranks the most competitive tax regimes in the world.

Three years ago, we were near the bottom of that table.

Now we’re at the top.

But in this global race, we cannot stand still.

So today, we step up the pace.

Our Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme offers generous incentives to investors in start ups.

My HF for Braintree and David Young have done a great job helping promote it around the country.

They have asked me to extend the CGT holiday – and I will.

Employee ownership helps create an enterprise culture.

So we’re making our new employee shareholder status more generous, with NICs and income tax relief.

And we’re introducing capital gains tax relief for sales of businesses to their employees.

Companies that look after their employees, and help them return to work after periods of sickness, will get new help through the tax system too.

And we’re going to double to £10,000 the size of the loans that employers can offer tax free to pay for items such as season tickets for commuters.

This is a great idea from my HF for Witham, and I’m happy to put it into practice.

My HR for Enfield North and others have put forward proposals to help investment in social enterprises.

I have listened and we will introduce a new tax relief to encourage private investment in these social enterprises.

Research and development is absolutely central to Britain’s economic future.

So today I’m increasing the rate of the above the line R & D credit to 10 per cent.

Along with our new 10 per cent corporation tax rate on profits from patents coming in next month, this will help make us one of the most internationally attractive places to innovate.

I also want Britain to be the place where people raise money and invest.

Financial services are about much more than banking.

In places like Edinburgh and London, we have a world beating asset management industry.

But they are losing business to other places in Europe.

We act now with a package of measures to reverse this decline – and we will abolish the schedule 19 tax which is only payable by UK domiciled funds.

Many medium sized firms and start-ups use the Alternative Investment Market to raise funds to help them grow.

Many observers of the British tax system complain that it has long biased debt financing over equity investment.

So today I am abolishing altogether stamp duty on shares traded on growth markets such as AIM.

In parts of Europe they’re introducing a financial transaction tax.

Here in Britain we’re getting rid of one.

From April next year, this will directly benefit hundreds of medium-sized UK firms, lowering their cost of capital and supporting jobs and growth across the UK.

Mr Deputy Speaker, we also out compete the world with our headline rate of corporation tax.

In Germany, the corporate tax rate is 29 per cent.

In France it is 33 per cent.

In the United States its 40 per cent.

Here in Britain we’ve cut corporation tax from the 28 per cent we inherited to 21 per cent next year.

But I want to go further.

Today, I want us to send a message to anyone who wants to invest here, to create jobs here, that Britain is open for business.

So in April 2015 we will reduce the main rate of corporation tax by another 1 per cent.

Britain will have a 20 per cent rate of corporation tax – the lowest business tax of any major economy in the world.

That’s a tax cut for jobs and growth.

We will have achieved in one Parliament in these difficult times the largest reduction in the burden of corporation tax in our nation’s history.

And with it we will achieve major simplification of our business tax system.

By merging the small company and main rates at 20p, we will abolish the complex marginal relief calculations between them, and give Britain a single rate of corporation tax for the first time since 1973.

As with previous reductions in the corporate tax rate, I do not intend to pass the benefit onto to the banking sector – so I will offset this reduction by increasing the Bank Levy rate next year to 0.142 per cent.

Mr Deputy Speaker,

Britain is moving to low and competitive taxes.

But we should insist people and business pay those taxes, not aggressively avoid them or evade them.

That’s the right way to succeed in the global race.

Today, I am unveiling one of the largest ever packages of tax avoidance and evasion measures presented at a Budget.

The details are set out in this Red Book.

They include agreements with the Isle of Man, Guernsey, and Jersey to bring in over a billion pounds of unpaid taxes.

New rules to stop the abuse of partnership rules, corporate tax losses and offshore employment intermediaries.

That’s another two billion pounds.

This year we’re giving Britain its first ever General Anti-Abuse Rule.

And we will name and shame the promoters of tax avoidance scheme.

My message to those who make a living advising other people how aggressively to avoid their taxes is this:

This Government is not going to let you get away with it.

And this year, we are leading international action on tax avoidance, through our Presidency of the G8, with the OECD and at the G20.

We want the global rules governing the taxation of multinational firms to be updated from the 1920s when they were first written, and made relevant to the global internet economy of the twenty first century.

This is the right and fair thing to do.

Mr Deputy Speaker, a tax system where people and businesses pay what is expected of them is part of the glue that holds society together.

So too is the expectation that those who work hard, who play by the rules, who save for their future and try to be independent of the state are not undermined but supported.

So to the working parents struggling with the costs of childcare, and the mother wondering whether it makes financial sense to get a job, we offer this:

Tax free childcare.

The plans were set out yesterday.

New tax-free childcare vouchers for working families: 20 per cent off the first £6,000 of your childcare costs for each child.

And increased childcare support for those low income working families on universal credit.

And for those who aspire to put aside money for their retirement: we offer this.

A simple, flat rate pension accessible to everyone and worth £144 a week.

Any one pound you save, will be a pound you can keep.

We’re bringing forward the introduction of the new Single Tier Pension to 2016.

It will help the low paid, the self-employed and millions of women most of all.

Of course, if there’s no longer the old state second pension, there’s no longer anything to contract out of.

For employers that means paying the same employer national insurance as those without defined benefit schemes.

Private sector employers can adjust their pension benefits to accommodate the extra cost;

Public sector employers will have to absorb the burden, as is always the case with tax changes.

Any spending review in the next Parliament will, of course, take the £3.3 billion cost into account.

As we have already made clear, public sector employees, and the relatively small number of private sector employees in defined benefit schemes, will from 2016 pay more national insurance then they do today.

So they will pay the same rate of national insurance as the rest of the working population, and in return, they will get a larger state pension than before.

For example, someone who is 40 years old when the single tier pension is introduced, and who has always been contracted out, will pay an extra £6,000 in national insurance over the rest of their working life – and in return get an extra £24,000 in state pension over the course of their retirement.

That’s a fair deal.

And it’s a progressive pension reform.

We’ve also made clear before that the extra £1.6 billion raised in employee national insurance will not be kept by the Treasury.

Mr Deputy Speaker, there’s another group of savers I want to talk about today.

I am proud to be part of a government that has helped compensate the policy holders of Equitable Life who had suffered a great injustice.

But we’ve not extended help to those who bought their With Profits Annuity before 1992.

Now we can.

I’d like to acknowledge the work of my HF for Harrow East on behalf of these people.

We will make ex-gratia payments of £5,000 to those elderly policyholders; and we’ll make an extra £5,000 available to those on the lowest incomes who are on pension credit.

We’re not doing this because we’re legally obliged to; we’re doing it because quite simply it’s the right thing to do.

Helping with aspiration also means helping those who want to keep their homes instead of having to sell it to pay for the costs of social care.

That’s what our new cap will deliver – as Andrew Dilnot recommended.

It’ll also come in in 2016.

It will be set to protect savings above £72,000, and we’ll raise the threshold for the means test on residential care from just over £23,000 to £118,000 that year too.

For decades politicians have talked of doing something for savers and those who have to sell their homes to pay for care; and yet nothing has been done.

Until this week.

And I want to do much more.

For unless we fire up the aspirations of the British people, light the fires of ambition within our nation, we are going to be out-smarted, out-competed and out-performed by others in the world who are prepared to work harder for success than we are.

So this Budget makes a new offer to the aspiration nation.

And what symbolises that more than the desire to own your own home.

Today I can announce Help to Buy.

The deposits demanded for a mortgage these days have put home ownership beyond the great majority who cannot turn to their parents for a contribution.

That’s not just a blow to the most human of aspirations – it’s set back social mobility and it’s been hard for the construction industry.

This Budget proposes to put that right – and put it right in a dramatic way.

Help to Buy has two components.

First, we’re going to commit £3.5 billion of capital spending over the next three years to shared equity loans.

From the beginning of next month, we will offer an equity loan worth up to 20 per cent of the value of a new build home – to anyone looking to move up the housing ladder.

You put down a five per cent deposit from your savings, and the government will loan you a further 20 per cent.

The loan is interest free for the first five years.

It is repaid when the home is sold.

Previous help was only available to those who were first time buyers, and who had family incomes below £60,000.

Now help is available to all buyers of newly built homes on all incomes.

Available to anyone looking to get on or move up the housing ladder.

The only constraint will be that the home can’t be worth more than £600,000 – but this covers well over 90 per cent of all homes.

It’s a great deal for homebuyers.

It’s a great support for home builders.

And because it’s a financial transaction, with the taxpayer making an investment and getting a return, it won’t hit our deficit.

The second part of Help to Buy is even bolder – and has not been seen before in this country.

We’re going to help families who want a mortgage for any home they’re buying, old or new, but who cannot begin to afford the kind of deposits being demanded today.

We will offer a new Mortgage Guarantee.

This will be available to lenders to help them provide more mortgages to people who can’t afford a big deposit.

These guaranteed mortgages will be available to all homeowners, subject to the usual checks on responsible lending.

Using the government’s balance sheet to back these higher loan to value mortgages will dramatically increase their availability.

We’ve worked with some of the biggest mortgage lenders to get this right.

And we’re offering guarantees sufficient to support £130 billion of mortgages.

It will be available from start of 2014 – and run for three years.

And a future Government would need the agreement of the Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee if they wanted to extend it.

Help to Buy is a dramatic intervention to get our housing market moving:

For newly built housing, Government will put up a fifth of the cost.

And for anyone who can afford a mortgage but can’t afford a big deposit, our Mortgage Guarantee will help you buy your own home.

That is a good use of this Government’s fiscal credibility.

In the Budget Book, we also set out more plans for housing:

– Plans to build 15,000 more affordable homes

– Plans to increase fivefold the funds available for building for Rent

– And plans to extend the Right to Buy so more tenants can buy their own home.

Mr Deputy Speaker,

People also have the aspiration to keep more of what they earn.

That’s a difficult aspiration for any Chancellor to help with – when economic times are tough and money is short.

But we’re doing the hard work to reduce current spending.

We’ve set out a tough package to raise money from tax avoiders.

And that means that with this Budget we can stick to the path of deficit reduction, increase capital spending, and still find ways to help families.

Let me turn to duties.

We inherited a fuel duty escalator that would have seen above inflation increases in every year of this Parliament.

We abolished the escalator and we’ve now frozen fuel duty for two years.

This has not easy.

The government has forgone £6 billion in revenues to date.

But oil prices have risen again.

Families budgets are squeezed.

And I hear those who want me to do more to help them get by.

My HF for Harlow has again spoken up for his hard working constituents.

He’s been joined by many other HFs, like the Member for Argyll and Bute.

We’ve all listened to the people we represent.

Today, I am cancelling this September’s fuel duty increase altogether.

Petrol will now be 13 pence per litre cheaper than if we had not acted over these last two years to freeze fuel duty.

For a Vauxhall Astra or a Ford Focus that’s £7 less every time you fill up.

Mr Deputy Speaker, there’s another duty escalator – the annual two percent above inflation increases in alcohol.

We’re looking at plans to stop the biggest discounts of cheap alcohol at retailers.

But responsible drinkers – and our pubs – should not pay the price for the problems caused by others.

The sad fact is that we’ve lost 10,000 pubs in the UK over the last decade.

Many HM’s have raised their concerns with me like my HF for Bristol North West.

My HF for Burton and Uttoxeter in particular has been a committed champion of the famous brewing industry that employs many of his constituents.

I intend to maintain the planned rise for all alcohol duties – with the exception of beer.

We will now scrap the beer duty escalator altogether.

And instead of the 3p rise in beer duty tax planned for this year I am cancelling it altogether.

That’s the freeze people have been campaigning for.

But I’m going to go one step further and I am going to cut beer duty by 1p.

We’re taking a penny off a pint.

The cut will take effect this Sunday night and I expect it to be passed on in full to customers.

All other duties will remain as previously announced.

Mr Deputy Speaker,

Of course, freezing petrol duty and cutting beer duty will not transform the finances of any family.

But it helps a little to have some bills that aren’t going up.

And it helps a lot to be able to keep more of the money you earn before you pay tax on it.

This Government supports people who work hard and want to get on.

When we came to office, the personal income tax allowance stood at under six and a half thousand pounds.

In two weeks time, the allowance will reach £9,440 with the single largest cash increase in its history.

24 million taxpayers will see their income tax bill cut by an extra £200.

Over 2 million of the lowest paid will be taken out of tax altogether.

In this Budget, the Government reconfirms its commitment to raising the personal allowance to £10,000.

In fact, we go one better.

Mr Deputy Speaker, we said we would raise the personal allowance to £10,000 by the end of the Parliament.

Today I can confirm we will get there next year.

From 2014, there will be no income tax at all on the first £10,000 of your salary.

£10,000 of tax free earning.

That’s £700 less in tax for working families than when this Government came to office.

Almost three million more of the lowest paid will pay no income tax at all.

It’s a historic achievement for this government and for hard working families across the country.

Mr Deputy Speaker, there is one final tax change I want to tell the House about.

And it’s about jobs.

For in the end, aspiration is about living in a country where people can get jobs and fulfil their dreams.

The ending of contracting out that I talked about generates extra employee national insurance revenues for the Exchequer.

I want to put those revenues to good use.

I want to support jobs and the small businesses that create them.

And I want to do it with a reforming tax cut – in fact it’s the largest tax cut in the Budget.

The cost of employing people is a burden on small firms.

And it is a real barrier to taking an extra person on.

To help create jobs and back small businesses in this country I am today creating the Employment Allowance.

The Employment Allowance will work by taking the first two thousand pounds off the employer National Insurance bill of every company.

It’s a tax off jobs.

It’s worth up to £2,000 to every business in the country.

And it will mean that 450,000 small businesses – one third of all employers in the country – will pay no jobs tax at all.

For the person who’s set up their own business, and is thinking about taking on their first employee – a huge barrier will be removed.

They can hire someone on £22,000, or four people on the minimum wage, and pay no jobs tax.

98 per cent of the benefit of this new Employment Allowance will go to SMEs.

It will become available in April next year once the legislation is passed.

And we’ll also make it available to charities and community sports clubs.

Today this Government is taking tax off jobs.

Mr Deputy Speaker, a new Employment Allowance.

A 20 per cent rate of Corporation Tax.

A £10,000 Personal Allowance.

Major achievements delivered by this Government in difficult times.

We understand that the way to restore our economic prosperity is to energise the aspirations of the British people.

If you want to own your own home;

If you want help with your childcare bills;

If you want to start your own business;

Or give someone a job;

If you want to save for your retirement;

And leave your home to your children;

If you want to work hard and get on;

we are on your side.

This is a Budget that doesn’t duck our nation’s problems.

It confronts them head on.

It is a Budget for an aspiration nation.

It is a Budget for a Britain that wants to be prosperous, solvent and free.

And I commend it to the House.

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‘Mummy Tax’ Benefit Changes Criticised

‘Mummy Tax’ Benefit Changes Criticised

  • Posted: Mar 10, 2013
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The PM is accused of unfairly targeting new mothers, while the Archbishop of Canterbury says children will “pay” for benefit cuts.

The new Archbishop of Canterbury has chosen Mother’s Day to give a warning to the Government over planned cuts to welfare.

Justin Welby it is one of 43 bishops who have written an open letter condemning changes to the benefit system.

He warned that “children and families will pay the price” if the plans go ahead in their current form.

The Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill will cap benefit rises at 1% a year until 2016.

Ian Duncan Smith, work and pensions Secretary stated this is a fairer deal for taxpayers and it is going to bring the situation under control.

But the archbishop, who will be formally enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral on March 21, said the legislation would remove the protection given to families against the rising cost of living and could push 200,000 children into poverty.

His predecessor, Dr Rowan Williams, was strongly criticised for expressing his views about Government policy.

Faith and communities minister Baroness Warsi told Sky’s Dermot Murnaghan: “The Government takes seriously the concerns the church raises.

“But we are in very difficult circumstances and we have to make some tough decisions. And at a time when people’s incomes are frozen and not going up in line with inflation, it is also right that we look at the possibility of freezing benefits.”

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister had a Mother’s Day card received to his door by campaigners for new mums whose benefits are about to be capped.

Labour has accused the Government of imposing a “mummy tax” and said the welfare reforms are part of a series of austerity measures which unfairly target mothers.

Shadow minister for women Yvette Cooper MP told Sky News: “It’s like David Cameron and George Osborne have a blindspot about women because they’re paying three times more than men in tax and benefit and pay and pension changes.

“That is so unfair when women earn less and own less than men.

“It shows that the Prime Minister and the Chancellor just don’t get it and it’s outrageous that new mums are hurt hardest.”

Around 340,000 women claim either statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance every year.

Until now their benefits have gone up in line with inflation, which currently stands at 2.7%, according to the Consumer Price Index.

But from next month new mothers’ benefits will go up by just 1% every year as part of a three-year cap on welfare increases.

So by 2015 critics have calculated the benefits will be effectively cut by £180 because they will not increase by as much as the cost of living will.

Schools minister, Liberal Democrat David Laws MP, defended the planned welfare reforms and said the Coalition had tried to help those on lower incomes.

He told Murnaghan: “We’ve had a public sector pay freeze. We’ve also had a 1% cap in the future on public sector pay. So we’ve have had to take difficult decisions not just for some of those on lower incomes but for everybody in society.

“And actually we’ve tried to help some of those on lower incomes by raising the tax free personal allowance and also exempting some of the lowest paid public sector workers from the effects of the pay freeze.”

A spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “In difficult economic times we’ve protected the incomes of pensioners and disabled people, and most working age benefits will continue to increase 1%.

“This was a tough decision but it’s one that will help keep the welfare bill sustainable in the longer term. By raising the personal allowance threshold, we’ve lifted two million people out of tax altogether, clearly benefiting people on a low income.”

Single mum-to-be Helen Mockridge has one clear suggestion for a better way to reduce the deficit.”Taxing really rich people, obviously, that’s where the money should come from,” she said.

“For me it’s a real no-brainer and it makes me really angry that certain parts of society are very, very wealthy and the gap between rich and poor is getting bigger.

“That’s where the money should be coming from, not from single mothers or the disabled or any other vulnerable group.”

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