Chancellor George Osborne has announced his budget statement to the House of Commons this afternoon saying that it is a budget for “work”.
Mr Osborne said that he was looking to cut the welfare bill by £10billion and said that he wanted to introduce new changes to the tax system to help make it simpler and easier to understand.
The Chancellor said that he was introducing a cut to the highest level of income tax as the current 50p tax rate is “damaging to the economy” and was not raising the money it was expected to. The top level will reduce to 45p in April 2013.
He also announced that plans for a new single personal allowance for pensioners and a new single-tier pension worth around £140.
On duty the Chancellor said that there would be no changes on alcohol or fuel duty. However he said that duty on tobacco would rise 5% above inflation – equivalent to 37p on a pack of cigarettes. The rise will come in from 6pm today.
Mr Osborne also announced a new gambling duty on gambling machines. Vehicle excise duty will rise in line with inflation.
The Chancellor also announced that child benefit will be removed gradually from those earning more than £50,000 and also introduced a 7% stamp duty rate on properties worth more than £2m and 15% stamp duty on £2m homes bought through a company.
He also announced that the personal tax allowance threshold will rose to £9,205 from April 2013, in announcing the measure he said that Government was aiming to rise the allowance to £10,000.
In conclusion Mr Osborne said: “This country borrowed itself into trouble and now we will work our way out.”
Ed Miliband declared it the "Robin Hood Budget" and that the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg "should be ashamed."
Miliband joked that the cabinet regards the popular television period drama Downton Abbey as a "fly-on-the-wall documentary."
Stephen Gilbert, mid-Cornwall’s Liberal Democrat MP, has said that he will oppose any move the Government makes towards regional pay for public sector workers.
While the Chancellor was on his feet delivering the Budget, which saw the Treasury submit evidence to the Pay Review Panel that is considering the introduction of regional pay, the MP tweeted from the Chamber of the House of Commons:
“Stephen Gilbert MP: doesn't think localising public sector pay is the way forward - don't want a race to bottom.”
Commenting after the Chancellor had sat down, Mr Gilbert added “The budget, overall, was a welcome package – taking millions on the lowest wages out of tax and delivering a better deal for older people in their retirements – but I can’t agree with the Chancellor on the moves towards regional public sector pay.”
“In Cornwall, and across the South West, we have lower than average salaries and higher than average housing costs, regional pay would institutionalise this problem and do nothing to tackle it. I will be doing all I can to oppose this move and stand up for hard-working public sector workers in Cornwall.”
“We must not see a race to the bottom in pay.”
Meanwhile back in the county, Ann Vandermeulen, Development Manager for the Federation of Small Businesses in Cornwall said “as a result of today’s budget, many Cornish businesses may save some hours in the week because they will be able to use a simpler cash accounting system and some will be pleased that there are moves to simplify planning rules and make them more business friendly.
"However they will all still be crying at the petrol pump. No help on fuel duty was a big disappointment to us and with a further rise due later this year, the effect of other measures to help businesses will be diluted by ignoring this elephant in the room.
"Another major issue for very small businesses is access to funds and while we are pleased to see some measures it remains to be seen whether some of our Cornish micro businesses will receive any real support .
"If the criteria for them to be able to borrow is still too risk averse then many will still be wondering who this help was for. We will be monitoring the success of the measures announced and will continue to lobby for more help for the smaller businesses in Cornwall.
"Enterprise loans for young people are however, welcome. We have lots of talented young people in Cornwall. Hopefully they will be further encouraged to stay in the county and set up their businesses here.
"Perhaps being able to boost their home economy using emerging skills and technologies whilst being able to take advantage of assistance announced today such as the R&D tax credit for small firms and further help for the digital creative sector.”