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Has Osborne leaked his whole Budget to the Sunday newspapers?

Tim Montgomerie


The Budget is still three-and-a-half days away but the Sunday newspapers are making remarkably specific predictions of what it will contain:

  • The income tax threshold was raised from £6,475 to £7,475 last year, it may go up to £8,000 on Wednesday - Sunday Express
  • "The deferral of a rise of 5p a litre in petrol duty. A rise of about 17p in the duty on a packet of 20 cigarettes. An increase of up to 3p a pint in duty on super-strength lagers, but a cut in duties on low-strength beer." - The Sunday Times (£)
  • Chancellor will use budget to create 50,000 apprenticeships - Observer
  • Osborne will announce plans to build 12 more technical colleges, offering practical skills in engineering and other vocations - The Sunday Times (£)
  • Private companies are to be given sweeping new powers to run hospitals, more schools and local council services under Budget plans to be unveiled this week - The Sunday Telegraph
  • "Wednesday's Budget will also include relief for the hard-hit motorist, help for families struggling with mortgage repayments and a £250 pay rise for some 50,000 troops earning £21,000 or less." - News of the World (£)
  • "The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that he will raise taxes on "non-doms" as he attempts to inflate Treasury coffers"
  • "Firms employing fewer than ten people will be spared any new rules for the rest of this Parliament" - Mail on Sunday
  • Osborne's income tax and NI merger plan - James Forsyth in the Mail on Sunday
  • On Thursday tax breaks for business angels, higher airport tax and a marker on ending 50p were trailed.

The Mail on Sunday even gives us its principal theme: "From rescue to reform".

These words are used in an article from the Chancellor, for the News of the World (£). He confirms that his first budget was about fiscal responsibility and his second will be about jobs and growth:

"My Budget last year was a rescue mission - to rescue Britain from the brink of bankruptcy. My Budget on Wednesday will be about reform and recovery - making sure Britain has jobs and growth for years to come... Britain has to start making things again. So this Budget will be unashamedly pro enterprise and pro jobs. We need to support small businesses, cut red tape and take on the forces of stagnation, so that our economy can create the jobs we need."

He also promises a focus on the cost of living:

"We need to help working families everywhere who are struggling with the cost of living. That's why from April I'm cutting income-tax bills for anyone earning under £35,000 and freezing council-tax bills for millions of families. The price of oil has rocketed and I know that has hit people's pockets hard when they fill up their car. I can't promise things the country can't afford, but I've listened and will do what I can to help."

We can be sure that there will be a cut in fuel duty, my big hope is that we'll also get some kind of fair fuel stabiliser.

We seem to know most of what's waiting in that famous battered budget box but I bet Mr Osborne also has one or two rabbits in his hat, too.


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