Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Article excerpt

Home In what he called a 'fiscally neutral' Budget, George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, confronted a reduced forecast of gross domestic product for 2013 from 1.2 per cent to 0.6 per cent and a further delay until 2017-18 in reducing the burden of public sector debt, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility. Most government departments would have to cut a further 2 per cent of their spending over the next two years, saving about £2.5 billion. Changes in state pensions, introduced a year earlier than expected, would save the Treasury almost £6 billion a year by 2016-17, some of it to be used for infrastructure spending. The Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee would be given a new remit beyond inflation targets and 'intermediate thresholds' countenanced. An onslaught on 'aggressive' tax avoidance was promised. Employers were offered an allowance of £2,000 from National Insurance payments. Corporation tax would come down by another 1 per cent to 20 per cent by 2015. An automatic rise in duty of beer was cancelled and beer duty reduced by 1p. A planned fuel duty increase in September was cancelled and a shale gas field allowance planned. The slight increase to £10,000 for the personal tax allowance would come into effect in 2014, a year earlier than expected.

Working parents were promised up to £1,200 a year per child towards childcare costs. Unemployment rose by 7,000 to 2.52 million between November and January. The Department for Communities predicted that 12,769 Romanians and Bulgarians would enter Britain after restrictions are lifted on 31 December. Eric Joyce, the MP for Falkirk, was 'prohibited from purchasing and being served alcoholic beverages' in Parliament after spending a night in a police cell after a brawl during at the Commons Sports and Social Club.

MPs voted for a Bill bringing in regulation of the press under a royal charter. Newspapers that did not join the new scheme would be vulnerable to exemplary damages if they were found to be at fault in future. This was all agreed upon by tripartite talks in the middle of the night and adopted by David Cameron, the Prime Minister, who had previously described statutory regulation as 'crossing the Rubicon'. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.