Budget 2012 in full: As it happened

Key points

  • The top income tax rate will be reduced to 45% from April next year
  • The stamp duty rate on properties worth more than £2m via companies will be raised to 15%
  • Labour leader Ed Miliband says millions of people will be paying more, while millionaires pay less
  • 300,000 people will be drawn into the 40% higher rate tax band from 2013-14
  • The point at which people start paying income tax will be raised to £9,205 from next April
  • Age-related alowances to be removed from new pensioners from 2013

Live text

Reporting:

  • Justin Parkinson 
  • Julian Joyce 

Last updated 22 March 2012

STANDARD 0933

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the 2012 Budget. Chancellor George Osborne will - even more than usual - have tax on his mind. He is expected to raised the level at which people start paying income tax, possibly to above \u00a39,000 a year. But what will he promise the highest paid?

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Reports suggest the rate on earnings above \u00a3150,000 will be reduced from 50% to 45% - but but this is not expected to kick in until next year. The political pressure is on Mr Osborne from both the Conservatives and the Lib Dems in the coalition. Will he find a balance to keep everyone happy - or at least a little less than furious?

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Other things to look out for when the chancellor stands up at around 1230GMT are a pledge to cut down on tax avoidance schemes, and changes to child benefit proposals. At the moment, the the government plans to move this from a universal benefit to one paid only to parents not paying the 40% rate of income tax. Many middle-class families are not happy. Will Mr Osborne raise this threshold - and by how much?

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The owners of homes worth more than \u00a32m - and people considering buying one - will be watching intently too. Will the chancellor increase the rate of stamp duty on such properties?

BREAKING 0938 Breaking News

The government's borrowing figures are out. Public sector net borrowing, excluding financial interventions, rose by a larger than expected \u00a315.2bn in February, up from \u00a38.9bn a year earlier.

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Government borrowing for the first 11 months of the financial year 2011/12 is now \u00a3110bn, putting the chancellor \u00a317bn away from the full-year target of \u00a3127bn

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Here's what today's papers have to say about the budget.The Times says by raising the threshold below which earnings are untaxed the chancellor is "handing 23 million lower and middle-income earners a tax cut partly paid for by a raid on the super-rich".

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The Sun focuses on fuel duty. An exclusive YouGov poll for the paper showed more than three quarters of the country said they wanted to see the chancellor "slash the crippling levy".

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The Guardian says that the Liberal Democrats have been handed a "victory" from the chancellor who will announce a rise in stamp duty "in return for his cut in the 50p tax rate".

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According to The Daily Mail, the chancellor will also confirm that the government is "overriding the objections of countryside campaigners and proceeding with the biggest reform of planning law for 60 years."