UK & World News
Budget: George Osborne Leaves Downing Street
George Osborne has left Downing Street with his Budget, which he vows will help people "work hard and get on".
The Chancellor showed off his red box on the steps of Number 11 before heading across to Parliament.
Earlier he joined Twitter and posted a picture of himself apparently putting the finishing touches to his speech.
He wrote: "Today I'll present a Budget that tackles the economy's problems head on helping those who want to work hard & get on."
The financial statement comes as Mr Osborne is under intense pressure over the lack of growth and his own dwindling popularity.
He was dealt a fresh blow this morning as new figures showed unemployment rose 7,000 between November and January - the first rise in the jobless rate for a year.
Meanwhile, public sector workers have mounted a 24-hour strike to coincide with Budget day as they continue a bitter row over pay, pensions and working conditions.
Mr Osborne's statement at lunchtime will have the twin aims of trying to rescue the British economy and the political fortunes of the Conservative Party.
He will announce a raft of measures he hopes will not only kick-start economic growth but also reverse a Tory slump that began with his Budget a year ago.
Many Tories blame 2012's "omnishambles" statement containing a series of blunders that required embarrassing U-turns for the collapse in the party's support.
Further questions have been raised about the Chancellor since Britain lost its AAA credit rating and slipped into a double dip recession, with the risk of a triple drip still alive.
Labour leader Ed Miliband warned on Wednesday that Britain did not want "more of the same". "What we don't need is him saying I'm going to stick to my failed plan," he said.
But despite lower growth forecasts and a rise in borrowing set to be confirmed in the statement, Mr Osborne is expected to insist there can be no shift from austerity.
He has already promised help for pensioners, working couples and homebuyers but will also need to tackle fuel duty and encourage businesses to invest to avoid another onslaught from critics.
On tax, the Chancellor is tipped to help the low paid by accelerating raising the income tax threshold to £10,000, a move championed by the Tories'†Lib Dem Coalition partners.
And after the furore in the Conservative Party over gay marriage, the Chancellor may boost the married couples' allowance to cheer up disgruntled Tory backbenchers.
A cut in corporation tax from 21p to 20p would also delight business leaders.
Mr Osborne is also expected to agree to unlock £4.8bn in child trust funds and allow parents to transfer their investments into more generous Junior ISAs. This move could leave some children up to £34,000 richer.
And he will announce that thousands of elderly people who lost up to half of their life savings when Equitable Life came close to collapse a decade ago will receive compensation.
But in a bleak message to MPs and voters on the state of the economy, there will be no U-turn on spending cuts or unfunded tax cuts and some grim economic forecasts.
Mr Osborne has defied calls from Lib Dem Cabinet colleague Vince Cable and former Tory defence secretary Liam Fox to change course and abandon his so-called "Plan A".
Warning that economic recovery would be a slow process, he said: "There is no easy answer to Britain's problems. There is no miracle cure, because of course if there was a miracle cure it would have been deployed."
Most government departments have in fact been ordered to cut another 2% from their budgets over the next two years so that the money can be spent on capital projects.
Health, schools, overseas aid and HM Revenue and Customs will be shielded from the latest round of savings, which will give a £2.5bn capital boost.
The Budget comes as a new poll confirmed Mr Osborne's unpopularity.
The survey suggested that more than four out of 10 voters (44%) think he should be sacked as Chancellor.
Fewer than one in five (18%) of those questioned said Mr Osborne should keep his job, while 38% did not know.
Favourite to replace him is Mr Cable, favoured by 12%, followed by Foreign Secretary William Hague (5%) and Home Secretary Theresa May (3%).
what do you think?
It is always working couples and people with children that get the help. I have no problem with that. BUT! Where is my bit? As a single working man, where is my little bit of wonga? Or are we single people just a cash cow?
Sorry, didn't mean to vote you down there. Silly touch screen.
Bob you should be rolling in cash!!! You must be doing something wrong then, child benefit is to assist in raising a future taxpayer. They will then in future contribute to the same system that will assist you when you get old etc. Everyone is taxed and that's just life, you need to look at what you may be doing wrong rather then looking at families with children.
Neil C - 'assist you when you get old'? - you're 'aving a giraffe!
Whatever are you smiling about, you sadistic parasite?
Will never happen, this lot haven't got a clue
Neither have the other lot
You are quite right Chris. It's frightening that the obsession with ukip might let the other bunch of halfwitted incompetents in to finish the job of completely ruining this country.
This comment has been removed for violations of our Terms and Conditions.
Instead of subsidising house builders and those who took a gamble investing in a failed pension provider at THEIR risk, he should tax at top rates of income and capital gains taxes those freeloaders who own more than one property i.e. buy-to-let property collectors and second/third/fourth... home owners. These speculators are just allowed to get away with easy money, making huge profits and gains for little effort - THEY are the reason for house prices seeming to buck the trend of the economic climate, and also the reason for neighbourhoods from inner cities to charming seaside resorts to have lost all character/pleasantness with no sense of community or neighbourliness. And also for keeping house affordability right out of range of first-time buyers. The labour/liberal mansion tax would not address these sicknesses at all - that is just a jealousy tax.
I would ban buy to lets and owning multiple properties.
And what about those who are lucky enough to inherit their parents house and are struggling to sell it because it is till 1960 inside it ?? Are they also freeloaders & speculators who should be hammered?
An where do i stand in your statement iv just got divorced have to private rent from someone who owns more than 1 property or id be on the streets as i dnt have points for council housing even tho i work full time
Wow - this budget has such little substance that I can barely feel moved to leave a sarcastic comment.
Here is the typical Tory budget in a sentence. "I'm going to help my fat rich friends, and you lot are going to pay for it. "
I was watching sky news ed milaband saying that Osborne needs to change direction what struck me was just how much he looked like something out of walliice and grommet with the same mentality
Allan Booth - Staff
Pull out of Afgan ... Save BILLIONS if not trilloions.... Cut that
HAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHA !!! osbourne ,,, help people 'get on' , your having a tin bath .
Why as my comment been taken off All I said was Ed Milaband looks like something from wolice and grommet
Oops its back on now
Tory's look after those with money, Labour look after immigrants as well as those with money( champagne socialiststs who have forgotten their past), whishy washy Lib Dems are useless both in and out of government, none of the LibLabCon give a flying you know what about the British. We need something new in Westminster.
Who, ukip, greens??
And Labours alternative iS ?????? Oh yes that's right just to criticise NO PLANE NO IDEA NO CREDABLITY If they have let's hear it and tell us how labour are going to pay for it They can't the world is in a mess not just The UK
When do opposition parties do anything other than criticise, much easier too sling mud than coming up with policies, there as bad as each other.
Why would Labour want to disclose their plans to the tories and help them out of this mess so they could then claim it as their own,would you help your enemies. Anyway Labour and Vince Cable has given them enough hints.
" Labour and Vince Cable " we`d need to call in the new Pope to exorcise the country after they are finished.
I shake with fear when I read 'Favourite to replace him is Mr Cable' he is another idiot in office .. O someone help us !
" An idiot " cant you think of something which expresses horror more vividly. I am lost for words on how to agree with you enough here.
blue side. Yes, Mr Cable who sounded so knowledgeable and wise when he didn't have to actually DO anything. Now we know he hasn't a clue how to get out of this mess just like all the rest of them
I doubt that there will be anything to look forward to. A bit tinkering here, a little tweak and there loads of fancy financial jargon which the ordinary Joe in the street who will be paying for it doesn't understand. Then loads of spin & lies about the impact of these new measures followed by raucous cheers from the govt benches and howls of derision from the opposition benches. Nothing will have changed and the circus moves on. What an irrelevant farce
Well i can only see myself worse off after today. Id love to come back tomorrow and say I was wrong but id not bet on it.
So we are about to hit a triple dip, businesses are going to the wall at an incredible rate, the high streets are all but down and out and our credit rating is going south, yet we have to stick to Osbourne's Plan A!!!! If he believes the above are signs his plan is working then the man is deranged. As for helping hard working people succeed, what about all the shopkeepers and self employed people he has driven to bankruptcy, the homes that have been lost, the life's work of so many trashed and workers who tried to better themselves through hard labours and who now face a lifetime trying to pay off large debts because Osbourne taxed their businesses and customers into the ground? This fool must turn around today or things will be getting much, much worse.
His plan " is " working. Google George Osborne Bilderburger and find out what it really is. All the Lib/Lab/Cons are in on it.
trouble is if you have money to spend it is very difficult to find anything made in britain to buy,does this make britain an exporter of cash £
Regardless of the contents of Gideons budget - the header photograph really does capture his perfection of the 1000 yard poshboy stare of someone completely out of their depth.