Chancellor set to reveal pre-election Budget

Later today, the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is set to unveil his spending and taxation plans for the Budget…

The speech, which is due to be given at 12.30pm today, will deliver “no giveaways” or “gimmicks”, according to the Chancellor George Osborne.

It is expected his speech will contain information about pension reforms, as well as a discussion on scrapping the annual paper tax return in favour of digital methods. Osborne is also expected to show favour for increasing the personal tax allowance.

The Chancellor is expected to say: “The critical choice facing the country now is this: do we return to the chaos of the past? Or do we say to the British people, let’s work through the plan that is delivering for you?

“Today we make that critical choice: we choose the future. We have a plan that is working – and this is a Budget that works for you.”

Lower-than-expected inflation and a reduction in the annual up-rating of welfare has led to a stronger economy, painting a better fiscal picture for the government.

Osborne is also expected to announce the forecast figures for the coming years from the Office for Budgetary Responsibility (OBR). Revised figures could leave the Chancellor with an extra £6bn to play with.

A study from the Institute for Fiscal Studies showed the introduction of tax and benefit changes implemented since 2010 have cost families an average of £1,127 a year.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls accused the Conservatives of “planning more extreme spending cuts after the election, which go way beyond balancing the books and will put our NHS at risk.”

Balls said if Labour wins the election his party would put working families first, take care of low earners, and slash business rates for small firms.

“And we’ll balance the books in a fair way by reversing the Tories’ tax cut for millionaires,” he added.

Business Secretary and Liberal Democrat Vince Cable warned tax increases were virtually a certainty.

He said: “In fact, after the next election, taxes are almost certainly going to have to rise.

“Obviously for people on low pay it is important we help them both through the minimum wage and lifting the tax threshold, but the scope for this is very limited.”

The Lib Dems are expected to deliver an alternative budget on Thursday.

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