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20.03.13

Osborne to tackle economy ‘head on’ – Budget 2013

The Budget will help those “who want to get on”, Chancellor George Osborne has announced. His fourth Budget today follows Prime Ministers Questions at noon.

It is expected to include 2% cuts to departmental spending to fund infrastructure projects, although there will be no extra borrowing to fund measures designed to boost growth.

Labour is urging the Government to change course. Party leader Ed Miliband said: “His economic plan is failing.”

Osborne is expected to announce government policy on minimum pricing for alcohol, following an apparent U-turn in support last week.

There could be a boost for house building, and an extension of the Government’s NewBuy scheme. Other possible announcements include the delay of a planned rise in fuel duty.

Moves towards a tax-free allowance of £10,000 will be brought forward to 2014, which the Lib Dems see as a big win, as it was originally their policy.

Speculation suggests Osborne could change the remit of the Bank of England to boost the economy, by altering the 2% inflation target mandate set for the interest rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee.

Joining Twitter today, Osborne pledged to present a Budget that “tackles the economy's problems head on helping those who want to work hard and get on”.

Civil servants are striking today in a dispute over pay, pensions and working conditions. PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “It is clear the public have lost faith in austerity and want an alternative.”

Follow @psenews for live updates on the Budget.

(Image: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

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