George Osborne holding the Budget box outside Number 11 Downing Street earlier today. Photograph: Getty Images.
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Budget 2014: minute by minute, as it happened

A summary of George Osborne's fifth Budget.

13:28pm Osborne ends: "this is a Budget for the makers, the doers and the savers". More coverage on The Staggers shortly. 

13:26pm Osborne produces his Budget rabbit: he is abolishing the 10p tax rate for savings. He takes a swipe at Labour: "when I abolish a 10p rate I don't secretly turn it into a 20p rate". 

13:24pm There will be a new guarantee that all those who retire on defined contribution schemes will be given face-to-face advice on how to maximise their savings - Osborne calls it "Right To Advice". 

13:22pm Osborne announces a new pensioner bond (paying 2.8% for one year and 4% for two years) - to support those who have paid the price for low interest rates. 

The cap on premium bonds will be lifted from £30,000 to £40,000 this June and to £50,000 next year. 

13:20pm Here comes the Budget rabbit - and it's for savers. 

Osborne announces that cash and stock ISAs will be merged to create a single new ISA, with the annual limit increased to £15,000. 

13:18pm Osborne announces a rise in the personal allowance from £10,000 to £10,500 - lower than some expected.

13:17pm He announces a "penny off a pint for the second year running". Presumably so the poor can drink away their sorrows. 

13:15pm Osborne namechecks Robert Halfon, the MP for Harlow, as he announces that he will meet his demand for a cut in bingo duty - and halve it to 10 per cent. 

13:14pm The fuel duty rise due in September has been cancelled. Petrol is 20p cheaper per litre than it would have been under Labour's plans, Osborne adds. 

13:13pm Osborne moves on to tax. He wants to help - guess who? - "hardworking families". 

13:09pm The annual investment allowance will be doubled to £500,000 and extended until the end of 2015. This means almost every business will pay no upfront tax on investment, Osborne says. 

13:08pm He confirms that corporation tax will fall to 20% next year, from a starting level of 28% in 2010, but, unlike in previous Budgets, doesn't go any further. 

13:06pm Osborne announces that in honour of Alan Turing, the government will found the Alan Turing Institute to lead research into "big data and algorithms".

13:04pm He adds that the measures announced today will lead to 200,000 new homes. That might sound impressive, but we need 1.2 million over five years just to meet demand. 

13:03pm Osborne claims that the extension of the Help To Buy scheme until 2020 will result in the construction of 120,000 new homes. 

13:00pm The amount of finance available to exporters will be doubled to £3bn - Osborne is trying to show his commitment to a sustainable and balanced recovery.

12:53pm Osborne boasts that income inequality is "at its lowest level for 28 years". But it's important to note that it's forecast to soar as average earnings recover and benefits are slashed (see below). 

Owing to the coalition's welfare cuts, many of which only took effect last year, inequality is forecast to significantly increase between now and 2015-16. In particular, the coalition's Osborne's decision to cap benefit increases at 1 per cent for at least three years (an unprecedented real-terms cut) means the poorest will see a sharp fall in their incomes. The IFS expects inequality "to rise again from 2011–12, almost (but not quite) reaching its pre-recession level by 2015–16." 

While the Tories can take little credit for the fall in inequality (which is largely due the decline in real earnings), they will deserve the blame for the rise.

12:51pm The new cap on total welfare spending will be set at £119bn this year, Osborne announces, and a parliamentary vote will be held next week. It will rise in line with inflation from then on to £127bn in 2018-19. 

12:49pm Osborne confirms that a vote will be held on his new Charter for Budget Responsibility (to enshrine his pledge to achieve a surplus by the end of the next parliament) this autumn - his attempt to lay a deficit trap for Labour. 

12:46pm He might have made those borrowing forecasts sound impressive, but don't forget that the deficit was originally forecast to be £60bn this year, £46bn lower than the figure announced by Osborne. 

12:41pm Osborne announces the OBR's new deficit forecasts: £106bn (6.6%) this year, £95bn (5.5%) in 2014-15, £75bn (4.2%) in 2015-16, £44bn (2.4%) in 2016-17, £17bn (0.8%) in 2017-18, with a surplus of £5bn (-0.2%) in 2018-19. 

He adds that his original pledge to reduce the national debt as a proportion of GDP by 2015-16 will still be missed by a year. 

12:40pm A big boast from Osborne: the net growth in jobs has been three times faster than in any previous recovery. But the problem is how many of those are part-time. 

12:37pm Osborne announces the OBR's new growth forecasts: 2.7% this year ("the biggest upwards revision between Budgets for 30 years," he boasts), 2.3% in 2015, 2.6% in 2016. 2.6% in 2017 and 2.5% in 2018. 

12:34pm In the coming year, the deficit will be halved, says Osborne. The Darling plan, in other words. 

12:33pm Osborne is up. "The economy is continuing to recover and recovering faster than forecast," he begins. 

12:19pm PMQs will be finishing shortly and we'll have live coverage of the Budget from then. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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From Netflix to rented homes, why are we less interested in ownership?

Instead of owning things, we are renting experiences.

In 2008 the anthropologist Daniel Miller published a book based on an intimate study of 30 households on a single street in south London. The Comfort of Things ­explored the different kinds of relationships people have with what they own.

Miller described a retired couple’s house, cluttered with furniture, framed photographs and knick-knacks accumulated over decades. Down the road, a self-employed man called Malcolm had rented a flat. Malcolm preferred a spartan existence: he kept his belongings in storage, the better to travel at short notice, and conducted as much as possible of his life online. His home was his email address. His central material possession was his laptop.

Today, we are living more like the laptop warrior than the retired couple. Increasingly, our possessions are stored in the cloud or on a distant server. Just as we had grown accustomed to the idea of owning music in the form of data, we are now getting used to not owning it at all. In television, too, we stream instead of buy the latest drama series; when people use the term “box set” they are rarely referring to a box of discs on a shelf in the living room. Everything solid is melting into wifi.

Instead of owning things, we are renting experiences. The proliferation of mobile apps enables us to source or supply whatever we want, for short periods, more easily than ever before. The “sharing economy” is not about sharing, however. I encourage my three-year-old daughter to share her toys with her little brother; I don’t suggest that she charge him an hourly fee for doing so. A better name for it is the Paygo (pay-as-you-go) economy.

The Paygo economy combines two intertwined phenomena: the rise of renting and the decline of stuff. If you are in your twenties and unburdened by wealth you may already have accepted that you will always be in hock to a landlord. If you are in the market for a car, you will probably be thinking about leasing it, or joining a car club, or waiting until Google makes car ownership obsolete. There are even apps that allow you to rent a dog rather than take on the responsibility of owning one.

A world in which we own less and rent more is not necessarily one in which consumers are empowered. You never really own the electronic versions of a book or a film – you can’t lend them to a friend or sell them on – because the publisher retains its rights over them. Even our photos aren’t ours any longer: they are owned by corporations that scrape them for data that can be sold. In a recent article, the Financial Times journalist Izabella Kaminska argued that “ownership of nothing and the rental of everything represents . . . the return of an authoritarian and feudalistic society”.

The Paygo economy is changing our relationships with each other and with ourselves. Possessions form part of what the marketing academic Russell Belk calls “the extended self”. In Daniel Miller’s book, he describes how objects, however trivial, can embody relationships. Each household’s collection of stuff – tacky souvenirs, CDs we borrowed and never gave back – forms a constellation of personal significance. Post-materialism does not equate with spiritual enrichment. “Usually the closer our relationships with objects,” Miller writes, “the closer our relationships are with people.”

Human beings have a deep-seated tendency to imbue physical items with the ­essence of their owner. Hence the market for rock-star memorabilia: an old guitar that has been played by John Lennon is more valuable, and more revered, than a new replica that has not.

We apply this intuition even to money, the units of which are, by definition, interchangeable. Psychologists who study “essentialism” have found that people are less likely to recommend that stolen or lost cash be returned when it has subsequently been deposited in a bank account, as opposed to remaining in paper notes.

When things evaporate, so does ­meaning. A fetish for owning things connects to a yearning to retain a distinct identity in the face of change. Japan has been economically stagnant for decades and, as a result (and perhaps a cause), has preserved a set of idiosyncratic social norms, at odds with the rest of the developed world. One of these is a strong preference for owning music in a physical form: 85 per cent of the music bought in this technologically advanced society is on CD or vinyl. Japan is also the last developed country to rely on fax machines. A fax, unlike an email or the past, is something you can hold on to.

One way of framing the central arguments of British politics is that they are about the rights of owners versus renters – and not just in the sense of home ownership. Long-standing Labour members believe they own the party, and are outraged both by Momentum clicktivists and £3 voters. What appals many who voted Leave in the EU referendum is the thought that migrants can, in effect, rent a livelihood from the UK, treating the country as a giant Airbnb host. They want to know if this is still their country, or if they are now merely tenants of it.

Most younger voters chose Remain, but relatively few of them voted. That was a function of their lack of home ownership as much as age: millennials who rent are nearly half as likely to vote in elections as their peers who have managed to get on to the property ladder. This is partly a product of the mundane business of spending enough time in one place to get on the electoral roll, but it nonetheless suggests that renters form weaker bonds with the society in which they live.

For centuries, what we own has been an important way of placing ourselves in relation to those around us. The 18th-century curiosity cabinet was a collection of objects used to display the erudition and refinement of its owner. In the 20th century, houses became showcases. Your curtains, your car and your choice of decor said who you were or wanted to be. This was the era of what Thorstein Veblen called “conspicuous consumption”. In the Paygo economy, we will have fewer things of our own to ­display, as our possessions dematerialise and we rent more of what we need.

Despite all this, human nature has not changed: we are still apes with status anxiety, endlessly preoccupied by our position in any given hierarchy, eager for ways to convey our aspirations and allegiances. So we find other ways to signal. Rather than deploy what we own to say who we are, we use our photo streams and status updates to show it, even going so far as to arrange our meals and holidays with the aim of generating impressive on-brand content.

The vacuum of meaning opened up by the disappearance of stuff may even have increased the stridency of our political debate. One way I can let people know who I am is by loudly asserting my membership of a political tribe.

If I can’t show off my possessions, I will show off my beliefs.

Ian Leslie is the author of “Curious: the Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends on It” (Quercus)

Ian Leslie is a writer, author of CURIOUS: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It, and writer/presenter of BBC R4's Before They Were Famous.

This article first appeared in the 16 February 2017 issue of the New Statesman, The New Times