George Osborne delivered his final Budget this parliament. Photo: Getty
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What was announced in the Budget 2015?

George Osborne announced his final Budget of this parliament. What was in it?

Read the New Statesman team's analysis of the Chancellor's last Budget before the election:


And here's what George Osborne announced:

ISA and a slice

New fully flexible ISAs, giving you complete freedom to take money out, and put it back in later in the year, without losing any tax-free entitlement.

A Help to Buy ISA: for every £200 first-time buyers save for their deposit, the government will top it up with £50 more.


Personal savings allowance

A move coming in next April for the first £1,000 of interest earned on savings to be tax-free – it would apparently take 95 per cent of taxpayers out of savings tax altogether.


Income tax allowance rise

The income tax threshold will go up to £10,800 in 2016 and then to £11,000 in 2017.

The threshold at which people start paying the top rate of tax will rise above inflation to £43,300 by 2017/18. This is the first time in seven years this hasn’t just risen with inflation.


The road back from Wigan Pier

George Osborne, clearly trying to rebuff Labour’s attack that Tory cuts would take us back to Thirties spending levels, changed his tune. He announced that the public spending squeeze projected in his Autumn Statement last year will end a year early.

This would see national income as a percentage of GDP reach the same level as 2000, rather than the Thirties; Osborne’s target for a surplus has gone down from £23bn by 2020 to £5-7bn.


Give and take for pensioners

The government is to reduce from £1.25m to £1m the lifetime pension allowance that tax relief can be claimed on.

Pensioners will be allowed their annuities, without having to pay punitive tax charges of at least 55 per cent.

Allow police and firefighter widows to remarry without facing a pension penalty.


Google tax

Osborne claimed that all the new measures against tax avoidance and evasion will raise £3.1bn over the forecast period. He also announced a review into deeds of variation as an inheritance tax loophole.


Reducing national debt

The Chancellor announced new OBR statistics suggesting that national debt as a proportion of GDP is falling this year, a year earlier than predicted.

He said the “central judgement of this Budget” is that resources from the bank sales, lower interest payments, and lower welfare bills will be used to pay down the national debt.


Growth is up

The Chancellor announced that the OBR has revised up its forecast for GDP growth this year, from 2.4 per cent to 2.5 per cent.


Energy expenditure

Cuts in taxes on the North Sea oil industry, which amount to £1.3bn.

“Giving more power to Wales”: the government is working on a Cardiff city deal and opening negotiations on the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon subsidy levels.


Student support

Additional financial support, following Autumn Statement announcement for postgraduates, for PhDs and research-based Masters degrees. Loans up to £25,000 will be available for them.


Confirming Lib Dem mental health reforms

Funding for a major expansion of mental health services for children and those suffering from maternal mental illness.


100 per cent business rate growth to be kept for Manchester Combined, Cambridge and surrounding councils. Other councils are welcome to approach the Treasury to secure a similar deal.


Out with the tax returns

Online tax accounts will be launched, ending the use of paper tax returns.


A new pound

A 12-sided pound coin is unveiled, to avoid counterfeit. It has a prominent thistle on it.


Trumpeting creative funding

New tax credit for orchestras.

More generous TV and film tax credits.

Expansion of support for the video games industry.

A new horse race betting right to support British racing.

A consultation into tax support for local papers.


The Internet of Things

Investing in the “information revolution”, connecting up everything from urban transport to medical devices to household appliances.


Drinks on me!

Cutting beer duty by 1p.

Cider duty down by 2 per cent.

Scotch whisky and spirits down by 2 per cent.

Wine duty frozen.


But don’t drink and drive

Cancelling the fuel duty increase scheduled for September.



A new rail franchise for the southwest, with £7bn of investment in roads and air links.

Expanding broadband vouchers to more cities, committing to a national ambition to 100 megabits per second to nearly all homes.

Confirming first twenty housing zones, and creating eight enterprise zones.


Charity fundraiser

Libor fines will contribute a further £75m to charities for the armed services, including a memorial for Afghanistan veterans. There will also be £1m put aside to celebrate the 600th anniversary of Agincourt. £25m will be provided to help the UK’s eldest veterans, including nuclear test veterans.

Charities will be able to claim automatic Gift Aid on the first £8,000 of small donations, up from £5,000.


A call to farms

Farmers will be allowed to average out their income over five years for tax purposes.


Fixing the roof

Trebling funding for church roof appeals.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.

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It's Gary Lineker 1, the Sun 0

The football hero has found himself at the heart of a Twitter storm over the refugee children debate.

The Mole wonders what sort of topsy-turvy universe we now live in where Gary Lineker is suddenly being called a “political activist” by a Conservative MP? Our favourite big-eared football pundit has found himself in a war of words with the Sun newspaper after wading into the controversy over the age of the refugee children granted entry into Britain from Calais.

Pictures published earlier this week in the right-wing press prompted speculation over the migrants' “true age”, and a Tory MP even went as far as suggesting that these children should have their age verified by dental X-rays. All of which leaves your poor Mole with a deeply furrowed brow. But luckily the British Dental Association was on hand to condemn the idea as unethical, inaccurate and inappropriate. Phew. Thank God for dentists.

Back to old Big Ears, sorry, Saint Gary, who on Wednesday tweeted his outrage over the Murdoch-owned newspaper’s scaremongering coverage of the story. He smacked down the ex-English Defence League leader, Tommy Robinson, in a single tweet, calling him a “racist idiot”, and went on to defend his right to express his opinions freely on his feed.

The Sun hit back in traditional form, calling for Lineker to be ousted from his job as host of the BBC’s Match of the Day. The headline they chose? “Out on his ears”, of course, referring to the sporting hero’s most notable assets. In the article, the tabloid lays into Lineker, branding him a “leftie luvvie” and “jug-eared”. The article attacked him for describing those querying the age of the young migrants as “hideously racist” and suggested he had breached BBC guidelines on impartiality.

All of which has prompted calls for a boycott of the Sun and an outpouring of support for Lineker on Twitter. His fellow football hero Stan Collymore waded in, tweeting that he was on “Team Lineker”. Leading the charge against the Murdoch-owned title was the close ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and former Channel 4 News economics editor, Paul Mason, who tweeted:

Lineker, who is not accustomed to finding himself at the centre of such highly politicised arguments on social media, responded with typical good humour, saying he had received a bit of a “spanking”.

All of which leaves the Mole with renewed respect for Lineker and an uncharacteristic desire to watch this weekend’s Match of the Day to see if any trace of his new activist persona might surface.


I'm a mole, innit.