George Osborne, UK chancellor, today delivered his Budget Statement to Parliament, setting out how the government will take further action "to secure the recovery and build a resilient economy." He said the economy is now growing faster than predicted and expectations for growth this year and next have also been revised up by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) – to 2.7% in 2014 and 2.3% in 2015. A record number of people are in work and the OBR now expects employment to reach 31.4m by 2018. A deficit that reached 11% of GDP in 2009-10 is now forecast to fallen by half to 5.5% in the coming year and will be eradicated by 2018-19. Meanwhile, also Wednesday the Office for National Statistics reported that employment was up 105,000 from August to October 2013 and up 459,000 on the year to 30.19m for November 2013 to January 2014.
The increase in UK employment between August to October 2013 and November 2013 to January 2014 was due to more self-employed people; the number of employees fell over this period. Unemployment was down 63,000 from August to October 2013 and down 191,000 on the year to 2.33 million for November 2013 to January 2014.
Osborne said Budget 2014 will help British businesses by:
Radical measures "to help savers at all stages of their lives and to give
people greater freedom over how they access their pension savings" were
announced. The Budget "introduces the most fundamental change to the way people
access their pensions in almost a century
Fuel duty rise planned for September will not happen
£7bn package to cut energy bills, including £18 per ton cap on carbon price
support, is forecast to save medium-sized manufacturers £50,000 and families
£15 a year
“The CBI has pushed hard for this significant and much-needed energy package that will help keep manufacturing jobs in the UK, while underpinning vital investment in new energy.
“The doubling and extension of the Annual Investment Allowance, together with making the seed enterprise investment scheme permanent, will be a shot in the arm for many medium-sized businesses.
“On pensions, what’s important is that people on
low incomes can make more informed decisions on defined contribution schemes.
For many, that will still mean taking advice and buying an annuity, but the
increased flexibility will be welcomed. We are pleased that the Government has
chosen to consult on the implications of making a similar change to defined
benefit pensions as stability for these schemes is essential.
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