Chancellor George Osborne used his final Budget statement of this Parliament to announce that “Britain is walking tall again”. There are many things to be positive about:
The economy grew 2.6% in 2014 – faster than any other advanced economy. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has revised up its 2015 growth forecast to 2.5% (up from 2.4% at the Autumn Statement in December 2014 and 2.3% a year ago).
Unemployment fell by 102,000 in the 3 months to January 2015 and the employment rate is 73.3% – the highest level since comparable records began in 1971. The OBR predicts that unemployment will fall from 5.7% at the end of 2014 to 5.3% this year.
Falling world food and oil prices mean that that the OBR has revised down its inflation forecast to 0.2% for 2015. Osborne confirmed that the consumer price index inflation target remains at 2%.
The Chancellor plans to use funds from bank sales, lower interest charges on government gilts and a smaller welfare bill to pay down the national debt.
Against this backdrop, the Chancellor promised a Budget that “does more to back businesses and make work pay”. However, with a general election less than 2 months away, it is not certain how many of the new measures will make it into law before the
dissolution of Parliament.
The following report summarises the announcements made by Chancellor George Osborne during the 2015 Budget on Wednesday 18 March 2015.
Download the full Budget Report 2015