Key points of British austerity budget

20th March 2013, Comments 0 comments

British finance minister George Osborne delivered another austerity budget on Wednesday in a renewed bid to slash spending and curb borrowing.

Here is a list of the main points from Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne's 2013-2014 annual budget:

- Revisions to economic growth forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). He said the economy was expected to avoid sliding into a triple-dip recession in the first quarter of 2013. The forecast for gross domestic product growth was slashed to 0.6 percent for 2013 (from 1.2 percent previously). GDP will then grow by 1.8 percent in 2014 (from 2.0 percent).

- State borrowing was forecast to stand at £108 billion ($164 billion, 126 billion euros) in the year to April 2014, from a previous estimate of £99.3 billion

- The ratio of public sector net debt, as a proportion of GDP, was forecast to climb from 75.9 percent this year, and peak at 85.6 percent in 2016/2017, before dropping to 84.8 percent by 2017/2018 -- starting to fall one year later than previously expected

- Osborne will seek £11.5 billion of savings in the spending review for 2015/16. That was higher than the previously announced £10 billion, but spending on schools and health will be protected

- Public sector pay will remain capped at 1.0 percent until 2015/2016, an extension of one year

- Corporation taxation, which is levied on company profits, will be reduced from 21 percent to 20 percent in April 2015

- The lower corporate tax levels will be funded by an increase in the bank levy rate to 0.142 percent next year

- The level at which workers would begin to pay income tax was set to rise to £10,000 from next year. That is one year earlier than planned and will meet a key pledge of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government agreement

- New crackdown on taxation avoidance and evasion, aimed at bringing in £3.0 billion

- Introduction of a New Employment Allowance, which will reduce the first £2,000 from businesses' national insurance bills

- Infrastructure spending will be boosted by £3.0 billion per year from 2015/16, or a total of £15.0 billion over the next decade

- The Bank of England retains its 2.0-percent inflation target level, but remit changed to allow focus on "unconventional" measures to boost growth

- Osborne brought some cheer to beer drinkers by scrapping a duty hike blamed for closing pubs - and he went further by cutting duty on beer by one pence

© 2013 AFP

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