UK tax and spend plans revealed

George Osborne has cancelled next month’s planned 4p rise in fuel duty in what
he has billed his “Budget for growth”.

further 1p will be cut from pump prices at 6pm Рall paid for by a £2bn tax on
oil companies.

he did not halt planned rises in alcohol and tobacco tax – meaning 4p on a pint
of beer and 15p on wine.

chancellor was forced to downgrade his growth forecasts – prompting mockery
from Labour leader Ed Miliband.

time he comes to this House growth is downgraded,” said Mr Miliband to
cheers from Labour MPs.

Osborne’s hands were tied by last year’s spending review and his post-election
Budget, which locks Britain into spending cuts to tackle its record budget

he had to balance any giveaways with tax raising measures – including a
crackdown on tax avoidance – in what aides were calling a
“steady-as-she-goes” package.

Osborne revealed that he now expected Britain’s economy to grow at a slower
rate than previously expected this year with the Office for Budgetary Responsibility
cutting its growth forecast for 2011 from 2.1 per cent to 1.7 per cent.

he said his twin objectives were to ease the pressure on families hit by rising
prices and get the economy moving again.

Osborne’s fuel duty announcements – what he called a “Fair Fuel Stabiliser”
– went further than expected.

Labour pointed out that January’s VAT rise had already added 3p to the price of
a litre of petrol this year.

Osborne said he would not increase tax on wine and beer above what was already
announced by the previous Labour government – adding 4p to a pint of beer, 15p
to a bottle of wine and 54p to spirits.

also pledged £250m to help 10,000 first-time home buyers purchase newly built
flats and houses in England.

buyer would have to put up 5 per cent of the cost, while the government and
home builder would both put up 10 per cent the in a move aimed at boosting the
construction industry.

scheme to help out-of-work homeowners with mortgage arrears, introduced by the
previous government, will also be extended.