Mar 20 2013
Chancellor George Osborne is delivering his Budget speech to the Commons, declaring:"This is a Budget for people who aspire to work hard and get on."
Earlier, Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman said the Budget will show the Government "sticking to the course of tackling the deficit whilst continuing to support aspiration".
Mr Osborne is delivering the speech against a backdrop of gloomy economic news, with official figures this morning showing that unemployment has risen by 7,000 to 2.52 million.
He revealed that the Office for Budget Responsibility predicted the UK will avoid a second quarter of negative growth and triple dip recession.
Mr Osborne also said the Government had cut the deficit by a third and helped businesses create 1.25 million new jobs.
But, he added: "It is taking longer than anyone hoped, but we must hold to the right track."
And he described his statement as "a Budget for our aspiration nation".
The Chancellor said the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast for global economic growth has been revised down, and for world trade, revised down "sharply".
He added that the problems in Cyprus are "further evidence that the crisis is not over and the situation remains very worrying". UK military and civil service personnel in Cyprus will be "protected in full from any tax on their deposits", he said.
The OBR output forecast has been reduced to 0.6% growth, he said, with GDP growth in 2014 of 1.8%, then 2.3% in 2015, 2.7% in 2016 and 2.8% in 2017. The forecast for employment was revised up, with 600,000 more jobs expected in 2013 than this time last year.