Budget 2016 - live - Live coverage - The Independent

Budget 2016 - live

  • And as you can see from the video below, George Osborne has arrived after a very short drive at the Commons.
    3/16/2016 11:28:28 AM
  • .@David_Cameron told Cabinet: "This is a pro-enterprise, pro-infrastructure, pro-devolution #budget."
  • .@David_Cameron told Cabinet this #budget "fully lives up to what this government is all about - transformation."
  • What does the country hope to hear @George_Osborne say in #Budget2016 ?
    "I apologise"
  • We're getting some more details on what to expect from George Osborne from the daily briefing from Number 10 now.

    The Chancellor will promise action now to ensure the country does not "pay later", a grim warning about economic uncertainty that will cast its shadow over the whole Budget.

    Osborne is expected to say that, although the UK's economy is "strong", the "storm clouds are gathering again".

    Mr Osborne briefed the Cabinet on his statement, telling ministers that it delivered on the Government's manifesto commitments while making sure the UK was well-prepared to deal "turbulent times" in the global economy.

    The Prime Minister's official spokeswoman said his comments were met with the usual banging on the table - a traditional sign of approval.

    David Cameron wrapped up the meeting, saying: "This is a pro-enterprise, pro-infrastructure, pro-devolution Budget that fully lives up to what this Government is all about - transformation."
    3/16/2016 11:39:33 AM
  • Jeremy Corbyn was filmed a short while ago leaving his home, where he remained tight-lipped as usual.

    His is the toughest job in politics today - as is tradition, he and not shadow Chancellor John McDonnell will answer the Budget, having been given the most minimal preview imaginable.

    Matthew Norman has written for us on why Corbyn is doomed before he even opens his mouth.
    3/16/2016 11:42:50 AM
  • Corbyn’s post-Budget response is doomed before he starts to speak

    The IndependentAs he prepares for the scariest ordeal in domestic politics, our task is to console Jeremy Corbyn. That good and gentle man must shortly give an instant, semi-off-the-cuff response to the Budget, and he’ll need every ounce of encouragement we can feed him.
    3/16/2016 11:42:54 AM
  • Before the Budget, we have the small matter of a 30-minute session in the Commons for PMQs.

    What can we expect from the pre-Budget warm up?

    Economic issues will likely largely be left for later - but it seems inevitable that David Cameron will manage to get in a reference to the ONS figures today, showing unemployment and Jobseeker's Allowance claimant numbers down, as well as national average income slightly up.

    Jeremy Corbyn's line of questioning has been hard to predict since he became Leader of the Opposition - not least because there's no guarantee he will go in on the big issue of the day.

    It could be a fair bet that he will drill down on the Government's planned cuts to disability benefit, up to £30-per-week for some claimants.

    In the past two weeks, Mr Corbyn has focussed on the NHS and education for children after 16. What will it be this week? We're about to find out.
    3/16/2016 11:54:13 AM
  • Things to look out for at #Budget2016:
    -Academies/Longer school day.
    -Fuel duty: Freeze or rise?
    -Where £4bn axe will fall.
  • Jeremy Corbyn leaving his home a short while ago looking - perhaps - nervous?

    3/16/2016 11:56:49 AM
  • Loud cheer for George Osborne from Tory MPs as he entered chamber pre-Budget at 11.55. Sitting in usual place next to PM. Leaning forward.
  • PMQs to get under way in just a moment. We'll bring you all the key lines here.
    3/16/2016 12:00:27 PM
  • And the Prime Minister is up on his feet.
    3/16/2016 12:00:36 PM
  • First question is from Conservative Karen Lumley, getting straight in there to bring up the ONS figures, as expected.

    Cameron says employment is now at "record high", and the claimant count is down, figures "which I'm sure will be welcomed right across the house".
    3/16/2016 12:02:39 PM
  • Corbyn up second.

    He goes in on air pollution targets, because of course.

    He asks how many people will die before the government meets its targets for 2025.

    Cameron says he doesn't have the figures.

    Corbyn says half a million people will die "because of this government's failure".

    His follow up is on how much air pollution costs the economy each year.
    3/16/2016 12:03:47 PM
  • Cameron says diesel emissions are down, and says the Government is committed to having the best green record anywhere in the world.

    Air pollution costs £20bn a year, Corbyn says, and it "is killing people".

    Every day since 2012 has had an illegal level of air pollution in London, he says.

    Cameron says his government will bring in clean air zones, lower car emissions, and can do so because it has a strong economy.
    3/16/2016 12:05:25 PM
  • Strong line from Corbyn that things have "moved on quite a bit" since Cameron's cited 1956 clean air laws.

    Cameron insists the government is phasing out coal-fire power stations long ahead of other governments.

    Corbyn says if Cameron is so keen on renewal energy, why did he allow communities a veto on things like wind power on Monday.

    "Will the Prime Minister offer the same veto on fracking?" a constituent asks.
    3/16/2016 12:07:00 PM
  • The pre-Budget comments appear to have dried up. Who will send the first actual #Budget2016 comment? A nation awaits....
  • Apologies, we've had a 20 minutes outage to our live blog system. Here's what you missed:


    Angus Robertson, Westminster leader for the SNP, went in on foreign policy, asking about reports the UK will send training officers to Libya.

    Cameron says if there were any plans to do so they would be brought before the house.

    He says that Western powers, including Britain, are listening to the new government in Libya to find out what help they need.

    "If there are any plans for troop training or deployments in a conventional sense we will come to the house to discuss them," he says.

    Robertson follows up referencing Obama's recent criticism of the PM's follow-up to military action in Libya.

    He asks for a commitment from Cameron that he will come to the Commons for approval if he wants to send more troops to Libya.

    Cameron says he will give that commitment, and defends the military intervention in Libya that overthrew Gaddafi. He says it is right for Britain and other international powers to consider what they can do to stabilise the current situation there.

    ***

    Lib Dem leader Tim Farron asks that Afghan interpretors who helped Britain in the war there be "offered safe haven here".

    Mr Cameron says the coalition government agreed a scheme so those who wanted to "stay and help rebuild their country" in Afghanistan were able to do so. He suggests Mr Farron has now changed his mind on that.

    ***

    Andrea Jenkyns, Conservative, asks a difficult question about a constituent harmed by the NHS who died because of poor care.

    Cameron says other "walks of life" have a zero-accident policy, and work is being done to try and apply this to the NHS.
    3/16/2016 12:31:55 PM
  • Our political editor Oliver Wright has this update on the challenges that Osborne faces today.
    The real challenge for George Osborne and his team in
    preparing this budget hasn't been the speech itself - or indeed calculating how it will be received in the immediate aftermath.
    It's been about making sure it doesn't unravel in the weeks and months ahead.

    Specifically no one in Number 10 or 11 Downing Street
    wants another tax credits fiasco or a pasty tax 'omnishambles' that have befallen this Chancellor at other budget outings in recent years.

    With the EU Referendum three months away everyone on the
    'remain' side of Government is acutely aware that if this budget unravels it would be a gift to the Brexiteers.
    Not only that but voters have long had a tendency to punish unpopular governments in referendums - even if the question on the ballot paper is completely unconnected.

    So the pressure will be on to minimise the risk - stress
    test the policy proposals - and hope that nothing has been missed.

    To use a terrible metaphor - they need to make sure any
    rabbits pulled from the hat don't have myxomatosis. 

    We'll just have to wait and see if he succeeds.


    3/16/2016 12:33:52 PM
  • Osborne has just stepped up. He said the deficit is down by two-thirds and on course for a budget surplus - not everyone would agree with that.

    3/16/2016 12:35:28 PM
  • Cocktail of risks? That's the rum, whisky, vodka one, ain't it? #Budget2016
  • Osborne said the British economy is growing - but it's growing slower than he expected it to.

    He said that Britain is not immune to cycles of boom and bust, and that the UK must choose to put stability first.

    In this budget, we choose to put the next generation first. We choose lower taxes on business, he said.
    3/16/2016 12:37:17 PM
  • *ping* press release arrives. Oh it's for "last-minute offers for the Easter holiday" #timing
  • Osborne said he wants to make sure working people can keep more of the money they earn.
    3/16/2016 12:38:11 PM
  • Global growth outlook "materially weaker" according to OBR #Budget2016
  • Like pretty much every other parliamentary democracy. twitter.com/xtophercook/st…
  • Major downgrades to UK GDP growth forecast by OBR over next five years #budget2016 http://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cdq5azHXIAAN_kq.jpg

  • Significant downgrades in GDP growth rates over next five years from OBR #Budget2016 http://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cdq5rKuWoAAHXKO.jpg

  • Why is Osborne boasting about debt? He has "dealt with the debt" in the way that George Best dealt with the drink http://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cdq5gy_W0AAK8f6.jpg

  • Osborne has given a warning on Brexit, using the OBR’s statements
    to say that there’s a consensus that a vote to leave would result in
    uncertainty.



    “The house knows my view,” Osborne says. “The UK will be
    safer in the EU.

    3/16/2016 12:44:35 PM
  • ...fact GDP growth not revised up in later years of Parliament in response to near term downgrade reflects downgrade in potential GDP growth
  • Osborne is celebrating his jobs figures from this morning, which show the lowest number of people out of work since 1974.
    3/16/2016 12:45:37 PM
  • Growth revised down, productivity revised down, wage growth and revenues certain to follow. This is the long-term economic plan? #Budget2016
  • Inflation is expected to be lower. Osborne has said the target inflation rate is still 2%.

    "In this budget we act now so we don't pay later," he says.
    3/16/2016 12:47:05 PM
  • Osborne said that he's about to publish a report that shows that without Conservative policies, public borrowing would have spiralled. "We would have been one of the worst prepared economies," he says.



    "The security of Britain relies on it spending within its means," Osborne says.
    3/16/2016 12:48:29 PM
  • Additional spending cuts by 2019-20 confirmed by Osborne at £3.5bn (slightly less than widespread £4bn assumption) #budget2016
  • Osborne is spending a lot of time defending his policies of cutting public spending. He said the aim is to save £3.5bn before 2020.
    3/16/2016 12:50:35 PM
  • Second mention of the Budget for the next generation.

    "We will not burden our children and grandchildren," Osborne says.

    3/16/2016 12:52:01 PM
  • Budget for the next generation? Now got this earworm from the B52s... youtube.com/watch?v=VvCng7…
  • Osborne is talking about his forecasts for the deficit. He said sustained action means the deficit will be just 2.9 per cent of GDP next year. 

    There has been concern that we would lose our surplus, he says. But because they have acted, the surplus will rise. 

    Sound the next generation klaxon. "We put the next generation first," Osborne says. That's three times.
    3/16/2016 12:54:45 PM
  • Judging by my timeline Osborne is fooling basically nobody by citing cash-terms figures to disguise missing his debt target #budget2016
  • Osborne still on course to hit main fiscal mandate target of budget surplus in 2019-20 #budget2016 : http://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cdq8kP2XEAANkfA.jpg

  • Osborne repeats Country must live within its means yet is complacent about unprecedented levels of household debt #Budget2016
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