The 2012 Budget - As Revealed In Leaks To The Press Days Beforehand

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What has Osborne got in his red-box? We already know most of it...
What has Osborne got in his red-box? We already know most of it...

On the week before the Budget, ministers who have been involved in deciding it normally go into a state of "purdah" and not say anything in advance about it. The post-war chancellor Hugh Dalton had to resign after innocently telling a journalist details of the Budget he was about to announce, as he walked to the chamber.

This Budget, though, seems quite different to those of recent years. Leaks have brazenly appeared in the national newspapers, with no attempt by ministers to distance themselves from them.

The 'Quad' nature of drawing up coalition budgets is being blamed. The final details are being hammered out by George Osborne and David Cameron - alongside Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, also a Lib Dem.

With two parties wrangling over the details, more special advisers and other staff are involved than under a single-party government. It magnifies the potential for leaks considerably.

So it seems we already have a good picture of what will be announced.

In good news for Tories and well-off business owners, the 50p tax rate looks set to be scrapped.

George Osborne will shy away from an outright abolition of the tax rate, settling for a compromise level of 45p for those earning over £150,000. After a year, the level will be on course to return to 40p.

The LibDems seem to be resigned to the end of the 50p tax rate. Deputy leader Simon Hughes said that the rate's existence is not of "central" importance to his party, adding that he would be happy as long as the rich paid more.

So the Chancellor will have a few moves to appease his coalition partners. Osborne has already pledged an "aggressive" move to clamp down on tax avoidance, particularly to "come down like a ton of bricks" on those who avoid stamp duty.

It is said that the LibDems are also seeking reassurances on international aid, with a continued commitment to a 0.7% GDP being spent on it. The signs look positive for this with Louise Mensch writing this morning in support of the move.

The "squeezed middle" will benefit as well, due to a tax receipt windfall. Osborne will certainly accelerate the move to raise the income tax threshold, pushing it nearer £10,000.

The well-off will have further pressure put on them as the Chancellor will increase the annual charge on non-domiciled residents from £30,000 to £50,000. However, the £50,000 rate was also mooted last year but failed to materialise.

The government looks set to push ahead with a plan to privatise the Royal Mail. The Government will take on all the assets of the pension fund, along with its liabilities and will handle the postal workers' pensions for decades to come.

The Chancellor will also make it easier to build on countryside, with reforms to planning legislation. Osborne said he was "deeply frustrated" with the slow planning process and ready to "shake-up" the rules.

Laws for restricted trading hours on Sundays will be relaxed for shopkeepers across Britain. In a bid to further boost the economy, emergency legislation will be passed to ensure shops can stay open longer.

The Chancellor will also take up an idea, originally proposed by Ben Gummer, to give taxpayers a break-down of what their money is being spent on.

Finally, Osborne should have some good news to pull out. Reports suggest that he'll boast of borrowing next year falling below £100bn for the first time since the economic crisis. We can expect the Chancellor to boast of a rosier growth outlook, along with falling inflation.

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