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You Pays Your Taxes and You Makes Your Choice on This Budget

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Ed Miliband is likely to have his face all over the newspapers tomorrow morning - unfortunately for him - sitting next to an image of Wallace as well as Gromit.

George Osborne will have caught cartoonists' imagination by linking tax incentives for the film industry to keep "Wallace and Gromit in the UK" - with the visage of the Labour leader. It's been done before in Westminster but most powerfully today.

Despite the joke, Ed Miliband made a brilliant post Budget speech taunting cabinet ministers to put their hand up if they were likely to benefit personally from the 50p income tax rate cut to 45p from April 2013. Of course most of them will.

But, then again, he had plenty of time to prepare this one. Normally opposition leaders get a copy of the Budget materials just an hour or two before the speech and are locked away cramming their response like someone preparing for a school exam.

The pre-leaking of this Budget has been so extensive because it was all about changing the political narrative - and quickly. Just a month ago the Chancellor faced headlines that he planned to attack 'middle class perks' like pensions tax relief and child benefit. Those are his voters and those he needs to attract at the next election.

On both those policies the Chancellor has tapered the pain but by last night the pre-leakage had done more than enough to change the narrative. This morning's headlines were filled with lines like "Chancellor plans to get the wealthiest to pay more". Something both the Cameroons and the Lib Dems are very happy with.

The move on Stamp Duty is the other eye catching move in this Budget. A new 7% tax on homes over £2 million and a 15% charge on those properties bought through a company. The planned 'mansion tax' may even see the light of day next year after a consultation.

Labour's former Chancellor Dennis Healey is oft misquoted as saying "tax the rich til the pips squeak". That's the kind of effect in the headlines that Osborne looked to created today. He has probably done so.

Business will be very pleased by the moves to cut Corporation Tax faster than planned to 24% from next month. The General Anti Avoidance Rule will not be welcome but was expected. I am still concerned that not enough analysis has been done here on the effect of this move on pension funds. I just hope it's not another Gordon Brown pensions tax raid.

The move to bring together National Insurance and Income tax has to be good - but it seems to have been pushed out further in time - it all felt a bit timid to me and to other commentators. And the moves on boosting infrastructure could do with more detail. I know firms who are very keen to invest in UK plc but want much more flesh on the bone on this policy.

Alongside some extra Sunday shopping over the summer, there was the Chancellor's plans to apply air passenger duty to private jets. I hear more squeezing of pips. Don't you.

Finally the Chancellor will give everyone their own personal tax statement from 2014. For most voters this might go a long way towards helping people decide whether or not today George Osborne was Robin Hood or the Sherriff of Nottingham!

If you don't plan to use your private jet - then that big boost for Wallace and Gromit might just make us all happier tomorrow morning.

Around the Web

BBC News - Budget 2012: George Osborne cuts 50p top tax rate

Budget 2012 - Telegraph