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5 things to expect when George Osborne announces today's Budget in the UK

With 49 days to go before the general election, this will be an important Budget for the coalition government.

George Osborne
George Osborne
Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images

WITH 49 DAYS to go until the general election, today’s Budget announcement in the UK is being seen as an important moment for the coalition government.

Important – but not all that revolutionary.

Finance Minister George Osborne has repeatedly warned that there will be “no giveaways, no gimmicks” ahead of the vote on 7 May, with the Conservatives and Labour tied neck and neck in opinion polls.

With just hours to go before he unveils his sixth Budget at 12.30pm, here are a few things you can expect to see.

1. Osborne is playing the long game

Osborne has repeatedly said that this Budget will be about nailing down a recovery plan for the British economy, appealing to voters to stick to what they know when it comes to running the country.

“This is a budget for the long term,” he told the BBC at the weekend.

Budget 2014 Source: EMPICS Entertainment

The coalition government implemented severe austerity cutbacks since coming to power in May 2010. Proponents argue that it has helped to fuel a solid economic recovery for the country, while critics, including Labour leader Ed Miliband, have argued that the economy has been damaged, poor people have been badly affected, and inequality has increased.

Osborne is likely going to use today to continue his cautious macroeconomic approach, asking voters to focus on what’s gone right during the coalition’s time in power and to trust him.

2. He’s copying Ireland when it comes to looking after older voters

shutterstock_155217680 Source: Shutterstock/Ruslan Guzov

It’s long been a canny election ploy in this country to appeal to older voters, who turn out in higher numbers to vote on election day. It seems likely that George Osborne will be aping this today with perks for these voters, including allowing pensioners to swap their regular fixed annual payments for cash lump sums.There is also speculation that higher tax reliefs on pensions might be introduced.

3. Osborne is taking on multi-national companies

This is one that could have ramifications for Ireland. It’s likely that one of the major announcements today will be a so-called ‘Google tax’ on companies that shift their profits overseas and avoid paying tax in Britain. This is likely to be coupled with more powers for the revenue service (HMRC) to combat tax avoidance.

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Cameron and Osborne visit to Leeds Source: Nigel Roddis/PA

4. He’s not forgetting about the much-neglected parts of the country

The north of England has often been something of an afterthought for consecutive government, with high unemployment and a distinct lack of investment across many parts of the country. Osborne is expected to flesh out plans today to boost investment in transport infrastructure, particularly in northern England, in a bid to encourage business and provide better links for the people who live there.

5. He’s still focusing on the base though

The Conservatives have reportedly put together a plan which will allow some parents to leave homes worth up to £1 million (€1.3 million to their children without paying inheritance tax, according to The Guardian.

Housing stock Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

The scheme would be of most benefit to the wealthiest fifth of households. A similar scheme was blocked by the Liberal Democrats last year, but seems likely to be revived by Osborne as a crowd please for the Tory base.

Additional reporting by AFP

Read: UK finance minister George Osborne makes a hames of kid’s question: “What’s 7 times 8?” > 

About the author:

Christine Bohan

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