Budget: Additional funding of £120m for Northern Ireland, £350m for Scotland, £200m for Wales
The Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced an additional £120million for the incoming Northern Ireland Executive.
As part of his Spring budget he announced an additional £350m and £200m Scotland.
It is the Conservative's minister last Spring budget. He will instead deliver a budget only in the autumn.
Setting out his plans for the UK economy in his debut Budget Mr Hammond said it would "build the foundations of a stronger, fairer, more global Britain".
He acknowledged there was "no room for complacency" despite the buoyant growth figures and improved forecasts for the public finances. The OBR forecasts borrowing in 2016-17 to be £16.4 billion lower than expected in November, at £51.7 billion. By 2021-22 the deficit is forecast to have shrunk to £16.8 billion.
Main Budget announcements
- Additional funding of £350 million for the Scottish government, £200 million for the Welsh government and almost £120 million for the incoming Northern Ireland Executive.
- New measures to protect consumers from unexpected fees, ahead of a green paper on protecting the interests of consumers.
- Government' to increase thresholds for income tax to £12,500 for basic rate and £50,000 for the higher rate by the end of this Parliament.
- No change to previously planned upratings of duties on alcohol and tobacco, but a new minimum excise duty is introduced on cigarettes based on a packed price of £7.35.
- Vehicle excise duty rates for hauliers and the HGV Road User Levy frozen for another year.
- Soft drinks levy to be imposed at 18p and 24p per litre for the main and higher bands.
- Tax free dividend allowance to be reduced from £5,000 to £2,000 from April 2018.
- The main rate of class 4 National Insurance contributions to increase by 1% to 10% in April 2018 and 11% in April 2019, raising £145 million a year by 2021/22 at an average cost of 60p a week to those affected.
- Tough new financial penalty for professionals who enable tax avoidance arrangements that are later defeated by HM Revenue and Customs.
- Clampdown totalling £820 million on tax avoidance to include action to stop businesses converting capital losses into trading losses, tackle abuse of foreign pensions schemes and introduce UK VAT on roaming telecoms services outside the EU.
- A package totalling £435 million will assist businesses affected by business rate rises, including £1,000 discount for most pubs.
- Introduction of quarterly reporting to be delayed by one year for businesses with turnover below the VAT registration threshold, costing the Treasury £280 million.
Weird and wonderful facts about UK Budget
The course of a true Budget never did run smooth. Here are some of the weird and wonderful facts about Budgets which have been delivered every year - sometimes more than once a year - for more than two centuries.
- The word comes from the French "bougette", a little bag, which explains why the Chancellor "opens" his Budget.
- The scarlet briefcase was made for Gladstone in 1860 and was used by every Chancellor since, until James Callaghan (the only Chancellor to have worked for the Inland Revenue) who in 1965 and 1966 used a "vulgar brown valise" bearing the monogram EIIR. That, too, was abandoned and the Tories returned to the original. But Gordon Brown had a new Budget bag made by young craftsmen.
- Gladstone, who served a record 12 years as Chancellor, was said to hug the bag to his breast "with a kind of affectionate yearning suggesting the love of a mother for an infant". But more likely it was to keep the Budget secrets from the prying eyes of Queen Victoria.
- When Norman Lamont was Chancellor in the early 1990s, the bag which was waved at photographers outside No 11 contained a bottle of whisky, while the speech itself was carried in a plastic bag by his then aide, William Hague. "It would have been a major disaster if the bag had fallen open," Mr Hague later said.
- The longest Budget speech was four hours 45 minutes by Gladstone in 1853, during which he was fortified by a potent mix of egg and sherry. The previous year Disraeli spoke for almost the same length of time, a speech delivered under the influence of milk.
- Only one Chancellor has failed to deliver a Budget, Tory Iain Macleod, who died in 1970 shortly after his appointment.
- Parliamentary reporter Sir Alexander Mackintosh sat through 60 Budgets, from 1881 to 1941. He sighed after that ordeal: "Speeches get shorter as figures get bigger."
- The vast George Ward Hunt arrived at the Commons in 1869 and opened the Budget box to find, to his consternation, that he had left his speech at home. Hunt, at 21 stone, was the largest Chancellor on record. Disraeli had to reassure Queen Victoria that "he has the sagacity of the elephant as well as its form". Unfortunately he did not have the memory of an elephant on that terrible day: he lasted six months in the job.
- Nigel Lawson had two mishaps during his period as Chancellor. One Budget was suspended because of uproar after the Scottish Nationalists intervened. On another occasion, Lawson stopped in his tracks mid-sentence: this time his staff had put the pages in the wrong order.
- And Lloyd George's voice ran out of steam after the first three-and-a-half hours of his 1909 People's Budget, arguably the most unpopular Budget speech in history. He was allowed 30 minutes to refresh his dulcet Welsh vocal cords. In the first instance this Budget was thrown out by the Lords, after having endured 549 divisions which occupied 90 hours of voting time.
- Derick Heathcoat-Amory collapsed in 1960 while delivering a Budget. But he was responsible for one of the best Budget one-liners: "There are three things not worth running for - a bus, a woman or a new economic panacea. If you wait a bit, another one will come along."
- Hugh Dalton, just after the war, leaked key parts of his 1947 Budget to one John Carvel, a reporter on the old London evening paper, The Star. But the Chancellor underestimated the speed at which newspapers work. News of a penny on a pint of beer and a tax on dog racing appeared in the paper before Dalton had reached that point in his speech. He resigned the following day, with prime minister Clement Attlee calling him "a perfect ass".
- Jimmy Thomas, a member of a pre-war Cabinet, was playing golf with a City man, Sir Alfred Butt, who was also a Tory MP. With a wink, Thomas said: "Tee up!" The City man took the hint and insured himself at Lloyd's against an increase in the tax on tea. He collected. But Thomas paid the price and resigned from the Baldwin government and subsequently from the Commons. It also ended Sir Alfred's political career.
- Kenneth Clarke's final Budget in November 1996 was leaked almost in its entirety, on the eve of its presentation, to the Daily Mirror newspaper. The Mirror refused to publish the contents, conscientiously returning it to the Treasury.
- John Major's one and only Budget in 1990 was the first to be televised live.
- Sir Geoffrey Howe, Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1979-1983, named his dog Budget.
- In his 1953 Budget Chancellor RA Butler announced that the sugar ration would be increased from 10oz to 12oz a week to help the nation make celebratory cakes for the Queen's Coronation that year.
- What some of them drank while delivering Budgets: Winston Churchill was a brandy man, while Hugh Dalton relied on milk and rum. Selwyn Lloyd supped whisky and water, while Hugh Gaitskell relied on orange juice with a dash of rum.
- But Rab Butler, Harold Macmillan, and Peter Thorneycroft, all Tories, made do with water from the tap.
- A Chancellor delivering his Budget is the only MP allowed to take alcohol in the chamber.
- Longest-serving chancellor was Gladstone - for more than 12 years in various terms of office between 1852 and 1882.
Belfast Telegraph Digital