Budget vow of boost for business
George Osborne has announced a raft of measures in his Budget he said will make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business.
Many of the measures had been widely trailed but the centrepiece is another cut in the corporation tax paid by businesses - down 2% instead of the 1% previously announced. And there will be 1% falls in each of the following three years.
He confirmed a shake-up in planning rules which will make all bodies involved in planning give priority to growth and jobs.
But there is a new squeeze on so-called non-doms - wealthy entrepreneurs who have been accused of avoiding their fair share of tax using their special tax status.
The last government introduced a £30,000 charge for those who had lived here for seven years. Mr Osborne said he was increasing the charge to £50,000 for non-doms who have been in the country for 12 years, a move he said would raise over £200 million in the coming years.
As expected he set in motion plans to merge income tax and National Insurance contributions as part of a push to simplify the tax system - though he warned that the process would take several years to complete.
Mr Osborne announced funding for 21 new Enterprise Zones, with the first based in Birmingham and Solihull, Leeds, Liverpool, Greater Manchester, the Tees Valley, Tyneside, the Bristol area, the Black Country, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, and Sheffield.
He confirmed the creation of a Green Investment Bank and pledged another £2 billion of funding, on top of the £1 billion already committed.
On education he announced a doubling of the number of planned new University Technical Colleges from 12 to 24.