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14.55: Ken Livingstone has responded to the Budget:
“George Osborne’s Tory budget a bad for London and dream come true for Tory Mayor Boris Johnson. After years of campaigning for a tax cut for the super-rich at the expense of ordinary Londoners Boris Johnson has finally got his way. The winners from today’s budget are the super-rich and their champion Tory Boris Johnson, the losers are the majority of Londoners.”
14.45: Anthony Painter is the second of our Budget responses published this afternoon. He says “The Tories have taken a political risk – but they may be forgiven”. We live in uncertain times…
14.43: Helpfully – Political Scrapbook are keeping track of all of the “Budget Nasties”. That’s a page worth bookmarking this afternoon…
14.41: Today saw one of the (regular) Miliband mix-ups (see 12.11), but David’s backing his brother. He’s just tweeted “Excellent budget response by Ed”.
14.37: How much trouble are the Tories in? We may not have to wait for the IFS response to get a full verdict – #grannytax is already trending on Twitter.
14.30: The first of our budget responses is up from Anna Turley, who asks “What have we learnt from today’s budget?”.
13.49: Miliband’s budget response comes to an end. We’ll have rapid responses from some of the Labour movement’s top writers in the next half an hour.
13.39: Miliband says this is “A millionaire’s budget that squeezes the middle”.
13.37: Miliband attacks Osborne on growth, and says the Tories are “out of touch, same old Tories”.
13.33: Miliband asks what happened to “We’re all in this together”? The Tory benches are very noisy.
13.30: Budget over – bang on an hour. And now it’s time for Ed Miliband’s response.
13.25: Putting that tax cut into context, Ed Miliband’s press team are arguing that “Osborne just gave 14,000 millionaires a tax cut of £42.5k tax cut each year”
13.20: Here we are at the top rate of income tax, cut from 50p to 45p. A tax cut for the top earners. Osborne says that the tax rate raises next to nothing. It raises next to nothing thanks to avoidance and evasion, which he claims he wants to crack down on.
13.14: Osborne says he wants more energy spent on cracking down on tax evasion and avoidance. That will be popular with many Labour supporters. However, it’s slightly undone if he cuts the top rate of tax because he believes that it is a victim of tax avoidance. Mixed signals that’s for sure…
13.07: 150,000 pensioners to be hit by a hidden Budget nasty - freezing allowances is essentially a tax rise.
13.03: Osborne going into great detail about VAT loopholes. Surely it’d be simpler to cut VAT?
13.01: We’ve hit the half hour mark here – and we’ve just had the regional pay bargaining announced. little so far that hasn’t been leaked.
12.58: Michael Heseltine has been given a new job by Osborne. Has he been listening to Chuka Umunna? Still few cheers for “Tarzan” though…
12.51: Osborne says Boris Johnson will be “exploring new river crossings in East London”. Hasn’t he just built one? Oh…
12.46: Osborne mentions Gordon Brown selling gold over a decade ago. He’s playing the old tunes of the Tory right today. Has the leadership contest started here? Incidentally, former Treasury Minister Kitty Ussher notes “Gold rises in value when other things look risky, not due to Chancellor”.
12.44: A further £10bn cut in welfare spending by 2016. Is there anything left to squeeze? Pensions look likely to be hardest hit – they make up a large proportion of “welfare”, but are rarely mentioned.
12.37: Osborne says growth has been revised up slightly for this year (by the OBR) to 0.8% – last year’s Budget predicted 2.5%.
12.35: “The trouble is nobody believes a word you are saying”, says Ed Balls, very audibly. [h/t @lobbydog]
12.32: The budget begins. Osborne confirms “lifting lowest paid out of tax” and that tax for the richest “will increase”. Lets see what the IFS have to say about that.
12.30: PMQs verdict – predictably b-reel stuff from both Cameron and Miliband today, with no-one wanting to use their ammunition before the budget. Fair enough – it’d be a waste to use anything particularly important today. The key moment was when Huw Irranca-Davies asked Cameron how much a London bus fare is. Cameron clearly had no idea, but he responded with a barb about Ken Livingstone’s tax situation. On budget day, that hurt.
12.11: Not a great start today for Ed at PMQs, when he was (again) confused with his brother by the BBC. How many more times are they going to do that?
12.07: PMQs has been completely dominated by Afghanistan so far. Will Ed go on the economy with his second set of questions though?
11.55: Over on the BBC, Lib Dem President has suggested that Lib Dems are unhappy with cutting the 50p tax rate and called this a “compromise budget”. They may struggle to face both ways on this one…
11.40: UK Uncut have organised a “dole queue” outside No.11 for Budget Day – this is how it’s looking:
11.37: It’s worth remembering that a year ago Danny Alexander said those suggesting cutting the top rate of tax were living in “cloud cuckoo land”.
11.35: While we’re waiting for PMQs and the budget to begin, here’s what has been written about the Budget on LabourList so far today:
Mark Ferguson says that Labour needs our messages to improve, or our messengers need to improve.
Jim Murphy says that Defence will be a bigger issue than usual this budget day.
11.26: Welcome to our Budget Day Liveblog, where we’ll be bringing you reaction from Westminster and across the Labour Party to George Osborne’s heavily trailed budget. We’ll also be covering today’s PMQs here – so this is the place to catch a truncated version of Mark Ferguson’s PMQs verdict.