Chancellor sets out Budget for 2008

Following Prime Minister’s Questions , Labour Chancellor, Alistair Darling put forward his proposals for taxation and spending for the coming year. Mr. Darling set out  infront of a packed House of Commons, a budget which has been developed from core Labour values. The principles of fairness, opportunity for all and strength, it was a budget designed to keep the UK economy competitive while the rest of the world faces a recession.

The Chancellor announced that the economy was projected to grow , which will be the 11th successive year of Economic growth under Labour. This is in stark contrast with the Conservative’s record, by their 11th year in government they had presided over a recssion, interest rates hitting 15% anf Unemployment at record levels.

Hard working families have seen the benefits of a Labour government over the past 11 years and will continue to do so. The Chancellor set out plans to support hartd working families across the UK.  Budget 2008 will:

• increase the first child rate of Child Benefit to £20 a week from April 2009, reinforcing Labour’s commitment to Child Benefit as the foundation of financial support for all families;

• disregard Child Benefit in calculating income for Housing and Council Tax Benefit from October 2009, improving work incentives for many of the lowest paid families and boosting their incomes. A working family with one child on the lowest incomes will gain up to £17 a week from this change; and

• increase the child element of the Child Tax Credit by £50 a year from April 2009 to further help low to middle income families.

Mr Darling also continued Labour’s record of delivering a fair deal for pensiones, Budget 2008 states that:

• on top of the Winter Fuel Payment, an additional one-off payment of £100 to over-80s households and £50 to over-60s households benefiting around 9 million households.

• further action, with energy companies to help vulnerable groups deal with rising energy prices;

None of this would be possible without the stability and resilience of the economy, thanks to the tough decisions taken by Labour over the last ten years.

Ending child povertyLifting 600,000 children out of poverty has been one of the proudest achievements for this Labour Government but it is measured against the tough challenge we have set; abolishing child poverty by 2020 and halving it by 2010.

To do that, Budget 2008 announces measures that will make significant further progress:

•    disregarding Child Benefit in calculating income for Housing and Council Tax Benefit from October 2009, improving work incentives for many of the lowest paid families and boosting their incomes. A working family with one child on the lowest incomes will gain up to £17 a week from this change;

•    increasing the first child rate of Child Benefit to £20 a week from April 2009, reinforcing Labour’s commitment to Child Benefit as the foundation of financial support for all families;

•    increasing the child element of the Child Tax Credit by £50 a year from April 2009 to further help low to middle income families;

•    on top of this Labour will invest over £125m over the next three years across the UK to draw on new ideas to tackle child poverty in the next decade

Tackling climate change is one of the most significant long-term challenges the world faces. Budget 2008 sets the foundation for:

• building a global deal to tackle climate change;
• building a low carbon Britain.

It sets a long term target of 80% emissions reductions within an international agreement, consistent with the Government’s objectives for long term sustainable economic growth. Meeting these long-term targets will require us to make deep reductions in emissions across the economy.

The UK is currently working towards a long-term goal of reducing emissions of CO2 by 60 per cent by 2050. The Government announces today that it is ready to move to a long-term target of 80 per cent as part of an international agreement.

The Conservatives had little to mention and could only criticise the way it was delivered. Tory leader David Cameron MP said that the budget was “Boring and reminded him of someone reading from a phone book”, this shows that the Conservatives after 11 years of opposition have still not found the economic competance to form a government and should be kept well away from recreating the mysery they caused between 1979 and 1997.

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