Osborne and Balls on the Budget (Audio)

R4 Today: The Chancellor has told the Today programme that pensioners are better off after this budget, saying that they are going to get “the largest increase in the basic state pension ever”.
George Osborne told the Today programme’s Evan Davis that “my focus has been on making sure this economy grows” and that changes to the tax system for pensioners “creates a much simpler system for everyone” which also saves money.
He said that pensioners tax allowance was being frozen, rather than cut.
On his own personal situation Mr Osborne said “I am not a big winner from this budget” and revealed he was not a 50p tax rate payer.
In terms of how the Budget affects young people, he said that they are trying “create a country where the young are going to have a job and a future”.
Mr Osborne maintained that they have tried to “spread the burden as fairly as possibly” and insisted that the biggest weight would be on the richest one percent with a focus on the top ten percent.
Mr Osborne said that the top rate of tax of 50p, introduced under Labour “was a con, a thing on a press release… it did not raise money”.

Meanwhile the shadow chancellor has said that the chancellor’s is “gambling” on cutting the 50p top rate of tax and called the Budget a “big failure”.
Reacting to yesterday’s announcements, Ed Balls told the Today programme’s Justin Webb that measures in this Budget have to be taken alongside new measures announced in previous budgets that are being introduced in April such as a freeze on tax credit and taking away child benefit.
He said that Labour estimated that after April a family on £20,000 would be £253 worse off than they are today, whereas taxpayers earning more than £150,000 will be better off by around £10,000.
“People knew there had to be tax rises and spending cuts, “he said, but added that the cumulative effect means that pensioners are being hit and families earning £17,000 are “massively worse off”.

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