“If you’re a maker, a doer or a saver – this budget is for you.”
That was the opening gambit trumpeted by chancellor George Osborne at the start of this year’s budget. But did he deliver?
Here’s a few selected talking points from today’s announcement. Hold tight…
Get your thrupenny bits out
A 12-sided pound coin will be introduced to tackle counterfeiters.
Time will tell if it will or not, but it’s definitely been the biggest talking point of today’s big budget announcements – particularly as it resembles the old thrupenny bit coin.
We’ll see them phased in in over the next three years. It’ll apparently save the treasury £45m in counterfeiting – but how much will it cost to make everything which takes a pound coin accept the new one?
'Budgies’ are a thing
One of the most disturbing turn of events today was the appearance of the budget selfie – or, if you’re fond of a portmanteau, a ‘budgie’.
Here’s one from Sky News dreamboat Adam Boulton.
We can probably expect a bit more next year
There weren’t too many massive surprises in this budget – but the 2015 edition, which will have an election just around the corner, will probably be a lot spicier.
Who’s the top dog of BBC budget coverage?
They’re the two undisputed heavyweights of serious reportage – in one corner; lantern-jawed economics whizz and ‘voice of the recession’ Robert Peston. In the other; the cheeky-chappy political sage with trendy specs, Nick Robinson. And the budget is one of the biggest days in both of their respective calendars.
The two jockeyed for screen time on during the warm-up and aftermath shows. We reckon the budget day belonged to big Bobby P, whose cool gravitas saw him trot out a clear winner.
George gets his day in the sun
Last year, George Osborne got savaged by shadow chancellor Ed Balls in the budget aftermath, amid worse-than-expected growth figures.
However, this year, a slimmed-down, trendily-coiffured Osborne had reason to look even more pleased with himself than usual – unemployment is down and the UK’s economic growth is amongst the best in Europe. There’s even rumours of a leadership push.
What a difference 12 months makes.
Are those unemployment figures all they seem?
Not according to man of the people, Owen Jones. He tweeted: “Here's the real story about jobs: longest squeeze in wage packets since 1870s. An army of zero-hours and self-unemployed workers.”
Wings for bingo
You can't move for adverts for online bingo - and it's leading to the decline of the Great British bingo hall.
So, in came a 10% cut to bingo duty. Will it encourage you to get your dotter out?
Support for savers?
What with that historically low base rate, savers haven’t had the best of it over the past few years.
However, George Osborne said at the outset that this is a “budget for savers.”
Isa reform was George’s big reveal on this front - the annual limit will be increased to £15,000 tax free, as of 1 July. Junior isas will also be raised to £4,000.
Magna Carta, holy fail
George Osborne’s ‘hilarious’ zings aimed at his opposite numbers when referring to the Magna Carta fund (and the accompanying whooping from the cabinet) were pretty woeful.
When leaders opt to pepper supposedly important announcements with petty digs at the opposition – hardly a new thing, admittedly - it’s little wonder people are disenfranchised with politics.
Decent(ish) news for boozers
Like us, you could probably do with a stiff drink after all this budget fun.
Cider makers and whiskey makers had duty frozen. However, beer duty will not be frozen – it’ll be cut by 1%!