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BBC TwoNewsnight
Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 March 2006, 17:49 GMT
Wednesday, 22 March, 2006
From Robbie Gibb
Programme Producer, BBC Newsnight

Gordon Brown on Budget day
Presented by Jeremy Paxman

Budget

We dedicate the bulk of tonight's programme to unpacking and analysing today's Budget.

Predictably Gordon Brown's speech contained a string of positive assessments of the economy which were duly contradicted by David Cameron.

The main proposals in the Budget are a shake-up of road tax - the least polluting cars will pay no Vehicle Excise Duty while motorists who drive high carbon emission cars will have to pay 210.

Duty on spirits, cider and champagne was frozen while tax on wine and beer is to rise in line with inflation.

The Chancellor's most eye catching announcement was on education - committing the government to increasing the level of investment in state schools to match the amount of money spent in the private sector.

Stephanie Flanders will be looking at the small print to find the real story of the Budget - the bits Gordon didn't want to talk about.

That's the economics of the budget but the biggest story of the day is the political one - the first parliamentary battle between Brown and Cameron.

With the help of our GorDaq political panel, David Grossman asks who won round one and our political editor Martha Kearney will assess the wider political context of the speech.

NHS

Also, despite the NHS facing large budget deficits, the Chancellor's speech didn't make a single reference to the health service. We have exclusive new research which shows that more hospitals are shedding staff to make the sums add up.

Israel

And away from domestic politics, we look at one of the toughest issues that has faced Israel since its foundation in the 1940s - its shortage of water.

Now the Israelis believe they may be close to solving the problem with the help of some of the most advanced water technologies in the world. However, in a region where many commentators believe the next war could well be about water, can large scale desalination really be the answer?



SEE ALSO:
Brown hails 'Budget for schools'
22 Mar 06 |  UK Politics
Cameron attacks 'past it' Brown
22 Mar 06 |  UK Politics



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