Page last updated at 08:05 GMT, Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Sammy Wilson predicts 'neutral' budget

Finance Minister Sammy Wilson
Finance Minister Sammy Wilson is not expecting a dramatic budget

Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has said he does not expect any dramatic measures from Wednesday's budget.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling is to deliver his last budget before the general election.

Mr Wilson said that he expected the financial statement to be neutral and it probably would not contain any major announcements.

"I think today we are likely to see the chancellor marking time," he said.

"He has got an election coming up on 6 May, he's not going to want to introduce very harsh medicine ahead of that election.

"I think that what we're really looking towards is the budget for whatever government there is after the election."

Stamp duty

The chancellor is expected to describe it as "a Budget to secure the recovery and invest in our industrial future".

It is thought stamp duty on house sales of up to £250,000 may be scrapped and a planned rise in petrol duty delayed.

Tory leader David Cameron says more "vision" is needed to tackle the deficit while the Lib Dems have called for specific details and openness.

New tax rises and spending cuts are unlikely to be outlined.

But Mr Darling might spell out more details of where the government expects to make £11bn of public sector efficiency savings by 2012/13.

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