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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 9 April, 2003, 13:30 GMT 14:30 UK
Budget at-a-glance


  • Beer up 1p

  • Wine up 4p a bottle

  • Cider and sparkling wine tax frozen

  • Spirits tax frozen

  • 8p on a packet of cigarettes

  • Bingo tax to be abolished on 4 August

  • Income tax stays the same

  • Inheritance tax - threshold up to 255,000

  • Stamp duty frozen and a crackdown on stamp duty tax evasion

  • Vehicle excise duty goes up by 5 on cars in May but stays on hold for lorries and motorbikes

  • Bio-ethanol duty to be cut by 20p in January 2005

  • The 1.28p a litre rise in revalorisation of fuel duties deferred until October


  • 3bn extra funds set aside for the UK military in the wake of the war with Iraq

  • An extra 330m for additional domestic counter-terrorism measures

  • Humanitarian aid in Iraq will get 240m

  • Pledge to work for the reform of the European aid budget

    The economy

  • Gordon Brown said the UK had enjoyed its longest period of sustained growth in 50 years

  • Britain had its lowest inflation for 30 years

  • Mr Brown said the target for the financial year for inflation was 2.5%

  • The growth forecast for 2003-4 is 2-2.5%

  • Fixed investment expected to grow by 4.25% to 4.75% this year

  • Domestic demand expected to grow by 3% to 3.5% this year

  • 2004-5 growth expected to rise to between 3% and 3.5%


  • 25,000 more doctors, 88,000 more nurses by 2008, funded by the National Insurance increase

  • Britain's unemployment is lower than the total in Japan and Eurozone and the lowest in the UK for a generation

    Measures to tackle unemployment

  • Jobcentres to get discretionary powers so they can adapt to the demands of their locality

  • From next April, new housing benefit rules for people taking up jobs

  • Unemployment benefit claimants to sign on weekly instead of fortnightly

  • Young offenders will be offered training while detained and jobs on release in return for good behaviour

  • Government will make 170m to help people to upgrade their skills and move up the employment ladder

  • Where there are skills shortages new measures will be introduced to attract people from abroad with the appropriate training

  • Lone parents looking for work to get an extra 20 a week to help with their job search

    Measures for business

  • Tax relief for smaller firms including 56,000 VAT tax threshold

  • Corporation tax was frozen by the chancellor

  • IT investment allowances will be extended to include a total of 3m businesses

  • A raft of regulation and redundant restrictions would be scrapped in consultation with business organisations

    Government borrowing

  • 32bn surplus forecast over the economic cycle

  • Net borrowing to be 27bn this year

  • UK within the Maastricht criteria for borrowing and an assessment for the five economic tests for euro-entry would be published in June

    Child poverty

  • Every child born from today will get a child trust fund worth 500 for the poorest children

  • Parents and grandparents will be able to contribute to the trust funds

  • The UK is on track to meet the government's target for a 25% cut in child poverty

  • Mr Brown said that economic strength and social justice were met when parents could balance work and family life


  • Pension reduction during hospital stays abolished from today

  • An extra annual payment of 100 to pensioners over 80, on top of the existing 200 winter fuel payment.

  • All single pensioners with income below 139 a week and all couples below 203 a week will benefit from new Pension Credit.

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