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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 March 2006, 14:15 GMT
At-a-glance: The Budget
Here are key points from Chancellor Gordon Brown's 10th Budget.


  • Further education would be free of charge for the first time up to the age of 25, with adult learning grants to help with the cost of living

  • Resources would be redirected from "failing" college courses to the ones which employers wanted to see

  • Mr Brown said in the long term he wanted to raise the amount of capital funds for each state school pupil to the level seen in private schools now - 8,000

  • Over five years, investment in schools would rise from 5.6bn now to 8bn a year

  • 30bn of government assets, including the Tote bookmakers', would be sold off to fund priorities like education


  • Duty on cigarettes will rise 9p

    Tax rises 4p on wine and 1p on beer in line with inflation

  • Duty on spirits, sparkling wine and cider is frozen


  • There would be 600m available to fund world-class British athletes

  • There would be an annual schools Olympics, held in a different city every year until 2012

  • There would be a new national sports foundation, with 34m from the government and other funding from private companies

  • There would be another 2m for evening sports clubs for young people in a scheme run by police, Premier League football clubs and community groups


  • Mr Brown said he rejected calls for the abolition of the climate change levy and instead would index the charge in line with inflation from 2007 to cut CO2 emissions further

  • He would propose a World Bank scheme to help developed economies to invest in new forms of energy in developing nations

  • A new 1bn energy and environmental research institute was being set up, funded by government and private industry

  • To make homes more environmentally friendly, Mr Brown promised new incentives for piloting "smart metering" and a new labelling scheme for energy efficient goods to make homes greener

  • A quarter of a million extra homes would be insulated over the next two years

  • Cars with the lowest rate of emissions would pay no vehicle excise duty but the 1% of most polluting cars would pay 210

  • Mr Brown postponed the usual annual inflation increase in fuel duty until 1 September


  • The personal tax allowance would rise from 4,895 to 5,035

  • The child element of the child tax credit to rise by 14% over the next few years

  • Child Trust Funds to get an extra 250, or 750 when the children reached seven-years-old

  • Child care vouchers to increase by 5 a week by 55


  • He said 160,000 new homes had been built in the last year

  • Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott would give details of plans for 970m for shared equity schemes to help 35,000 people get onto the housing ladder

  • The exemption on stamp duty would be raised to 125,000 and the level at which inheritance tax begins to be paid would rise to from 275,000 to 325,000


  • Mr Brown promised a comprehensive programme for recruiting and retaining staff, including signing up 3,000 science teachers and funding after-school science clubs in 250 schools.

    BUDGET 2006
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  • Productivity was growing 2.3% - higher than at any time since the 1960s - said Mr Brown

  • Mr Brown said he was extending the research and development tax credit by doubling from 250 to 500 employees the size of companies able to claim higher credit

  • There would be new summer schools for entrepreneurs

  • The first 6bn in government efficiency savings had now been made, with cuts in civil service posts, said Mr Brown


  • By April next year, the number of community support officers will more than double from 6,000 to 16,000

  • There will be free off-peak national bus travel for pensioners and disabled people from April 2008


  • Inflation was now 2% and on target and economic growth was 2.5% - again on target, said Mr Brown

  • Even with economic crises around the world, Britain's economy had proved "resilient, robust and prudent"

  • Mr Brown said in future official statistics would be published by an independent board

  • Public pay would on average rise 2.25% in the next year, showing financial discipline

  • Economic growth was 2.5% in the latest quarter and would be 2.75%-3.25% for 2007/8


  • The chancellor said he had met his "golden rule" on public borrowing and was on course for a 16bn surplus over the economic cycle ending in 2010-11

  • Net debt was now 36.4% of national income - and would rise to 38%

  • Net borrowing would be 37bn, 36bn next year, then 30bn and to 25bn, 24bn and 23bn in the years to 2010-11


  • Funds would go to a memorial for the victims of the 7 July bombings in London and 1m would go to Britons injured in terrorist attacks at home and abroad

  • There would be 200m extra given to promote international peacekeeping and an extra 800m for the armed forces


  • There were now 170,000 more people in work than there were at the time of last year's Budget

  • Mr Brown promised to double training for women with low skills and addressing pay discrimination


  • Tory leader David Cameron branded Mr Brown as a "politician stuck in the past"

  • The chancellor had failed to deliver a truly "green Budget", saying: "In a carbon conscious world, we got a fossil fuel chancellor"

  • Business investment was at a record low, said Mr Cameron and the tax burden was at its highest level ever

  • The government was borrowing 175bn over six years, said Mr Cameron, arguing: "This chancellor is mortgaging this country's future"

  • Labour MPs might see Mr Brown as the "salvation from the mess they are in this week" but he was the architect of failing policies, argued Mr Cameron

  • The Tory leader concluded: "He is an analogue politician in a digital age. He is the past"


  • Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell accused Mr Brown of complacency over the environment and of presiding over a Treasury which could not even manage its own tax credits system

  • Sir Menzies said there was no council tax rebate this year - leaving some of the most vulnerable people to suffer

  • The Budget had missed an opportunity to tackle unfair taxes, face up to the pension crisis and tackle personal debt, he added

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