BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 March 2008, 14:06 GMT
Darling defends 'bad news' Budget

Here are the key points from Chancellor Alistair Darling's 2008 Budget:



Most computers will open this document automatically, but you may need Adobe Reader

• Cigarettes up 11p a packet of 20 from 1800 GMT; five cigars up 4p.

• Beer up by 4p a pint, wine 14p a bottle, spirits 55p a bottle and cider 3p a litre by Sunday.

• Duties on alcohol will go up by 2% above inflation in each of the next four years.


• From 2009, major reform of the vehicle excise duty. For new cars from 2010, the lowest-polluting cars will pay no road tax in the first year, with the highest-polluting cars paying 950.

• Funding set aside for road-pricing proposals.

• 2p increase in fuel duty is postponed until October this year.

• For environmental reasons, fuel duty will rise by 0.5p per litre in real terms in 2010.


• From April, key workers, such as teachers and nurses, will be able to borrow money from shared equity schemes.

• Stamp duty on shared ownership homes will not be required until people own 80% of their home.

• More people should have the chance to have a long-term fixed mortgage, which a report shows can reduce the risks for first-time buyers and can keep them on the housing ladder.

• Sites for 70,000 more houses have been identified.


• Winter fuel allowance will go up from 200 to 250 for the over 60s and from 300 to 400 for the over 80s.


• From October 2009, rules for housing and council tax benefit will mean families on benefit are better off in work.

• From April, 2009, child benefit will be increased to 20 a week.

• From April 2010, all long-term recipients of incapacity benefit will attend work capacity programmes.


• 60m over three years for equipping people to return to the workplace.

• Corporation tax will fall from 30% to 28% by April this year, with simpler taxes for small companies.

• More help for small businesses, with capital gains tax remaining at 10%.

• Funds available through the small firms loans guarantee will increase by 60% in the next year.

• There will be a capital fund of 12.5m to encourage more women entrepreneurs.


• New measures at Heathrow and other airports, using biometric technology, to speed up the time it takes to get through security checks.

• Increase in the amount airlines will have to pay to become "greener" - an extra 10% on plane duty in the second year of the new per-flight tax regime.


• Laws will be introduced by 2009 to tax plastic bags if shops do not do more to charge for their use.

• 26m to help make homes greener.

• New non-domestic buildings to become zero-carbon from 2019.

• The government is asking the European Commission for tougher targets on car fuel emissions

• Consideration is being given to raising the UK target for emissions cuts to 80% by 2050.


• There will be 200m extra for schools to raise GCSE results. By 2011, every school "will be an improving school".

• There will be a 30m fund to improve science teaching.


• Child poverty must be eradicated in Britain. Total of 600,000 fewer children in relative poverty and 150,000 fewer children in absolute poverty.

• Five million customers on pre-paid meters should get a "better deal". Energy companies should spend 150m on social tariffs.

• 17 more a week for poor families with one child.

• A family with two children earning up to 28,000 a year will be 130 a year better off. A further 125m to be spent over the next three years to help families.


• The government will launch the "savings gateway" nationally with the first accounts available by 2010.

• Cash ISA limit confirmed as 3,600 a year from April.


• Turbulence in global financial markets, starting in the US, has spread across the world - and this poses a major risk to the world economy.

• The British economy will continue to grow. "This Budget is about equipping Britain for the times ahead...about building a fairer society," Mr Darling said.

• Britain is more resilient and more prepared to deal with global shocks.

• The UK's GDP per head has gone from the lowest in the G7 in the 1990s to second highest now.

• The British economy will this year grow from between 1.75% and 2.25%, down from 3% last year.

• "There will be no return to the inflation rates of the early 1990s," Mr Darling said.

• To provide certainty, the chancellor said he is writing to the governor of the Bank of England to keep a 2% target on inflation.

• Borrowing next year will rise to 43bn, some 2.9% of national income. It will fall to 1.3% by 2012/13.

• By 2011, investment will have increased by 500%, trebling as a share of national income.

• Public spending in the coming three years will grow by 2.2% a year.


• Mr Darling said that this year 2bn more will be spent on troops in the frontline, including 900m on military equipment.


• Spending on government departments must be matched by reform.

• The focus for the next decade on the NHS will be creating "world-class services".


• The government welcomes the contribution made by people from outside the UK. But non domiciled families should pay a "reasonable charge" after seven years.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific