Page last updated at 14:11 GMT, Wednesday, 22 April 2009 15:11 UK

As it happened: Budget 2009

Alistair Darling

By Justin Parkinson and Jon Kelly

1505 That concludes our live text Budget coverage. The pontificating and scrutinising of Mr Darling's plans will continue long into the night and beyond. Keep up to date with all the latest events and comments on the BBC News website.

Steve Schifferes
1503 The BBC's Steve Schifferes says: The chancellor is squeezing public spending in the future by saying it will grow by only 0.7% per year from 2011 - a lower growth rate than when Mrs Thatcher was in power. Despite this the public finances will only balance by 2018.

Ben Wright
1501 BBC political correspondent Ben Wright says the Budget has put the Conservative Party in a difficult position, particularly in relation to the new 50% income tax rate for the highest earners. "Politics has changed and the election starts here, " he adds.

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Mandy, UK says: Typical budget. Petrol goes up by 2p in the budget, but 3 or 4p at the pump. Welcome to rip-off Britain. Have Your Say

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Arvind Kohli, London, UK says: Why have there been no comments on business rates that have gone up so much? Not only has the business rates multiplier gone up but transitional relief has gone up as well. My bill for 800 sq feet shop in Kentish Town is £10042.00 pa this has more than doubled under Labour. This is taxation by the back door. Why not have local tax on sales instead of this back door tax? Have Your Say

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ElrikMerlin says: Pity the car scrapping measure doesn't require purchase of a low-emissions vehicle. Have Your Say on Twitter

1449 The CBI, which represents many of the UK's businesses, does not seem very impressed by the Budget. Director-general Richard Lambert says: "The key question for this Budget was whether it set out a credible and rigorous path for restoring the public finances to health. The CBI's preliminary judgement must be that it does not." He describes Mr Darling's forecasts as "optimistic" and says the government is "running too much of a risk" by putting back the date for balancing its books.

e-mail sent in by reader
Chiraag Suchak, Guildford, UK says: Why has the winter fuel allowance been maintained despite falling fuel prices? Have Your Say

Stephanie Flanders
1446 BBC economics editor Stephanie Flanders blogs: The conflict I flagged up earlier between rhetoric and reality has been borne out. The Chancellor talked big about raising taxes, but if you look at the tightening in the budget he is planning from 2011, more of the work is being done by slower spending growth than by higher taxes. Read Stephanomics

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Vincent McBain, Manchester, UK says: The UK's carbon emissions must already be falling as a consequence of the downturn in any construction or other economic activity. If nothing is being done, less carbon will be emitted! Have Your Say

Steve Schifferes
1442 The BBC's Steve Schifferes says: The IMF has just predicted that the UK economy will decline by 4.1% this year and 0.4% next year - far worse than the government forecast announced in the budget.

1439 Left-wing Labour MP John McDonnell, who stood unsuccessfully against Gordon Brown for the party's leadership in 2007, tells the Commons that the 50p income tax rate for earnings above £150,000 is "a small step in the right direction", but says it is "12 years too late and a tokenistic measure".

e-mail sent in by reader
Adam, St Albans, UK says: Being 18, it appears that the tax increases will come in just before I graduate, meaning my generation and I will be the ones paying high taxes for the previous generation's blind greed for years to come. Oh, and that 18 months/2 years also gives the people who caused this recession a chance to retire before the tax kicks in. Have Your Say

Nick Robinson
1434 BBC political editor Nick Robinson says the debate is changing from how to spend the increasing proceeds of growth in recent years to where the cuts in public spending should be made during the forthcoming years of austerity for government finances.

1429 Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the Taxpayers' Alliance, says: "This Budget commits taxpayers to a terrifying amount of debt that will burden ordinary families for decades to come." The increase in income tax for the highest earners is dismissed as a "petty political gesture".

1425 Back in the House of Commons, Conservative former cabinet minister John Redwood says government policies have made the economy "lurch from excessive boom to excessive bust". UK authorities were "uniquely incompetent" in a global context, he adds.

1420 Consumers and producers of alcohol alike aren't happy about the rises in duty announced by Mr Darling. Mike Benner of the Campaign for Real Ale says this will result in "yet more valued community pubs closing down". And Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the Scottish Whisky Association, complains the rise comes at the "at the worst possible time" for an industry which has "the potential to help drive the economy out of recession".

Stephanie Flanders
1412 BBC economics editor Stephanie Flanders says more of the work to "fill the hole" in government finances is coming from restricting spending growth, rather than raising taxes.

1407 Labour MP and former Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly tells the BBC the new higher income tax rate for top earners will not discourage talented people from coming to work in the UK. Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith says there is a "very limited effort" by the government to restrict spending and that the government's spending forecast is "ludicrous" in its optimism. And ex-Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell says no government economic forecast in recent years has proved to be accurate.

1403 After all the excitement of the Budget statement, the House of Commons chamber has returned to relative calm for the resulting debate. Labour MP and Treasury select committee chairman John McFall says the government is "moving along the path" to improving housing supply with its measures to help building firms.

Money
1358 Time for a recap of some of the main measures in the Budget. The rate of income tax for earnings above £150,000 a year will rise to 50% from April next year. From next month until March 2010 motorists will get a £2,000 discount on new cars if they scrap cars older than 10 years. The economy is forecast to shrink by 3.5% this year, with public borrowing rising to £175bn. Meanwhile, the stamp duty "holiday" for homes up to £175,000 will continue to the end of this year.

1354 TUC general secretary Brendan Barber says the Budget "does not bring the same boldness and vigour to getting the real economy right as the government showed in dealing with the banking collapse".

e-mail sent in by reader
Mohan, London, UK says: I'm no economic expert, but this all seems too little too late and makes savers pay for not indulging heavily in debt Have Your Say

Nick Robinson
1351 BBC political editor Nick Robinson says opinion polls are now in favour of raising income tax for the highest earners - which has been announced by Mr Darling - whereas the opposite was the case when Tony Blair was prime minister.

Robert Peston
1348 BBC business editor Robert Peston says the £220bn of bonds the government says it will have to sell this year is "massively" bigger than previous amounts. People will be concerned that the borrowing situation will be worse than that outlined by the chancellor, he adds.

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Pontecarloblue says: Well yet again a couple with no children have nothing positive from the budget! Have Your Say on Twitter

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Ann, Bedfordshire, UK says: It appears winter fuel allowance hasn't been extended to disabled people. They often have more need than the over 65s Have Your Say

1342 Mr Clegg says there should have been proposals in Mr Darling's speech to end the "pointless" VAT cut.

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Adam, Poynton, UK says: It's small businesses and the honest middle-of-the-road families who are losing out. It's worse than ever. I've never seen so many shops closing. It's a shame. Where has Great Britain gone? Have Your Say

Nick Clegg
1339 Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg is speaking, as many MPs from other parties file out of the Commons. He calls the Budget a "mish-mash of recycled announcements". After harking back to the so-called "People's Budget" by Liberal chancellor David Lloyd George 100 years ago, Mr Clegg says Mr Darling's effort was a missed opportunity.

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albinoferret says: Excellent, higher child tax credits for those who get them - so I'll be taxed more and still not be eligible?! Have Your Say on Twitter

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Felicia, UK says: If the country's health is to be improved, Darling could start by increasing the price of alcohol and tobacco by more than the usual measly few pence. Fruit and vegetables should be tax-free and cheaper. Have Your Say

1337 The government's economic model is "fundamentally bust", Mr Cameron says. It is a "government of the living dead", he adds. He sits down to cheers from Tories MPs.

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tuxradar says: £750m for emerging technologies is great but will it be invested in open source software like other countries are doing? Have Your Say on Twitter

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Beverley, Edinburgh, UK says: The government promised to end child poverty in 1999, which they reiterated today. However, what they've just promised is paltry, it won't make any difference. That's a decade of broken promises to 3 million children. Have Your Say

Stephanie Flanders
1336 BBC economics editor Stephanie Flanders blogs: It's not a soak-the-rich Budget until we see the numbers, but it certainly sounds like that from here. Read Stephanomics

1335 Mr Cameron says the forecasts on public borrowing are worse than those given by former Labour chancellor Denis Healey when he went to the International Monetary Fund in the 1970s.

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Tomps, London, UK says: Mr Darling has done a fair job of covering a broad range of different budgeting matters, especially for childcare and grandparents. The £435m for windfarms look promising. Have Your Say

1331 A couple of other details from the Budget: alcohol and cigarettes taxes to go up 2% from midnight, while fuel duty will rise by 2p a litre from September.

Steve Schifferes
1330 The BBC's Steve Schifferes says: The chancellor has predicted a huge rise in the total amount of government debt, which he says will rise from 59% of GDP now to 79% by 2013-14. If interest rates also rise, this will put a big squeeze on other public spending commitments.

1329 The Tory leader says the Budget is "completely inadequate" at addressing long-term problems. He says Labour has broken a manifesto commitment not to raise taxes on the rich.

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Chris, Tunbridge Wells, UK says: £500m to kick start the building industry and complete unfinished building works? A little pointless as nobody has the money to buy these houses, no? Have Your Say

Nick Robinson
1327 The BBC's Nick Robinson blogs: The new 50% top tax rate for those earning over £150,000 is designed to put the Tories on the spot - do they back it or pledge to reverse it? Read Nick Robinson's blog

1326 Mr Cameron says that, over a four-year period, the UK will borrow £606bn - "a staggering amount".

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Dean, Worcester , UK says: I'm still waiting to see how this budget will benefit a single 35 man, smoker, renting property, earning just above minimum wage! Have Your Say

David Cameron
1325 Tory leader David Cameron accuses Labour of making an "utter mess" of the economy. Any claim to economic competence is "dead, over, finished".

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Darrell Mcdonald, Skipton, UK says: I'm 23 and hoping to get a house, but if it carries on I've got no chance. There's not enough support in place to help the young to progress and I'm disappointed to be honest. Have Your Say

1322 Mr Darling has stopped speaking - the speech lasted approximately 50 minutes.

1322 The total annual limit for ISAs will increase to £10,200.

1321 The winter fuel allowance will be maintained at a higher level for the coming year.

Granparents and grandchildren
1320 Grandparents looking after grandchildren will, for the first time - where they are of working age - have their efforts acknowledged in the state pension, Mr Darling says.

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shrewdcookie says: 50% tax on income over £150k - not exactly promoting the entrepreneurial spirit to get UK out of this mess is he? Have Your Say on Twitter

13 From April next year the child element of the child tax credit will increase by £20, the chancellor says.

1318 The Budget's measures offer "hope for the future", Mr Darling says, and will help ensure fairness and opportunity.

1317 The chancellor promises £405m to advance green manufacturing.

1315 Mr Darling says he will announce plans later to reduce UK carbon emissions by 34% by 2020.

e-mail sent in by reader
Sadiq, London, UK says: Be interesting to see if any mention is made of those with unsecured debt like credit cards who appear to have been forgotten in recent months despite the country having such large levels of personal debt. Have Your Say

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Rob Smith, Canterbury, UK says: Great, mortgage holders have saved £200, what about those of us stuck in rental property? Have Your Say

1312 Mr Darling announces the setting up of a £750m investment fund for emerging technologies.

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[delphius1], Portsmouth, UK says: The chancellor needs to invest in social housing, to help those repossessed, to inject money into the economy now and help builders and to ease the pressure on housing. Have Your Say

1311 Mr Darling says strengthening the banking system is crucial to the economy. He adds that construction firms will get £500m of extra finance to help them borrow to build more homes. Armed forces accommodation will get £50m to accelerate improvements.

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Robert, Glasgow, UK says: So can I buy an old banger for £50, in order to get £2000 off a new car? Has he thought this through? Have Your Say

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bennyuk says: Mr Darling says he expects the economy to start improving later this year - More spin or the truth? Spin I think! Have Your Say on Twitter

1306 Sorry to those of you who have not refreshed the page recently - the estimate of government borrowing for this year is £175bn - NOT £275bn - sorry - the perils of live text!

1305 The government will make savings while increasing spending on schools and healthcare, Mr Darling says.

Steve Schifferes
1304 The BBC's Steve Schifferes says: Research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies suggests that the higher tax rates for the rich announced the chancellor will raise relatively little money, because they are easy to avoid.

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davidwhittam says: Single, young or unmarried people are always the losers in budgets, I'm sure I'll be worse off in a couple of months! Have Your Say on Twitter

1302 A 50% income tax rate for those earning £150,000 or more a year will come in from April next year.

Nick Robinson
1302 BBC political editor Nick Robinson blogs: Alistair Darling is clearly determined to use his Budget speech to tell the country a story about why the economy is in the mess it's in and about the help that the government has already given. Read Nick's Robinson's blog

1300 The chancellor says pensions tax relief will be restricted for those earning more than £100,000 a year.

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coffeemadman says: Good idea for under-25s to be offered training - but it must work; we must go to them, not the other way around. Have Your Say on Twitter

1259 The Budget deficit is expected to halve in the next four years, he says.

1258 Government borrowing will be £175bn this year, some 12.4% of GDP, the chancellor says.

1257 The BBC's Kevin Peachey says: The basic state pension is usually based on RPI in September. The chancellor predicted RPI will be -3% this September, but the government has already vowed that the basic state pension will rise by a minimum of 2.5%, whatever the RPI level.

1255 The recession has hit tax revenues, Mr Darling says. Tax as a share of GDP is 1.2% lower than last year as a result, he adds.

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Alex Kidner, London, UK says: What do I want from this Budget? Accountability at the highest level. Between the FSA, the Bank of England and the Prime Minister the economy this has turned out to be a farce. It's just not funny any more. Pouring money into a black hole is not helping either. Have Your Say

Scrapped car
1254 There will be a £2,000 discount from next month on cars bought where the owner scraps another car more than 10 years old.

1253 Mr Darling says loss-making companies will be able to reclaim more taxes on profits made in the last three years.

House
1252 A lack of mortgage credit is holding the housing market back, Mr Darling says. The stamp duty "holiday" for properties worth less than £175,000 will be extended to the end of the year.

Training
1248 He promises £260m of extra money to help young people acquire more skills and training.

1247 The chancellor says it will take time for unemployment to start falling. He announces £1.7bn to help jobseekers and says that the long-term jobless will get additional support via the Flexible New Deal.

Steve Schifferes
1246 The BBC's Steve Schifferes says: The chancellor's forecast for 2010 is highly optimistic compared to the consensus of 0.3%, and the IMF, which suggests negative growth.

1245 Inflation is expected to come down to 1% at the end of this year, the chancellor says.

1244 Economic growth of 1.25% is predicted for next year.

1243 The UK economy is expected to contract by about 3.5% this year, the chancellor says, including 1.6% in the current quarter.

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Mike Harding, Morecambe, UK says: On this day in 1943, Britain stopped printing £1,000 notes. Might need them after the Budget! Have Your Say

1241 There are no quick fixes or overnight solutions to economic problems, the chancellor says.

House
1239 Mr Darling says the average family with a tracker mortgage has saved more than £230 a month, due to interest rate falls.

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MikeSnos says: I hope, and think, the deflation is short term. However, we need government to force banks to release the funds given for credit Have Your Say on Twitter

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Les, Stafford, UK says: I've been unemployed for more than six months and there is no help available for retraining. This government is all talk and no action. Have Your Say

1237 The chancellor says that, for the first time since WWII, the world economy is expected to contract this year.

Steve Schifferes
1236 The BBC's Steve Schifferes says: The chancellor is more optimistic than most forecasters when he says the economy will be growing by the end of the year. Most predict it will be at least the middle of 2010 before growth resumes.

1235 Mr Darling says he expects the economy to start improving later this year.

The Earth from space
1234 Mr Darling says the current crisis is global. He says the mistakes of the 1920s and 1930s will not be repeated. The Budget will build on substantial steps already taken, he adds.

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Adam Lynott, Eastleigh, UK says: More transparency on public expenditure - the general public (those that contribute that is) and business are cutting back - so should government and local authorities - spend where it is really necessary. Have Your Say

Alistair Darling
1233 The chancellor is on his feet. He says there will be help to get people into work, home-buying, sustaining the public finances and rebuilding financial services.

1232 PMQs is over. A little bit of reshuffling in the Speaker's chair and elsewhere before the Budget.

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Chai Block, London, UK says: What an example of economics debate is this? Cameron wants Brown to admit that things are absolutely terrible, Brown wants Cameron to admit that we are now in a better state than in 1997. Can they get on with it please? Have Your Say

1229 Almost time for the chancellor to speak. SNP MP Angus MacNeil asks why Scotland is facing spending cuts. Mr Brown says he is living in a "dreamworld".

Money
1228 Mr Brown says the decision over his plans to abolish second homes allowances for MPs is one for the House itself. Such proposals, to be voted on next week, will "deal with the problem, now", he adds.

1226 Loud cheers around the chamber for Luton South MP Margaret Moran who, wearing a Luton Town FC scarf, congratulates the team for winning the Johnston Paints Trophy, despite being relegated from the Football League. Mr Brown says he is sure the club will return to the league soon.

1225 Tory MP Nadine Dorries, one of those smeared in e-mails sent by ex-Downing Street worker Damian McBride, asks whether the PM will apologise. He says "yes", adding that such behaviour should not have happened.

Ben Wright
1224 The BBC's Ben Wright says: David Cameron goes on the economy and wants to extract uncomfortable confessions about the economy from Gordon Brown. It's a flat exchange. The Conservative leader asks the PM to admit that there's been no end to boom and bust after all. Gordon Brown declines the invitation and says the Tories response to the recession would be to make cuts. It's a hint of the debate that will run from budget day to election day. The only grit in the exchange is a fleeting reference to Damian McBride. Brown taunts Cameron for being a special adviser to the Chancellor during Black Wednesday. The Tory leader fires back a line about the PM's own adviser and accuses labour of "moral bankruptcy". The Tory benches errupt.

1220 Mr Brown says the war in Sri Lanka needs a peaceful settlement.

Nick Clegg
1217 The Commons chamber is becoming very lively. Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg asks Mr Brown to tell the 2.1 million unemployed people where new jobs are being created. He accuses ministers of chasing "meaningless headlines". Mr Brown says government action has prevented a worse situation.

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Mick, Buxton, UK says: Like millions of people I graduate in the summer. I'm terrified because there are no jobs out there! What's the government going to do to help students already in debt to cope financially and find work? Have Your Say

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GJShearer says: Markets vs Electorate - that seems to be Darling's choice Have Your Say on Twitter

1214 Mr Cameron urges the PM to admit he did not end "boom and bust". Mr Brown outlines the measures taken by the government in recent months.

Steve Schifferes
1214 The BBC's Steve Schifferes says: At PMQs the Prime Minister gave a very careful answer to the claim by David Cameron that UK borrowing would be the highest in the G20, pointing only to higher borrowing in the US. The IMF predicted in March that by 2010 the UK would have the highest borrowing among these countries.

1212 Mr Cameron says no other country in the G20 has such bad borrowing figures as Mr Darling is expected to announce in his Budget. He asks whether the recession is the deepest since WWII. Mr Brown says the Tories "did nothing" to help people hit by the 1990s dowturn. He reminds MPs that Mr Cameron was an adviser to the chancellor at the time. Mr Cameron turns this around to make a joke about the resignation of Mr Brown's adviser, Damian McBride, over sending smear e-mails about leading Tories. He calls the government "morally bankrupt".

1209 Mr Cameron says the prime minister is "massaging the figures". He asks whether next year Britain will borrow "more than in any year in our peacetime history". Mr Brown says borrowing is rising in every country and that Labour is still prepared to take necessary action to help those hit by the recession.

e-mail sent in by reader
Christopher Malpas, UK says: Because I am not a "hard working" family I along with millions of others will get what we always get from Labour budgets - nothing. Have Your Say

David Cameron
1206 Tory leader David Cameron asks whether the latest unemployment figures show the fastest increase in history. Mr Brown says there are nearly three million more people in work than 10 years ago. He says the Conservatives oppose every measure the government is taking to deal with the problem.

Gordon Brown
1205 Gordon Brown is asked whether all details about the Hillsborough stadium disaster of 1989 will be released. The prime minister says the government will look at how it can release all information. He promises to do his best to help the families affected.

e-mail sent in by reader
Les Woods, Lincoln, UK says: No more gimmicks. Prior to an election the chancellor must do what is right and not what is a good vote-catcher. Have Your Say

1202 Prime minister's questions is under way.

Steve Schifferes
1201 The BBC's Steve Schifferes says: A foretaste of the deficit problems facings the chancellor was provided by today's public borrowing figures. In the financial year ending in March the government had to borrow £90bn, £12bn more than it expected just six months ago. This was a higher figure than in 1976 when the government was forced to go the IMF for help.

1158 The chancellor and prime minister have arrived. Almost time.

1157 Chancellor Alistair Darling is still not in the House of Commons chamber. He must be feeling a little nervous.

Robert Peston
1156 The BBC's Robert Peston blogs: What I expect the Debt Management Office to announce is that it will work more closely with investment banks in selling gilts. Read Robert Peston's blog

1153 Only a few minutes to go until the mammoth session of parliamentary debate begins. The Commons chamber is almost full for PMQs. At the moment MPs are discussing Northern Ireland issues.

1152 The BBC's Kevin Peachey says: First surprise of the Budget already - Chancellor Alistair Darling is not wearing a red tie! Bookmakers had red as a firm favourite. He appears to be wearing one featuring light blue stripes.

Alistair Darling
1150 With just a few minutes to go, it's a beautiful day at Westminster. Mr Darling has already made his way to Parliament from the Treasury. He's carrying the tatty old Budget box much loved by most of his predecessors but done away with by Gordon Brown when he was at 11 Downing Street.

Nick Robinson
1149 BBC political editor Nick Robinson says: This Budget will turn early New Labour politics on its head, a leading Brownite tells me. Read Nick's Robinson's blog.

1147 Nostalgia in the Daily Mail. The last time the UK faced deflation was, it notes, 1960, when "Cliff Richard was the latest pop sensation" and "the average house price was £2,530". Read the article

Ben Wright
1146 The BBC's Ben Wright says: Today's PMQs is an appetiser before the main meal, but it's got the potential to be fiery. With stats released this morning showing unemployment and borrowing up, David Cameron might be tempted to get an early jab in on the economy. But I doubt it. Instead he might re-visit the Damian McBride smear story that shocked the Tories, angered Labour MPs and dominated the Easter recess news. The Conservatives argued that the incident revealed something rotten about the culture in Number 10 and David Cameron could well go for that again. Then there's the toxic issue of MPs' expenses and the PM's smiley YouTube message from yesterday. All party leaders have tried to show they're taking the lead on an issue corroding faith in politics. Gordon Brown wants a new daily allowance for MPs and more transparency on outside earnings. What will the opposition parties make of that?

Beer
1143 In the Sun, comedian Al Murray - in his Pub Landlord guise - urges Mr Darling to reduce tax on beer. "The Great British Pub is in crisis and you must save it," he implores. "Now." Give us a pint of Carling, Darling

Newspapers
1141 The Financial Times predicts that the chancellor will have to issue government bonds worth £200bn as the UK achieves record levels of peacetime borrowing. Read the article

Nick Robinson
1140 BBC political editor Nick Robinson says the Budget will be "historic" simply because of the state of the public finances to be revealed by Mr Darling. The chancellor will also try to "define the choice for the next election" between Labour and the Tories, he adds.

Newspapers
1139 A look at some of the press. The general election campaign begins today, according to the Times: its leader predicts that Mr Darling "will set the terms for the electoral contest that must take place before May 2010". Read the article

Calculator
1136 Savers, hit hard by the recent falls in interest rates, will be hoping for some tax changes for Mr Darling to help them out a little. Some homebuyers, meanwhile, will be looking to see whether the temporary raising of the stamp duty threshold from £125,000 to £175,000 will be extended by three months to the end of the year.

1132 Budgets are always big occasions but this one - given the deteriorating state of the economy - is huge. Experts are wondering just how bad predictions about the recession are going to be and how high public sector borrowing is forecast to rise.

Alistair Darling
1130 Chancellor Alistair Darling is due to begin his speech at 1230 BST, straight after Gordon Brown's weekly half-hour prime minister's questions session with MPs, which we'll also cover.

1129 Hello and welcome to our 2009 Budget live text coverage. We will be bringing you all the news, expert analysis, colour and views on the busiest day of the year for the political and business worlds. We will also present a selection of your e-mails, Tweets and texts.


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