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Page last updated at 09:10 GMT, Thursday, 22 March 2012

Osborne: We're trying to get Britain working


The Chancellor has told the Today programme that pensioners are better off after this budget, saying that they are going to get "the largest increase in the basic state pension ever".

George Osborne told the Today programme's Evan Davis that "my focus has been on making sure this economy grows" and that changes to the tax system for pensioners "creates a much simpler system for everyone" which also saves money.

He said that pensioners tax allowance was being frozen, rather than cut.

On his own personal situation Mr Osborne said "I am not a big winner from this budget" and revealed he was not a 50p tax rate payer.

In terms of how the Budget affects young people, he said that they are trying "create a country where the young are going to have a job and a future".

Mr Osborne maintained that they have tried to "spread the burden as fairly as possibly" and insisted that the biggest weight would be on the richest one percent with a focus on the top ten percent.

Mr Osborne said that the top rate of tax of 50p, introduced under Labour "was a con, a thing on a press release... it did not raise money".

He asked how you can justify a tax rate that "the world laughs at" and doesn't raise any money but he insisted that the wealthy would contribute through cracking down on tax loopholes and a change in stamp duty.

"Many wealthy people do pay their taxes and as a result of the budget. The rich are going to pay more," he added.

The chancellor said that "when you are trying to save money on the welfare system, it is inevitable that it's people at the bottom end who lose. These caps on welfare are very important" because it improves work incentives in a system where it doesn't pay to work.

He said that "the gap between rich and poor has grown and grown under the Labour government" and this government wants to "give more lower income people the chance of a decent job and a decent education" through reforms.

This was a "sensible tax reform for a modern age", he explained.

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