Absent from his speech was any change to VAT. Duty on beer, spirits and fuel was also frozen. However, a 1 per cent increase in National Insurance contributions both from employers and employees still led to some cause for concern.
"I can't think the impact of this budget will be massively negative or massively positive," ISBA's director of public affairs, Ian Twinn, said. "He's taking money out of middle England's pocket, so that might have an impact on consumer spending. But the measures to help business could increase confidence."
New child tax and working tax credits proved to be the flagship budget measures. However, the announcement was overshadowed by accusations that the Government was covering up research into the multimillion-pound advertising campaigns used to promote them. Tories branded the previous campaigns an "expensive flop".
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