Odds on Budget announcements

George OsborneSimon Dawson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

As the Budget edges ever-closer, there are daily stories in the papers about what's coming - from the axing of the 50p tax to the personal spending statements. But as ever, there are some things George Osborne is expected to pull out of a hat at the last minute.

So what do the bookies think the budget holds? And what odd things are they inviting us to bet on?
The bookies tend to shy away from too many categories, as one anonymous commentator told me, if they open a book on something, they tend to find an influx of people 'in the know'. It means the categories are limited to the really big issues where the average punter is likely to have a go too, or the really silly stuff no-one can predict.

Tax and duty

William Hill is offering bets on fuel duty. It seems pretty convinced it will be frozen, offering 4/9 it will remain unchanged, 5/2 it will decrease and 5/1 it will increase. The increase in fuel duty in this definition includes the planned inflation-linked duty rise announced in 2011.
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"The Chancellor is under pressure to take action, and we are giving punters the opportunity to bet on what he will do", said William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe.

On the vexed issue of the changes to the top rate of tax, most bookies are shying away. Paddy Power, however, has 7/2 on 43% or under, 2/5 on 44% to 46%, 7/2 on 47% to 49% and 8/1 on 50% or more.

Phrase that pays

Ladbrokes, meanwhile, is offering odds on a selection of words and phrases that Osborne may or may not say during his speech. Olympics is the favourite at 10/1, followed by child benefit and stamp duty at 1/8. Eurozone is at 1/6, unemployment at 1/5 and Triple A rating at 1/2. Meanwhile motorways, quantitative easing and double dip are evens.

Less likely phrases, with interesting odds include booze, apple and skint - all at 20/1, and fags and ipad at 25/1.


Meanwhile, the daft bets continue as ever. After speculation that Kan Clarke took a brief nap during the 2011 announcement, Stan James is offering odds of 1/2 that he'll do it again.

Paddy Power is offering the traditional bet on the number of sips of water, offering 5/2 on none, 3/1 on one or two, 5/2 on three or four, 13/2 on seven or eight, and 9/2 on more than eight.

It also has odds on the length of speech - at 1/2 on 55 minutes or less, 4/1 on 55.01 minutes to 60 minutes, 6/1 on 60.01 minutes to 65 minutes and 5/1 on more than 65 minutes.

Finally, it is offering 4/1 on any cabinet minister resigning due to budget controversy by 25 March.

So what do you think? Do you fancy the odds? Let us know in the comments.

Huffington Post Budget 2012

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