Osborne promises 'biggest tax cuts'


George Osborne regional visit to South Wales

British workers and businesses will this week benefit from the biggest tax cuts in a generation, George Osborne will claim.

Measures including the rise in the income tax personal allowance to £10,000 and cuts in business taxes will be brought in over the coming days.

But the Chancellor will also highlight the introduction of a tough new welfare regime from next Monday "imposing more conditions on those claiming the dole".

Tomorrow the corporation tax rate will be cut by 1% to 21% and reforms to business rates will be introduced. The annual investment allowance for firms will be doubled to £500,000.

The £10,000 income tax personal allowance comes into effect on Sunday, along with the employment allowance which cuts employers' National Insurance contributions by up to £2,000.

Giving a speech in Essex Mr Osborne will say that Sunday will be "the culmination of this week that sees the biggest reduction of business and personal tax in two decades".

But he will add that "it's no good creating jobs - if we're also paying people to stay on welfare".

"We inherited a welfare system that didn't work There was not enough help for those looking for a
job - people were just parked on benefits.

"Frankly, there was not enough pressure to get a job - some people could just sign on and get almost as much money staying at home as going out to work.

"That's not fair to them - because they get trapped in poverty and their aspirations are squashed.

"It's certainly not fair to taxpayers like you, who get up, go out to work, pay your taxes and pay for those benefits.

"So if Tuesday is when we help businesses creating jobs; and Sunday is when we help hard-working people with jobs; next Monday is when we do more to encourage people without jobs to find them."

The welfare measures include the Help to Work scheme, which requires the long-term jobless to work for their benefits.

Those who have been unemployed for three years or more will be asked to take part in community work placements, such as clearing up litter and graffiti in their local areas or attend daily signings at the job centre.

Claimants with the greatest difficulty finding work, such as those with literacy or numeracy problems, will be provided with intensive support.

Mr Osborne will say: "This week you will keep more of the money you earn.

"This week your business can keep more of the money it makes, so you can invest, expand and create new jobs.

"This week we give more support to those looking for a job, but, from this week, we also ask more of those signing on to benefits - so they find work as quickly as possible.

"It's our approach to the economy: fix the fundamentals; back hard-working people; support business; and sort out welfare so it always pays to work."

In an attack on Labour, he will say: "The old way has failed. More public spending leading to more welfare bills and more government jobs the country couldn't afford.

"Instead, this week, we follow the new way, our way: backing businesses by cutting their taxes so they can create jobs; cutting the tax on hard working people so their job pays; and holding back welfare rises and imposing more conditions on those claiming the dole, so that getting a job pays more.

"The biggest business and personal tax cuts for a generation.

"Welfare changes that get people back to work.

"That's our jobs plan and it's the only plan in town."

In an upbeat assessment of the economy he will say: "Stability is returning; and with it, confidence.

"Companies are moving here; investment is happening here. Britain is starting to walk tall in the world again."

Shadow Treasury chief secretary Chris Leslie said: "Working people facing a cost-of-living crisis are £1,600 a year worse off under George Osborne because wages have fallen in real terms.

"On tax George Osborne is giving with one hand, but taking away much more with the other. Analysis of figures from the IFS shows that households are already £900 a year worse off because of all tax and
benefit changes since 2010.

"While millionaires have been given a huge tax cut millions of hard-working people have seen their taxes go up. There have been 24 Tory tax rises, including the VAT hike which has cost families with children an average of £1,350 over the last three years.

"Labour would deal with the cost-of -living crisis by freezing energy bills, cutting business rates for small firms and expanding free childcare for working parents. We also want to cut taxes for 24 million people on middle and lower incomes by introducing a lower 10p starting rate of tax."

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