Brown's budget extends R&D relief
Price of a Lordship frozen...
Gordon Brown delivered his tenth, and widely assumed last, Budget today and promised to keep UK growth on track at between 2 and 2.5 per cent for this year rising to between 2.75 and 3 per cent for 2007.
Brown is introducing a zero rate of vehicle tax for cars with the lowest pollution rating. But rates increase up to a new high of £210 for the most polluting one per cent of vehicles.
He announced funding for an extra 3,000 science teachers, and science will be included in assessments of schools' performance. All students will be entitled to study any science subject and there is funding for afternoon science clubs at 250 schools.
Brown announced a single research budget for the medical research council and NHS which will be worth at least £1bn. Tax relief on R&D will be increased and companies with up to 500 staff will be now eligible. The previous limit was 250.
Investments in venture capital trusts will get 30 per cent relief.
The British Chambers of Commerce welcomed the expansion of R&D credit but would have liked "to see it extended to cover firms' expenditure on intellectual property. The BCC questioned Brown's forecast of a strong recovery in business investment because of low business confidence.
A bottle of wine will go up by 4 pence, cigarettes by 9 pence a pack, beer by one pence a pint but tax on champagne and spirits will be frozen.