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Brown's Budget: cuts basic rate

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Gordon Brown's last Budget speech laid out the achievements he claims to have made since 1997 and cut the basic rate of income tax from 22 pence in the pound to 20 pence.

The threshold for the top rate of income will increase in April 2009 to £43,000.

In a flamboyant performance Brown also cut the rate of mainstream corporate tax to 28 pence. Capital allowances will be simplified to just two categories depending on how long assets last.

Research and development credits are increased by £100m. Although tax on small businesses will increase, from 20p to 22p, Brown said that increased allowances for R&D and investment will effectively compensate them.

Environmental annoucements included a 50 per cent increase in microgeneration grants - sticking a windmill on your roof. There will be no stamp duty on carbon neutral houses up to a value of £500,000. Green products for domestic use will see VAT cut from 17.5 per cent to 5 per cent.

Business rate relief for empty properties will be cut.

Of more interest to many in Vulture Towers: 1 penny on a pint of beer, 5p for a bottle of wine, no increase in spirits but 11 pence on a packet of 20 cigarettes. Nicotine patches and other nicotine replacement products will have their VAT cut to five per cent.

Child benefit goes up in three stages to £20 a week in 2010 for the first child.

Counter terrorism gets an extra £86m and the armed forces get an extra £400m for committments in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Education will see five per cent rises for the next three years, from £60bn to £64bn next year.

Brown even found time for a gag. Referring to reports yesterday that he has a touch of the Stalin about him Brown said "I thank my forthright civil servants, who maybe I should call comrades..."

The speech will be available here, but isn't at the time of writing, in the meantime the Beeb summary is here.®

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