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by Tom Freeman
08 July 2015
'National Living Wage’ headlines 'Budget for working people'

'National Living Wage’ headlines 'Budget for working people'

Chancellor George Osborne used his first all-Conservative budget to balance cuts to benefits for working people with a rise in the minimum wage to £9 an hour by 2020 for those aged 25 and over.

It would be a compulsory “National Living Wage” he said, because “Britain deserves a pay rise”.

The £12bn in welfare cuts promised in the Conservative election manifesto would be spread over three years instead of two, he said.


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It will include a freeze in working-age benefits, scrapping maintenance grants for students in England and a reduction in the benefit cap from £26,000 to £23,000 in London and £20,000 elsewhere, the Chancellor confirmed.

Families would not receive benefits for children after their second, it was announced, as part of cuts to the tax credits system.

The tax-free allowance will be raised to £11,000 next year, he said, while businesses will see a cut to corporation tax to 18 per cent by 2020.

Osborne called his budget “a plan for Britain for the next five years to keep moving us from a low wage, high tax, high welfare economy; to the higher wage, lower tax, lower welfare country we intend to create".

Military spending will meet a target of 2 per cent of GDP set by the NATO summit last year.

The Chancellor said he wanted Britain to run a surplus by the 2019-20 financial year, a year later than he had previously said.

"Britain still spends too much, borrows too much, and our weak productivity shows we don't train enough or build enough or invest enough," said Osborne.

Acting Labour leader Harriet Harman accused Osborne of "playing politics with this Budget" and having an “eye on Number 10”.

“The government is making working people worse off by cutting tax credits and help for the poorest students," she said.​

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