Isabel Hardman Isabel Hardman

Budget 2013: what the papers say

The Treasury has largely managed to maintain discipline in the run-up to the Budget, with only controlled briefings in the past few days, rather than last year’s public row over tax cuts. Yesterday we were told about the additional departmental spending cuts to fund infrastructure: the pain has already been briefed so that today the £2.5billion raised from cuts can be painted more as gain. There are also some carefully-placed stories on the front pages this morning, too.

Last year’s Budget didn’t have much in it for Sun readers: the pasty and caravan taxes did for any suggestion that the government was on their side while it cut the top rate of tax. And after the Budget, the newspaper sent a model to hand out pasties on the steps of the Treasury. We all know what happened to those taxes. But this year, the newspaper wins on a campaign for the abolition of the beer duty escalator. The paper quotes a Whitehall source, who underlines why this particular announcement is an important part of the Chancellor’s drive to appear on the side of hardworking families who are feeling the squeeze:

‘George can’t afford to do much for anyone this year as the state of public finances is still so bad. But he wants to do what he can to help working Brits — and that means making a well-earned pint at the end of the day a little cheaper.’

Meanwhile, the Guardian’s front page reminds us that whatever happens in the House of Commons Chamber this afternoon, it’s going to be overshadowed by events in Cyprus. But its Budget story also focuses on cost of living measures: on raising the personal tax allowance to £10,000 a year early, and on the chance that Osborne will either delay or scrap the fuel duty rise.

The Independent has the same story as its splash.

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