Budget 2012 – Chancellor punishes stamp duty evaders

These were the key aspects for the property sector of a Budget dominated by the decision to reduce the controversial 50p top rate of income tax to 45p from April 2013.

Instead the Budget took a swipe at the wealthy in a series of other tax and anti-avoidance measures.

Justifiying the end of the 50p top rate of income tax paid on earnings over £150,000, Osborne said it damaged competitiveness and had only raised a third of the £3billion expected.

Instead, five times as much would be raised from the very rich by other policies in the Budget.
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New "anti avoidance" tax rules – such as the stamp duty super levy – would tackle the "morally repugnant" practice of people not paying the tax that they should.

At the other end of the scale, the threshold at which income tax is paid – £8105 from next month – will rise to £9205 in 2013.

There were changes also to the unpopular child benefit measures. Payment should have been axed when one parent earned more than £43,000 but this has been ditched after protests. Instead child benefit will now be removed in stages for those earning more than £50,000 – stopping completely at £60,000.

For pensioners, there will be an automatic review of the state pension age to ensure it keeps pace with increasing lifespans. And a new single-tier state pension for future pensioners will be set at £140 and be based on contributions.

Smokers were once again hammered – this time with tobacco tax rising by 5% above inflation, meaning 20 cigarettes will cost 37p more.

Osborne’s outlook for the economy in general saw the growth forecast for 2012 rise marginally from 0.7% to 0.8%.

He also said the Government was "on course" to eliminate the structural deficit by 2016-7.

And, while the UK was expected to avoid a "technical recession" the euro zone and oil prices remained a threat.

Unemployment is expected to peak this year at 8.7% before falling.

Osborne said it was a "Budget that rewards work".

"Britain is going to earn its way in the world," he said. "There is no other road to recovery."

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