Chancellor George Osborne sets out his spending plans for the next year - Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 21 March 2013
The man who holds the UK’s purse strings, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, made his crucial Budget speech yesterday, with people from all walks of life keen to find out if they would win or lose.
Chancellor George Osborne sets out his spending plans for the next year
Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 21 March 2013
By Irena Barker
The man who holds the UK's purse strings, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, made his crucial Budget speech yesterday, with people from all walks of life keen to find out if they would win or lose.
The Budget is where the chancellor sets out his plans to raise and cut taxes and make changes to levels of government spending.
As Britain, Europe and the US struggle to escape a long-running economic slump, the Budget here focused on creating jobs in the private sector and cutting spending in the public sector. But opposition parties have claimed that cutting public spending will lead to job losses that will damage the economy further.
Mr Osborne's Budget came days after Cyprus caused outrage by announcing it wanted to raid ordinary people's bank accounts to bail out its failing economy. And last year there was rioting on the streets of Greece, which has had to cut public services to the bone after a huge bail-out by the European Union.
In Britain, the government has opted to curb spending and try to encourage private business. Some of the key announcements in the Budget include:
*Cutting taxes for business and reducing the National Insurance bills firms have to pay towards employees' state pensions and other benefits.
*Tax-free childcare vouchers for parents, worth £1,200 per child, in a bid to get parents back to work.
*A rise in the amount people will be able to earn before they pay tax - to £10,000.
*Closure of loopholes as part of a package of measures to rake in £3 billion in unpaid taxes.
*A new Help to Buy scheme for those struggling to raise a deposit for a property, which will offer cheap and free loans for newly built homes.
But there was bad news for public sector workers such as teachers and nurses: the 1 per cent cap on pay rises was extended to 2015-16.
In an attempt to keep the ordinary working man happy in tough times, Mr Osborne was careful to offer some titbits of good cheer. Amid much public outrage over the spiralling price of petrol, he cancelled a planned rise in taxes on fuel.
He also scrapped a 3p rise in the tax on beer, and decided to cut the price of a pint of beer by 1p.
Resources for you
- Learn about what the Chancellor does and give your class the chance to make their own budget.
- This lesson from the Nuffield Foundation teaches pupils about how the government spends its money.
- Learn about how the government spends its money and the impact it has on society.
- A collection of money themed activities.
Further news resources
- Help your pupils understand the features of the front page of a newspaper.
- Get students creating their own news report with this step-by-step guide.
- A sociological and media perspective on what makes an event 'newsworthy'.
- Help pupils to write their own TV news broadcast with this handy PowerPoint.
- A scheme of work to help students structure news stories.
In the news this week
Ten years ago, armed forces from the US, Great Britain, Australia, Poland and other nations invaded Iraq, then ruled by dictator Saddam Hussein.
People in Cyprus have been shocked to learn that its government plans to take almost 10 per cent of their savings.
When the white smoke billowed from the Sistine Chapel chimney on Wednesday the world's estimated 1.2 billion Catholics knew they had a new Pope.
Lessons in abstinence on No Smoking Day. A hundred years ago many doctors were happy to persuade the public that smoking was a healthy activity.