Alistair Darling makes Budget speech to Commons

The Budget speech for 2009 has been delivered to the House of Commons by chancellor Alistair Darling.

He pledged to offer help to homeowners and businesses in the wake of the economic downturn, which he noted has seen the UK being hit by the worst financial troubles for over 60 years.

The chancellor stated that he expects economic growth to decline by a further 3.5 per cent in 2009, with the situation picking up in 2010.

And he extended the stamp duty holiday, which exempts property transactions of £175,000 or under from the tax, until the end of the year.

Commenting on this, head of mortgages for Abbey Nici Audhlam-Gardiner welcomed the move as “relief for struggling first-time buyers”.

She added: “But it’s disappointing that it doesn’t go further,” saying that the tax break should be made permanent.

In addition, Ms Audhlam-Gardiner suggested that stamp duty could be made “incremental, so it works like income tax”.

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