Budget live

Smarta's reporters will be blogging live throughout the Budget. Click here to refresh the page for up-to-the-minute news and analysis.

11.31am - After being photographed outside Downing Street, Chancellor Alistair Darling is heading to Parliament to make one of the most important Budget speeches since the second world war.

11.49am - BBC political editor Nick Robinson has reported an insider told him this Budget will 'turn New Labour politics on its head'.

12.05pm - David Cameron accuses the Prime Minister of not doing enough to tacklet unemployment during PMQs.

12.29pm - With just minutes to go, MPs are still debating in the chamber.

12.30pm - We're on!

12.31pm - Darling says the global response to the downturn was 'too little, too late'

12.35pm - Darling says this will be the first time the economy is expected to contract since the second world war. Smarta editor Matt Thomas says he admires Darling's tie.

12.38pm - 'We've given the banks real means to support the flow of credit'. Smarta says hmmmmm...

12.39pm - 'There are no quick fixes, there is no one solution'

12.41pm - Darling expects to see the economy to contract by -2.5% in 2009, but grow by 1.25% in 2010

12.42pm - Growth will be driven by opportunity to export. Chancellor reports growth will be 3.5% in 2011 to gales of laughter.

12.44pm - "It's not in any government's power to give people jobs" - but Darling says he will announce steps to 'ensure short-term job loss does not turn into a lifetime on benefits'.

12.45pm - An addition £1.7bn for JobCentres, as well as creating 25,000 new jobs and offering everyone under 25 out of a job for a year a job or a place in training to prevent 'returning to the days where a whole generation finds themselves abandoned on a scrapheap'

12.49pm - Gordon Brown looking a bit tired...

12.50pm - 100,000 businesses have deferred their tax bills, says Darling.

12.51pm - Darling will create a top-up trade credit insurance scheme and extend help to allow small businesses to reclaim taxes on profits in the last three years.

12.52pm - Corporation tax and income tax revenues have fallen, Chancellor says. So no drop on corporation tax, then?

12.53pm - Stamp duty holiday for properties worth less than £175,000 will be extended until the end of next year.

12.56pm - Borrowing will be £175bn - 12% of GDP, dropping to 5.5% in 2014.

12.57pm - More sartorial commentary from our debonair editor Matt Thomas: 'Don't you think his suit looks a bit big?'

12.59pm - It looks as if that was it on businesses. So no drop in corporation tax, and nothing about a PAYE holiday or drop in employers' national insurance.

1.00pm - Smarta editor Matt Thomas: "The measures for loss-making companies to reclaim taxes on profits made in the last three years doesn't offer any help to new and emerging companies."

1.01pm - Fuel duty to go up a further 2p per litre from September. We can't see haulage businesses welcoming this.

1.03pm - More thoughts from Matt: "Has he trimmed his eyebrows? As government borrowing has increased, Darling's eyebrows have notably decreased."

1.04pm - "I can afford to make further investments in the future of this country," says Darling. There will be £1bn to help us combat climate change, as well as there's £2.5bn for business to encourage investment in green industries and jobs.

1.08pm - £500m for beleaguered house builders, but Darling hits already precarious pub trade with a 2% rise in duty.

1.10pm - Darling will double business' capital allowance to 40%. "It will mean enhanced tax relief to support investment of up to £50bn this year, and will include £10bn for the vitally important communications industry."

1.12pm - One for the tech businesses: "I can announce the setting up of a 750m investment fund. It will provide financial support focusing on emerging technologies and regionally important sectors. It will support research and development"

1.13pm - Matt Thomas: "There have been bits and pieces for niches but there hasn't been anything for your average small business owner."

1.15pm - Treasury will exempt clean technology development projects from the Climate Change Levy

1.17pm - Grandparents of working age will receive money to care for children as part of their basic state pension - so more help for business owners who need childcare.

1.20pm - Statutory redundancy pay to increase by £30 a week.

1.21pm - And it's over! Awaiting David Cameron's response. We're disappointed we didn't see any real measures to help businesses retain staff and no further support for lending - but what a relief VAT stayed the same - for now, at least

1.26pm - Cameron whips out the old roof fixing metaphor. When we rule the world, that'll be the first metaphor to be banned - followed by 'small businesses are the engine room/lifeblood of the economy'. 

1.30pm - Cameron: Where was the credit guarantee scheme? "We've been calling for a proper credit guarantee scheme for months".

1.42pm - Well, that's it, Budget fans. It's been a rollercoaster ride of emotions - thanks for joining us and stay tuned to Smarta for more commentary, analysis and entrepreneur and business reactions to the Budget.

Image: HM Treasury

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