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Osborne's autumn windfall aims to help thousands

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 05, 2013

GeorgeOsborne

George Osborne

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The coalition Government will today jostle to appear most in touch with voters as details of free school meals for infants and a tax break for married couples are revealed.

Chancellor George Osborne will deliver his autumn financial statement – with Westcountry families set to benefit from the two high-profile giveaways.

Some 405,000 families in the greater South West will benefit from the married couples' transferable allowance in 2015, parliamentary figures reveal.

The flagship Conservative policy – to be introduced in April 2015 at the height of the next general election campaign – will be worth up to £200 a year for couples, including civil partnerships, who qualify.

It can only be claimed by couples in which the highest earner is a basic rate taxpayer – meaning couples that include a higher rate taxpayer will not get it – and works by transferring any tax-free allowance where one partner has not used all of their allowance.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats will underline how millions of pounds will be handed to schools to set up new kitchens and dining rooms as part of the Government's plan to offer every five to seven-year-old a free school dinner.

Around £150 million of public money is to be made available to help infant schools in England improve their dining facilities, the government said last night. It comes just months after Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg announced proposals for universal free meals for infant school children.

In the South West, around 168,400 pupils will be eligible for the scheme, which is due to be introduced in September next year, it has emerged.

This includes 22,216 pupils in Devon, 16,409 in Cornwall, 8,603 in Plymouth and 3,960 in Torbay.

It is expected to save parents around £437 per year, per child.

Underlining coalition tensions, Michael Gove's Department of Education was last night accused of lying in a furious turf war that left the Education Secretary sidelined when David Cameron appeared to side with the Deputy Prime Minister. Sources linked to the Department for Education are understood to have briefed reporters that the DPM was possibly planning to raid the basic needs budget, used to meet the demand for extra places, to fund the move and then later dismissed claims that unspent cash was available in the maintenance budget to cover the cost.

In a particularly robust counter-briefing senior Liberal Democrat sources accused the DfE of lying, going rogue and being hostile.

Downing Street then made it clear that it was Tory Mr Gove's department that were out of line.

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11 comments

  • Fatalist  |  December 09 2013, 10:19AM

    If we pay more into the EU then we get out, it follows that every citizen of this country stands to profit if we shed that EU commitment once and for all. Were we to leave then we'd also no longer have any reason to put up with the foreign beggars and benefit claimants, and control of our own borders would be firmly back in our own governments hands. We'd also lose the bill for funding salaries to failed past politicians who've migrated to Brussels, like Kinnock. This country can manage without the EU ties, and we can manage without the wave of migrant EU workers who are presently flooding in. Can't think of anything else that would solve, virtually overnight, our unemployment problem.

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  • emurfitt  |  December 06 2013, 11:50AM

    Why are people blaming the EU for what the British government is doing? The UK is not subsidising the lower pension ages in other EU countries. All the richest members of the EU (Britain is the third richest) pay more than they get back because the poorer members are being helped to develop their economies. This is as it should be. If we leave the EU, we'll be completely at the mercy of the out-of-touch public schoolboys (of all parties) who run this country - with no outside, balancing influence. Cornwall does very well out of the EU. So do women, workers and other groups normally disadvantaged by the British government. Long live the EU. The Right-wing agenda of UKIP would be Tory policies all over again.

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  • emurfitt  |  December 06 2013, 11:40AM

    I am all for feeding children that have been plunged into poverty by this government. If they are destined to work until they die, it could be the last thing the government ever does for them. Why single people should subsidise married couples though is beyond me. I thought we had moved on from this sort of discrimination. Looks as if single parents will get free school meals for their children with one hand, and with the other be paying out to subsidise their better off married neighbours. Such is the standard of British politics.

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  • emurfitt  |  December 06 2013, 11:37AM

    I am all for feeding children that have been plunged into poverty by this government. If they are destined to work until they die, it could be the last thing the government ever does for them. Why single people should subsidise married couples though is beyond me. I thought we had moved on from this sort of discrimination. Looks as if single parents will get free school meals for their children with one hand, and with the other be paying out to subsidise their better off married neighbours. Such is the standard of British politics.

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  • D-Head  |  December 05 2013, 8:47PM

    I knew I was smart but never guessed that 70 would be the retirement age announced by the chancellor today!! But look at these European countries we are funding and see what their retirement ages are. You'll be shocked and it's us mugs who are paying. I've voted Libdem in the past and most recently tory, but NEVERV AGAIN. Put that in your pipe and smoke it Derek Thomas.

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  • miniman1  |  December 05 2013, 5:47PM

    What a brilliant idea, with over 1 million under 25s unemployed, what does this "government" do? increase the retirement age and open our borders to as many Romanians and Bulgarians who wish to come here next month. While on that subject I see that thousands of Moldovians have found a loophole and have been issued with Romanian passports, allowing them to join us as well. We really need a change, check out the UKIP web-site, ask questions on UKIP FB and if you agree with our policies - Vote UKIP in the 2014 and 2015 elections.

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  • josdave  |  December 05 2013, 4:24PM

    This shambles of a coalition is as out of touch with the electorate as I am with brain surgery. What's the betting the sheep of the Westcountry will carry on voting Lib Dem as if nothing has happened. My vote goes to UKIP as the only party committed to getting us out of the so called Union that is the EU. This costs us £50million a day just to belong, money which could be better spent getting us out of recession.

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  • Fatalist  |  December 05 2013, 1:34PM

    I'll never vote for the Tory party again. This budget won't sway voters. So many of us have had enough, let's hope there's either a large swing from Labour to UKIP or that labour get a majority and have learned from the borrow & spend culture of the Blair and Brown era.

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  • BrixhamDes  |  December 05 2013, 1:24PM

    Under this Coalition Government I am £1,800 a year worse off. Roll on 2015 when, after the Election, Osbourne will be forced to retire.

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  • D-Head  |  December 05 2013, 10:59AM

    I would have said 'move to Greece' where the retirement age until recently was 57 - and guess who paid for that? Now Greek retirement age has been increased to 65 as part of "austerity" measure s there. Retirement in this country will soon be 70-plus if we continue to fund the EU.

    Rate   5
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