Final nail: MPs launch stinging attack on Budget 2012

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Osborne's Budget has not been well received by the press or the public.
Osborne's Budget has not been well recieved by the press or the public.

The Treasury committee hammered the final nail into the coffin of Budget 2012 this morning with a highly critical report raising serious concerns about the document.

The report from the influential group of MPs comes after weeks of negative headlines, including rows over the 50p top rate of income tax and new financial burdens on pasties, grannies and philanthropy.

Contrary to George Osborne's assertion that the 50p top rate of income tax was not bringing in enough money to warrant its existence, MPs said the benefits of reducing the rate to 45p were "highly uncertain".

The ramifications of the move "could be significantly more or less than the cost included in the Budget", they added.

Mr Osborne's promise to act "without notice and retrospectively" against people seeking to avoid stamp duty was harshly criticised in the report.

"Retrospective tax legislation conflicts with the principles of tax policy recommended by this Committee and with those laid down by the chancellor," MPs said.

"We therefore have serious reservations about retrospection in the tax system."

MPs also attacked the timing of the post-Budget Commons debate, saying the way the second reading of the bill was scheduled was "highly unsatisfactory" and suggesting the Budget be moved to earlier in the year in the future.

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