Brown announces tax rises for travellers

Gordon Brown has delivered his tenth pre-budget statement with increased taxes on car and air travel.Fuel duty will go up from 1.25p a litre from midnight tonight, but the chancellor said he had no plans for automatic rises in tax on petrol.

Gordon Brown has delivered his tenth pre-budget statement with increased taxes on car and air travel.

Fuel duty will go up from 1.25p a litre from midnight tonight, but the chancellor said he had no plans for automatic rises in tax on petrol.

From February flyers will pay double the current air passenger duty, meaning tax on most flights will be £10 rather than £5.

But he delivered a green sweetener too, with a temporary scraping of stamp duty on “zero carbon” new homes.

The Government hopes to make all new homes “zero carbon” by 2016 and 300,000 households will be offered free insulation and free central heating.

Planning rules in England will change in favour of major infrastructure projects, with applicants carrying out local consultation and a new independent planning commission deciding whether to grant permission.

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In other areas the basic state pension will go up 3.6pc in April and the pension credit minimum guarantee will increase by £5 for single people or £7.65 for couples.

From 2009, child benefit will be extended to expectant mothers from week 29 of pregnancy.

In education, spending on buildings and equipment next year will be £8.3bn with rises in direct payments to schools.

Former CBI boss Sir Digby Jones is to advise the Government on skills training, and universities will get £60m for applied research.

The Chancellor has ditched plans to scrap tax-free individual savings accounts from 2010, with other changes to make the accounts simpler.

Government departments will have to switch spending from administration to front line services, and there is extra cash for education, defence and intelligence.

Trading standards officers will get new powers to tackle film and music piracy and consumers will get a new right of “personal copying” to enable them to switch between formats. There will also be a new tax break for the British film industry.

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