Announcing the biggest ever rise in the tax-free allowance, an increase of £1,100 which will let people earn up to £9,200 before being taxed, the Chancellor declared: “We are in touching distance of the goal of £10,000 personal allowance that we all share.” George Osborne spared 400,000 middle class families from child benefit cuts in a move today while handing another £3.5 billion in tax cuts to working families. The chancellor said the 50 per cent top tax rate would be dropped to 45p in the pound for those earning over £150,000 from April next year. He countered with a hike in stamp duty on homes worth over £2million from five per cent to seven per cent, while, in another measure personal tax allowances were increased to £9,205, saving individuals £220 each. Mr Osborne told MPs in the Commons: “This Budget supports working families and helps those looking for work. It unashamedly backs business. And it is on the side of aspiration: those who want to do better for themselves and for their families.“ Verdict: A great budget – but not keen on the fuel duty increase, though it would have been an extra 10p under Labour plans.