Darling today presented the 2010 Budget which withheld his pledge to halve the deficit in four years. He provided means to cut the shortfall to 89 billion pounds by April 2014 from 167 billion this fiscal year. He also said that the deficit will fall to 163 billion next year on the way towards 74 billion pounds in 2014-15.

Darling announced his commitment to stick to spending plans for this fiscal year that starts next month. He forecasted for the deficit to run at 11.8% of the GDP this fiscal year and to fall to 11.1% in the following year and to 4.0% in 2014-15.

Regarding growth, he kept his December assessment intact for this year's growth at 1.0% to 1.5% this year and downgraded the expectations for 2011 for the economy to grow between 3.0% to 3.5% down from the previous for as much as 3.75%.

Darling reserved his plans to secure tax payer money as he said that they are going to sell their stake in Lloyds, RBS and Northern Rock in means that maximize return on the money invested by the government to secure the utmost interest of tax payers. He added to the parliament saying that the Treasury has already received more than 8 billion pounds in fees and charges from the banks, in return for our support.

Of other highlights in the Budget report today, Darling extended a helping hand for the suffering housing sector, extending the tax break for first time buyers to houses below 250,000 pounds doubling it from 125,000 pound, which according to Darling 9 in 10 first time buyers will pay no stamp duty while compensating that with higher levy on more expensive properties.

This measure will start from midnight tonight for this year and next, while the counterbalance included raising stamp duty to 5% on residential properties that are over 1 million pounds from April next year.