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UK Budget: UK Corporation Tax Slashed – But Not for Banks
CNBC.com | March 21, 2012 | 12:49 PM EDT

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced aggressive cuts to corporation tax as he pledged to make the UK more competitive in his second full budget Wednesday.

Britain’s corporation tax rate will fall to 24 percent from April and to 22 percent by 2014, ahead of previously announced plans.

The UK’s banks – blamed by many for the current economic downturn - will not benefit from the change, as their levy is raised to 0.105 percent from January.

Wealthy people trying to buy multimillion pound houses in the UK will face a 15 percent rate of stamp duty – a one-off transaction tax which will be much higher than the usual 5 percent - if they try to avoid the tax by buying property through a company. That 5 percent will rise to 7 percent from midnight on Wednesday, Osborne said.

“I regard tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance as morally repugnant,” Osborne said as he announced the new measure and pledged an increase in the number of staff working to close tax loopholes and stop tax avoidance.

He also announced a reduction in the top rate of income tax from 50 percent to 45 percent, which was widely expected.

Ed Miliband, leader of the opposition Labour Party, attacked the budget as "unfair" and "based on economic failure."

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