CHANCELLOR Gordon Brown today unveiled a budget setting aside huge amounts of cash for the post-war reconstruction of Iraq.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Brown said that Britain must be committed to helping Iraq recover from the conflict.

*Job centres are to be given discretionary powers to allow jobseekers early entry into the Government's New Deal programme. *Young offenders to be offered job training while in custody - with the promise of a job when released. *Weekly signing-on for long-term unemployed out of a job longer than 13 weeks. *Incapacity benefit up £19 a week. *Looking at education, Mr Brown said that eight million adults did not have basic qualifications. *£170 million extra for training while at work. *Work permits in construction to be extended. *Signalling more help for lone parents looking to get back into work, Mr Brown promised: £20 a week for lone parents' job search, along with work preparation courses for lone parents. *Tax credits to raise minimum income to over £220 a week for working lone parents who have two children. Mr Brown said that employment of lone parents had risen to "54 per cent". On the economy, Mr Brown said that regional inflation figures would be published. He said that Britain was "a leader in enterprise". An assessment on tests to see whether Britain should enter the Euro were to be published in June, the chancellor said. Mr Brown also vowed to continue investment in public services. *Borrowing this year was expected to hit £27 billion. But net borrowing should drop to £22 billion by 2007. *The borrowing focecast was revised to £24 billion for 2004/5. *Mr Brown promised that more public sector jobs would be relocated to regions. *There was also to be a review of home loans and supply. *More help promised for regional economies. *To encourage new business creation, enterprise advisors will be appointed in local schools. From April 2005, local authorities and central Government will share "receipts" from business creation. *8p on a packet of 20 cigarettes *The fixed rate mortgage market will be examined. *Mr Brown moved to freeze stamp duty on homes and the exemption was extended on business properties from £60,000 to £100,000. Mr Brown also said that there would be a curb placed on stamp duty avoidance. *Simplified guidance will be presented for those dealing with the data protection act. *New paternity rights, including the first ever paternity pay. *Capital gains tax frozen. The climate change levy was also frozen. *1p rise on pint of beer. 4p on a bottle of wine. Duties on sparkling wine and cider frozen. *Sixth budget in a row to freeze all spirit duties. The longest freeze for 50 years. *Bingo tax abolished and replaced with a gross tax on company profits of bingo firms of 15 per cent. *Fuel tax deferred until October. *Lorry tax frozen as was duty on motorbikes. *Car tax to rise with inflation. *Growth forecast between three per cent and 3.5 per cent in 2004/5. *"New guarantees" for babies and OAPs. *Extra scientific research credits aiding research and development to keep Britain at the leading edge of discovery. *Extra help for small businesses with three new tax relief measures. *Firms with turnover under £56,000 will be exempt from paying VAT. *A total of £240 million will be handed to the United Nations to aid humanitarian work in Iraq. *He put aside £3 billion into a special reserve to allow the Ministry of Defence to "continue to properly equip" the armed forces operating in the Middle East. *He also moved to counter International poverty and debt saying: "It is time for the world's richest countries to fulfil their obligations to the poorest." *He also set aside £330 million to help the Ministry of Defence combat the threat from terrorism in Britain. *Domestically, Mr Brown promised 80,000 more nurses and 25,000 more doctors by 2008 than recorded in 1997. He said increases in National Insurance contributions would pay for the extra staff. *Inflation was targeted at 2.5 per cent, maintaining current economic trends.
Speaking of the successes of the last financial year, Mr Brown said that, in the last quarter of 2002, 1.5 million new jobs had been created in Britain. *Domestic growth in the next financial year was forecast to be between two per cent and 2.5 per cent.