Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne poses for the media with his traditional red dispatch box outside his official residence at No 11 Downing Street in London, as he departs to deliver his annual budget speech to the House of Commons, Wednesday, March 21, 2012. Later on Wednesday, George Osborne, the U.K.'s finance minister, will unveil his budget, the annual update of the state of the country's economy and the coalition government's plans for taxation and spending for the year. This time round, attention has focused on what Osborne is going to do with the "50p" tax, political shorthand for the 50 percent top-rate income tax, on annual income above 150,000 pounds ($238,000). (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
TAX CUT: Britain's finance minister has cut the income tax rate for the country's wealthiest citizens — those making more than 150,000 pounds, or about $240,000 a year — from 50 percent to 45 percent.
STRINGS ATTACHED: A raft of new measures to prevent tax avoidance includes a new 7 percent charge on sales of homes worth more than 2 million pounds, about $3.2 million.
THE BIG PICTURE: Overall, the budget measures were neutral. The government is constrained by its primary plan to reduce borrowing and by credit agency warnings that the country's ratings could slip if its finances don't improve.