LONDON, March 18 (Xinhua) -- Britain's Chancellor George Osborne Wednesday unveiled the final budget before the general election which included a better economic outlook and tax cuts for the North Sea oil and gas industry.
According to the budget, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) revised up its forecast for Britain growth in 2015 from 2.4 percent to 2.5 percent and in 2016 from 2.2 percent to 2.3 percent.
Besides, the OBR predicts a growth of 2.3 percent in 2017, which would rise to 2.4 percent in 2019.
Osborne said: "Britain grew faster than any other major advanced economy in the world last year. That is fifty percent faster than Germany, three times faster than the eurozone, and seven times faster than France."
Many data which were revealed today showed British economy was growing steadily.
The OBR revised down its forecast for the unemployment rate in 2015 from 5.4 percent to 5.3 percent. The office also predicted unemployment rate would fall to 5.2 percent in 2016.
In terms of business investment, the office forecast it would increase 5.1 percent in 2015 and 7.5 percent in 2016.
Besides, the country will reach a budget surplus of 5.2 billion pounds in 2018-2019, almost 1 billion pounds more than it forecast in December 2014.
OIL TAX CUTS
According to the Budget, the Petroleum Revenue Tax (PRT) was cut from 50 percent to 35 percent while the supplementary charge for oil companies was cut from 30 percent to 20 percent.
Osborne said the measures were worth a combined 1.3 billion pounds and were expected to boost North Sea oil production by 15 percent by the end of the decade.
The government would also provide 20 million pounds of funding for a program of seismic surveys to boost offshore exploration in under-explored areas of the Britain continental shelf.
Some analysts pointed out that it was good news for energy sector. The falling oil prices have hammered the British oil and gas sector. Hundreds of job have been lost as companies cut back for the rising production costs and the falling oil price.
The measures of tax cuts were hoped to promote investment in incremental projects in older fields and extend the life of key infrastructure.