George Osborne will make a pitch to ordinary working people in his budget speech today, along with an official announcement of major development plans for Ebbsfleet.

A proposal to build four new villages with 15,000 news homes across the Eastern Quarry grabbed the headlines in the run-up to the Chancellor’s speech.

And at 12.30pm in the House of Commons he is expected to unveil a further rise in the personal allowance above the £10,000 level promised by the coalition, and confirm childcare subsidies among other measures to help those on lower and middle-incomes.

Mr Osborne is widely expected to maintain the freeze on fuel duty, and has also been under pressure to avoid increasing tax on wine and spirits - after scrapping the duty escalator on beer last year.

An eye-catching move to replace the existing pound coin with a thruppeny bit style design will also be unveiled.

Though the prevailing message is expected to be “steady as she goes”, potential surprises include:

• pushing up the level at which National Insurance contributions start being paid

• raising the threshold for the 40 per cent tax rate

• encouraging employment by extending the £2,000 NI allowance for firms who take on staff.

Are you more optimistic about the budget this year or do you expect to be worse off by the end of the day? Let us know your thoughts below.