BUDGET SPECIAL

Good news for all whose dreams of moving to France have been put on hold thanks to the global recession. It looks like the UK is heading for recovery at last. According to chancellor Alistair Darling, the UK will climb its way out of this financial quagmire by the end of the year.

"The IMF forecasts published today confirm the problems that all countries will face this year. But they also show that the British economy will suffer less than Germany, less than Japan, less than Italy, and less than the euro area as a whole this year. The British economy is diverse, flexible and resilient - which is why we can be confident in recovery,” said the chancellor, thrilling Francophiles everywhere, who will no doubt be watching the exchange rate like a hawk over the next few months, ready to pounce the instant sterling looks set to recover its lost ground against the euro.

In his 2009 budget, Darling announced a number of measures designed to spur on the UK housing market’s nascent signs of recovery – meaning that you might be able to sell up and move to France this year after all. The chancellor announced the extension of the stamp duty holiday for properties under �175,000, the introduction of guarantees for mortgage-backed securities to help ease the credit freeze and �500m to kickstart building on stalled housing projects. There will also be money for energy-efficient housing.