Tenders Direct Blog

Comment from the experts at Tenders Direct.

Key highlights of March 2014 Budget announcements

Posted by Alastair Caithness on March 19, 2014

UK Chancellor George Osborne delivered his annual Budget speech in Parliament today.

The key points were:

  • OBR growth forecast revised upwards, to 2.7% in 2014, 2.3% in 2015 and 2.6% the following two years, with 2.5% predicted in 2018. The forecast for underlying cash borrowing has been revised downwards, with a small surplus expected in 2018-19.
  • Confirmation that a new £1 coin will be introduced in 2017.
  • Charter for Budget Responsibility to be brought forward in Autumn.
  • Structural welfare cap to be set at £119bn in 2015-16 rising with inflation. A vote will take place next week.
  • HMRC budget for addressing tax non-compliance to be increased with more powers to collect from bank accounts.
  • VAT on fuel for air ambulances to be removed.
  • Inheritance tax for those in emergency services “who give their lives protecting us” to be waived.
  • 15% stamp duty on purchase of residential property by companies to be expanded to cover those valued over £500,000.
  • All long haul flight to carry Band B tax rate for Air Passenger Duty from 2015 and new start-up support for routes from regional airports.
  • Lending for exporters to double to £3bn with interest rates for exporters to be cut by a third.
  • Help to Buy scheme in England to be extended to 2020.
  • Forecast for North Sea oil receipts revised downwards with new allowances to support North Sea investment.
  • Extension of grants for small businesses to support apprenticeships, the annual investment allowance for companies doubled to £500,000 and extended to end of 2015, and business rates discounts and enhanced capital allowances to be extended in enterprise zones for three years.
  • A £7bn package to reduce energy bills for manufacturers including a capping of the Carbon Price support rate from 2016-17, an extension of the compensation scheme for energy intensive industries to 2019-20, and new compensation to protect against the increase costs of the Renewables Obligation and Feed-In Tariffs.
  • The fuel duty rise planned for September will no longer take place.
  • Bingo duty cut to 10% and duty to be raised on fixed odds betting terminals.
  • Alcohol duty escalator to be scrapped, a freeze in duty on whisky and cider and a further cut to beer duty of 1p.
  • Tobacco duty to increase by 2% above inflation.
  • Income tax personal allowance to increase to £10,500 from April 2015.
  • Confirmation of an increase in the maximum tax-free childcare support available to £2,000 per year per child.
  • £140m of funding to repair flood defences.
  • Reform of ISAs into a simpler product with an increase in annual limits to £15,000.
  • Cap on investments in Premium Bonds to be lifted to £40,000.
  • Changes to pensions including a new requirement for guidance on pension choices for those retiring with a defined contribution pension pot, a reduction in the guaranteed income required to access savings flexibility, and an increase in the total savings that can be taken as a lump sum. A new pensioner bond is also to be launched in January 2015 and legislation to remove remaining tax restrictions on pensioner access to pension pots is planned.
  • Abolition of 10% rate on savings income and an increase in the amount of savings to benefit to £5,000 from April 2015.

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