March 3 2015 Latest news:
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Chancellor George Osborne delivered his budget in just under one hour at the House of Commons this lunchtime, promising to help savers, reduce deficit and continue economic growth.
“If you are a maker, a doer or a saver - this budget is for you,” he said - met by loud cheers.
Major reforms to the pension system were announced, with people no longer needing to buy an annuity and being “trusted to look after their own pensions”.
The chancellor announced the lump sum people can withdraw from their pensions is rising from £18,000 to £30,000 and a new requirement for pension providers to make sure that everyone retiring with a defined contribution pension pot receives free and impartial face-to-face advice on the choices available to them.
Savers benefit from the stocks and shares and cash ISAs being merged and the total annual allowance going up to £15,000.
These are called the New ISAs - or NISAs - and will be reformed on July 1 this year.
The cap on investments in Premium Bonds will also be lifted - from £30,000 to £40,000 and then to £50,000 next year.
There was good news for the bingo industry - thanks to lobbying from Waveney MP Peter Aldous, who was name checked in the Budget speech, with the rate of bingo duty reducing to 10pc from June 30.
The duty rate on beer will reduce by 2pc on general beer and 6pc on low-strength beer, with rates for tobacco going up by 2pc.
But there were warnings that austerity had to continue in order to improve the economy - and the chancellor announced “restraints” would continue in the public sector.
He said difficult decisions would be made on public sector pay and pensions and there would be a cap on welfare bills.
“We will fix the roof when the sun is shining,” Mr Osborne said.
“There will be cuts in the next Parliament too.”
See tomorrow’s paper for in depth coverage of the 2014 Budget.