Overall, the Budget confirmed £17b tax and spending savings with a view to putting the economy in surplus by 2019/20.
Tax and Pension Key Points
Personal allowance for income tax to rise to £11,000 next year and £12,500 by 2020, so that people working 30 hours a week on the minimum wage do not pay income tax.
Q2 saw global equities fall by over 5% in sterling terms. Concerns surrounding Greece’s debt repayments and the future of the Eurozone weighed on world markets, particularly towards the end of the quarter.
There is no doubt that domestic markets are prepared for some sort of coalition as no majority outcome is likely.
It has been a very good quarter for investors, despite the downside risks. Global equities were given a huge boost in January as the ECB announced its significant quantitative easing (QE) program which began in March. This helped the FTSE World Index gain over 5% in Q1.
Pension Freedoms Confirmed
Pension freedom and choice will go ahead as expected on 6 April 2015. The new pension freedoms will allow pensions to be drawn using Flexi-Access Drawdown without any maximum limit each year.
The personal allowance and higher rate threshold for 2015/16 will remain at £10,600 and £42,385 respectively, as announced in December 2014.
Inheritance tax (IHT) threshold unchanged at £325,000. Many commentators had expected an increase in the Nil Rate Band, but this speculation was unfounded.
VCTs and EIS will no longer be able to invest in a company that is more than 12 years old, except where the investment will lead to a substantial change in the company's activity, or where where the total investment represents more than 50 per cent of turnover averaged over the preceding five years.
New fully Flexible ISAs will allow savers from Autumn 2015 to withdraw from their Cash ISA and reinvest into it in the same year without any loss of tax benefits.