Chancellor George Osborne has delivered his fourth budget amidst news of continuing pressure on public finances and poor economic conditions. His “aspiration” budget has halved the growth forecast, but has also provided some good news for hard working people and the low paid, while putting in place measures to curb both tax avoidance and tax evasion.
The increase to £10,000 of the personal allowance (the annual income tax exemption) for people born after 5 April 1948, from April 2014 will be cheered.
Corporation tax will now be reduced to 20% from April 2015. This will be applicable to all companies with the distinction between the small profits rate and main rate abolished. This is remarkably low for an “onshore” economy. To some extent the banks are paying for this, with the Banking Levy increasing to 0.142% next year.
There are a cluster of measures intended to encourage the UK’s asset management industry including the scrapping of the SDRT charge on the surrender of units in collective investment schemes.