The Chancellor showed a true amount of nationalistic pride in the many messages about how well the UK is doing compared with the US, Europe and even Japan. Are we encouraged? Forgive the cynacism but what country is the Chancellor living in if he thinks we are not in the midst of a recession?
There was little of substance and not much to get your teeth into. To touch on pensions in one sentence sets the agenda for financial services – unless one takes the reference to moving civil servants outside London to extend to the FSA staff!
The Child Trust fund is a positive measure. Some funding to help a child at the start of their adult life has to be good. Often parents and grandparents want to pay small amounts towards a child's future and this could be the vehicle. Couple that with bringing it into the Sandler suite of products and the attraction increases. But a word of caution. As with stakeholder pensions, these plans will attract wealth from high-net-worth individuals and hence will not increase savings, simply redistribute them. Not the original brief given to Sandler.
For socially responsible investment there is comfort with more measures to protect the environment. Reduced tax on bioethanol fuel and packages to improve waste management should impact positively on sri funds.
The measly increase to the IHT threshold was to be expected. Small comfort for those estates caught in this trap even if in percentage terms they are small in number. Five per cent of estates paying this tax may not be significant, but can damage cascading wealth irrevocably. However any art works taken in taxes would help the Chancellor in his aim to keep works of culture in the public eye.
So the worthy duel aims of Enterprise and Fairness lost much in translation to what was a pretty non event Budget. IFA clients will have little to shout about. Directly the extra 1 per cent on National Insurance will reduce their take home pay at a stroke and there was no stay of execution on this measure.