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Kim North: The chancellor’s headlines? Tax, housing, children, beer

Kim North

Even in these days of Twitter breaking over 40 per cent of all new news stories it was astounding that the Evening Standard was able to have the front page printed with correct Budget announcements before the Chancellor even stood up.

The childish Labour front bench waved copies of the Evening Standard during the Budget speech. The editor of the Evening Standard later apologised for this very serious leak.

There are complex anti-avoidance rules and pension changes to decipher, but what werethe headlines relevant to the majority of the UK public? I believe the list is tax, housing, children and beer.

Bringing forward the £10,000 personal allowance to April 2014 will lift 2.7 million people under 65 totally out of income tax and benefitting an estimated 24.5 million individuals by reducing their income tax bills.

Those running businesses or charities will be pleased with two announcements.

First the reduction to 20 per cent in corporation tax from April 2015 and secondly the ability to offset £2,000 per year against their employer NICs bill from April 2014.

Minutes after the Chancellor sat down, clients of mine were calling or emailing to find out if they would qualify for the interest-free Government loan for house purchase. They had heard the £3.5bn available over three years for shared equity under the Help to Buy scheme and about the mortgages guaranteed by the Government.

A few clients were disappointed when I told them it must be a new build home but they were also pleased that a 20 per cent interest free government loan can be advanced, subject to lending criteria.

I did continue to point out the conditions such as not being able to draw down equity, or change the conditions of the mortgage that are prevalent on shared equity mortgages.

My advice – don’t rush in for the interest free Help to Buy money without checking the finer details.

Whilst the new tax free childcare system will offer more support to parents than previously, children’s investments are to be consulted upon to allow transfers from child trust funds to Junior Isas. The sooner the better as the choice of funds is wider in Junior Isas than CTFs.

Looking at investments from a wider point of view, it is good news that stamp duty will be abolished for shares listed on Aim and the ISDX stockmarkets. Small companies’ share prices tend to rise more quickly than main markets stock as economies move out of recession.

The abolition of the stamp duty reserve tax on unit encashment in collective investment schemes may not be headline news but it means that the underlying value of a fund’s assets will slightly increase as from April 2014 there will be no need to pay an internal 0.5 per cent paperless stamp duty charge between fund managers and scheme trustees. This also helps with charges’ transparency which is one of the regulator’s over riding aims.

Kim North (kim@techandtech.co.uk) is director of guidetoadvice.co.uk

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