GEORGE Osborne’s last Budget before the General Election was a shamelessly political upbeat message.
The Chancellor ditched the gloom and insisted the Government has created a Britain that is “walking tall again”.
His most significant measures include:
1. Conservatives love home buyers. The Government will add £50 to every £200 put into savings funds for those trying to build up a deposit for their first home with a Help to Buy ISA.
The Chancellor said: “A 10% deposit on the average first home costs £15,000, so if you put in up to £12,000 – we’ll put in up to £3,000 more.”
It is available for homes worth up to £250,000, or £450,000 in London and the government money only gets handed over at the point the purchase
2. The Northern Powerhouse will be a core election campaign for the Tories. West Yorkshire’s devolution deal was confirmed, but the less than inspiring Leeds package was nothing compared to a Manchester handout. The Chancellor announced Greater Manchester councils that opted for a metro mayor will get control over all the extra business rates they create.
3. We’ll have more money in our pockets. The amount you can earn tax-free is to rise from £10,600 in 2014-5 to £10,800 in 2015-6 and £11,000 in 2016-7, a tax cut for 27 million.
4. We’re not out of the woods. £30bn worth of further savings that are necessary by 2017-18, but borrowing will keep falling and as we approach the end of the next parliament we’ll be at surplus point. Hopefully.
5. The usual rises are now the usual cuts and freezes. Beer duty was cut by 1p, cider by 2p, whisky by 2p. Wine duty was frozen. Petrol duty was also frozen as the Chancellor scrapped September’s planned increase.