Budget deals with beer, houses and income tax rates

Chancellor George Osborne delivers his budget to the House of Commons in Westminster, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday March 20, 2013. Credit: PA Wire
Chancellor George Osborne delivers his budget to the House of Commons in Westminster, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday March 20, 2013. Credit: PA Wire

Chancellor George Osborne has unveiled his budget plans for the year ahead including a 1p cut in the price of beer.

The saving of a “penny in the pint” came alongside confirmation that duty increases will continue on other alcohol.

There was also a freeze in fuel duty increases - the chancellor said these freezes on fuel have saved 13p on the price of petrol.

It’s good news for pubs and drivers but also a positive outlook for people looking to buy a house as a new help-to-buy scheme was announced for those struggling to find mortgage deposits.

This will include £3.5bn for shared equity loans and a government interest-free loan worth 20% of the value of a newly-built home.

There will be a new mortgage guarantee, sufficient for £130bn of loans, to help people who cannot afford a big deposit.

From 2014 workers will not pay any income tax on the first £10,000 they earn. There was good news for employers with £2,000 taken off the National Insurance bill of every company in the UK - this means 450,000 small businesses will pay no employer National Insurance.

Corporation tax will be reduced by a one per cent to 20 per cent in April 2015 to show “Britain is open for business”.

The capital gains tax holiday is to be extended and new initiatives to tackle tax avoidance will generate £3bn in unpaid taxes.

There was also a move towards tax-free childcare

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “George Osborne has announced welcome relief for people struggling with the high cost of living. The cut in beer tax, the freeze in fuel duty and the higher personal allowance will all ease the pressure on family budgets. Lower Employers’ National Insurance and Corporation Tax will also be passed on to workers in higher wages.

“Unfortunately, the great limitation of this budget was that it relied far too much on complicated targeted reliefs instead of tax cuts across the board. Simpler, strategic tax reforms that reduce the overall burden would be fairer and do more to produce the stronger economy Britain needs.”

Government departments’ budgets will be cut by one per cent across the board except for health and schools while public sector pay will be capped at one per cent. Military personnel will receive their full recommended increase in May.

What do you make of the Budget? Get full local reaction in Friday’s Halifax Courier.