POLITICS

Budget 2014: At A Glance Guide

19/03/2014 14:11 GMT | Updated 19/03/2014 14:59 GMT
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Britain's Chancellor George Osborne poses for the media with the traditional red dispatch box outside his official residence at 11 Downing Street in London, as he departs to deliver his annual budget speech to the House of Commons, Wednesday, March 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

George Osborne pledged to share the benefits of economic recovery with pensioners and savers today as he delivered his penultimate Budget before the general election.

The Chancellor unveiled radical reforms to tax rules on retirement pots and new-style flexible ISAs where people can save up to £15,000 without the Treasury taking a cut, and he pushed up the personal income tax allowance to £10,500 next year.

Hailing the success of the coalition's austerity programme, Mr Osborne said UK plc would grow by a better than forecast 2.7% in 2014 and the government would be back in surplus by 2018-19.

Here's a breakdown of his main points:

PERSONAL TAX

:: Personal tax allowance to be raised to £10,500 next year; £800 average savings

:: Higher rate threshold for 40p income tax to rise from £41,450 to £41,865 next month and then by further 1% to £42,285 next year

:: Transferable tax allowance for married couples to rise to £1,050

TAX

:: 15% stamp duty on homes worth more than £500,000 bought through companies

:: Inheritance tax waived for emergency services personnel who "give their lives protecting us"

:: VAT waived on fuel for air ambulances and inshore rescue boats

:: Fuel duty rise planned for September cancelled

PENSIONS AND SAVINGS

:: All tax restrictions on pensioners' access to pension pots removed and tax on cash removed on retirement cut from

55% to 20%

:: Reform of taxation of defined contribution pensions to help 13 million people from March 27

::: Abolition of 10p starting rate of tax on income from savings

ECONOMY

:: GDP growth forecast to be 2.7% this year, then 2.3%, 2.6%, 2.6% and 2.5% in following years - making UK economy £16 billion bigger than predicted.

:: Deficit revised down to 6.6% this year, and forecast to fall in following years before going into surplus of 0.2% in 2018/19

:: Borrowing expected to be £108 billion this year - £12 billion less than forecast

:: Debt revised down to 74.5% of GDP this year; then predicted to peak at 78.7% in 2015/16 and fall to 74.2% by 2018

JOBS

:: OBR forecasts 1.5 million more jobs over the next five years and earnings to grow faster than inflation

:: Welfare cap set at £119 billion for 2015/16, rising to £127 billion by 2018/19, only state pension and cyclical unemployment benefits excluded

ENERGY

:: £7 billion package to cut energy bills includes £18 per ton cap on carbon price support, saving medium-sized manufacturers £50,000 and families £15 a year

:: Compensation scheme for energy intensive industries extended four years to 2019/20; £1 billion to protect manufacturers from cost of green levies

LEISURE

:: Tobacco duty to rise by 2% above inflation

:: Alcohol duty escalator scrapped

:: Duty on spirits and ordinary cider frozen. Beer duty cut by 1p a pint

:: Duty on fixed-odds betting terminals increased to 25%

:: Bingo duty halved to 10%.

:: 20% tax relief for theatre productions

INVESTMENT

:: £270 million guarantee approved for the Mersey Gateway bridge.

:: Support to build 200,000 homes.

:: Additional £140 million made available for repairs and maintenance to flood defences

BUSINESS

:: Business rate discounts and enhanced capital allowances in enterprise zones extended for three more years

:: Research and development tax credit for loss-making small businesses raised from 11% to 14.5%

:: Annual investment allowance doubled to £500,000 and extended to the end of 2015

George Osborne and his big red box