Apart from changes to the workings of the ISA, there were very few surprises in Chancellor George Osborne’s latest budget.
The income tax threshold is to rise to £10,500, petrol duty will be frozen, as will duty on Scotch whisky and cider duty and beer – butthe price of cigarettes is to rise.
The main measures in the Budget were:
. A £500 rise in the income tax threshold to £10,500.
• An extra £140m for repairs and maintenance to flood defences and £200m for potholes.
• A scheme to increase exports by doubling the amount of finance available to £3bn
• Scrapping inheritance tax for members of the emergency services who “give their lives protecting us”
• A five-year cap on structural welfare spending from 2015, starting at £119bn and rising in line with inflation. It excludes pensions and Job Seekers Allowance
• Reform of air passenger duty so all long haul flights carry the same tax rate as currently charged for flights to USA.
• A new “garden city” at Ebbsfleet in addition to plans for 200,000 new homes
• Stamp duty on homes worth more £500,000 to rise to 15 per cent for those bought by companies, as part of tax avoidance measures