UK Politics

Key points of Budget 2015: At-a-glance

George Osborne has delivered his sixth Budget as chancellor, and the last of the current Parliament. Here is a summary of the key announcements in his statement.

The state of the economy

UK grew 2.6% in 2014, faster than any other advanced economy but lower than 3% predicted in December

2.5% growth forecast in 2015, up from 2.4% predicted in December, followed by 2.3%, 2.3%, 2.3% and 2.4% in the next four years

Record employment in the UK, with jobless rate to fall to 5.3% this year

Trade deficit figures "the best for 15 years"

Living standards "higher" than in May 2010, according to OBR data, with households better off by an average of £900 in last five years

Inflation projected to fall to 0.2% in 2015


Public borrowing/deficit/spending

Deficit halved since 2010 as a share of national income

Borrowing set to fall from £97.5bn in 2013-14 to £90.2bn in 2014-15, £75.3bn in 2015-6, £39.4bn in 2016-7, £12.8bn in 2017-8 before reaching a £5.2bn surplus in 2018-9

Debt as a share of GDP to fall from 80.4% in 2014 to 80.2% in 2015-16 before falling in every year, reaching 71.6% in 2019-20

Additional £30bn savings needed in next Parliament

Public spending squeeze to end a year earlier than planned in 2019-2020, with spending from then to grow in line with total economic growth

Welfare bills set to be an average of £3bn lower each year than predicted in December, and interest charges on government gilts £35bn lower

Sale of £13bn Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley mortgage assets


Pensions

The lifetime allowance for pension savings that can be accumulated free of tax will be cut from £1.25m to £1m from April 2016, saving £600m annually

Pensioners will be able to trade in their annuities for cash pots, with the 55% tax charge abolished and tax applied at the marginal rate

Widows of police officers and firefighters who choose to marry again will have their existing pensions protected


Alcohol, tobacco and gambling and fuel

Beer duty cut by 1p a pint and cider by 2p. 2% cut in excise duty on scotch whisky and other spirits while wine duty frozen

No changes to tobacco and gambling taxes, with tobacco duties set to rise by 2% above inflation, equivalent to 16p on a packet of 20 cigarettes.

New "horse racing betting right" to replace the 50-year old horserace betting levy on British bookmakers

Petrol duty frozen - September's planned increase cancelled


Personal taxation

The tax-free personal allowance to rise from £10,600 in 2015-6 to £10,800 in 2016-7 and £11,000 in 2017-8

The threshold at which people start paying 40p income tax to rise by above inflation from £42,385 in 2014-5 to £43,300 in 2017-8

Annual paper tax returns to be abolished, replaced by digital accounts.

Transferable tax allowance for married couples to rise to £1,100

Class two national insurance contributions for self-employed to be abolished in next Parliament

Review of inheritance tax avoidance through "deeds of variation"


Savings

New personal savings allowance - first £1,000 interest on savings income to be tax-free for basic rate taxpayers and £500 allowance for 40p tax ratepayers.

Annual savings limit for ISAs increased to £15,240

"Fully flexible" ISA will allow savers to withdraw money and put it back later in the year without losing any of their tax-free allowance

New "Help to Buy" ISA for first-time buyers will allow government to top up by £50 every £200 saved for a deposit


Armed forces

A further £75m from Libor fines to go to charities for regiments which fought in Afghanistan and government to contribute towards permanent memorial to those who died in Afghanistan and Iraq and help renovate Battle of Britain memorials

£25m to support army veterans, including nuclear test veterans


Business

Tax on "diverted profits" to come into effect next month, aimed at multinational firms moving profits "artificially offshore"

Annual bank levy to rise to 0.21%, raising an extra £900m. Banks to be barred from deducting compensation for mis-selling from corporation tax

Supplementary charge on North Sea oil producers to be cut from 30% to 20% while petroleum revenue tax to fall from 50% to 35%. New tax allowance to encourage investment in North Sea

Review of business rates

Automatic gift aid limit for charities to be extended to £8,000

Farmers allowed to average incomes for tax purposes over five years

New tax credit for orchestras and consultation on tax relief for local newspapers


Health and education

Consultation on proposal to offer loans of up to £25,000 for UK students studying for PhDs and research-based master's degrees.

Mental health services to get £1.25bn in extra funding


Housing/infrastructure/transport/regions

£15m church repair roof fund to be trebled

Up to £600m to clear new spectrum bands for auction to improve mobile networks: commitment to deliver ultra-fast broadband to all homes

New powers for Mayor of London over skills and planning

Greater Manchester councils to be allowed to keep 100% of growth in business rates

New inter-city rail franchise for south west of England

Toll for Severn river crossings to be reduced from 2018

Consultation on £1bn "tidal lagoon" in Swansea Bay to generate green energy