Budget: The impact on people and households

By Ian Pollock
Personal finance reporter, BBC News

image captionThe average household will be about £400 worse off

The tax and welfare changes in George Osborne's first Budget are the most dramatic for more than 20 years.

For instance, the rise in VAT to 20% will raise £2.9bn this tax year and will eventually raise an extra £13.5bn by the year 2014-15.

On the other hand, the personal income tax allowance is going to rise by £1,000.

But with numerous changes to other taxes and welfare benefits - some in favour of taxpayers and claimants - how will the average individual or family be affected?

Income tax

For the first time, the Treasury has published such an analysis in its traditional Budget document, the Red Book.

Although simplified, it makes interesting read.

Looking at individuals under the age of 65 who pay both income tax and national insurance, it compares the position now (2010-11) to the next tax year (2011-12).

And it shows (in Table A1 on page 64 of the Budget, if you are interested) that only once your income gets near to £50,000 will you be worse off as a result of the tax and national insurance changes announced by Mr Osborne.

Up to that point your tax and national insurance bill will be lower, though not by a large amount.

The biggest gainers are those on the lowest incomes.

Someone earning just £10,000 a year will save £375; someone on £30,000 will save £135; but someone on £75,000 will pay an extra £465.

As for tax credits, the impact of changes there means that all families who claim it, and who earn up to £20,000 (with one child aged over one year and no entitlement to baby, childcare or disability elements) will be modest gainers.

The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) said some of the poorest earners would receive very little benefit at all from the extra £1,000 in personal tax allowance.

"Some beneficiaries of this change will be in receipt of means-tested benefits, entitlement to which is based on after-tax income.

"Therefore, taking them out of tax will decrease their benefits entitlement, thus affecting their overall cash position.

"For those on means-tested benefits (such as housing benefit or council tax benefit) the £200 saving (£1000 at 20% basic rate tax) can be reduced down to less than a £1 a week," it pointed out.

Overall effect

The Red Book also takes a stab at combining the effect of changes to tax (including raising VAT to 20%), tax credits and benefits.

Chart A1 (on page 66 of the Budget) reveals that from 2012, when many of the tax credit changes kick in, there will be a negative effect on all households, even the poorest.

The lowest income groups, the bottom 30%, will lose less than £200 a year each.

But the impact rises gently and then accelerates once a household is earning more than £38,400.

They will lose more than £600 that year while the highest earning 10% of the nation's households - those on £49,700 or more - will lose nearly £1,600.

Rich and poor

Another analysis presented by the Treasury measures the impact of the various changes as a percentage of net household income.

And this Chart A2 (on page 67 of the Budget) tells a different story - and we show a version of the chart at the bottom of this page.

Once again the wealthiest 10% of households will see the greatest percentage of their income taken away - 2%.

But the poorest 10%, earning less than £14,200 a year, will lose 1.25% of their income, mainly because they will be hardest hit by the VAT increases.

That is a bigger impact than on the next 70% of households, who will lose between 0.75% and 1.2% of their incomes to help plug the government's spending gap.

"Those who will be hardest hit by these policies are therefore the lowest income families with very young children, and middle income families with children who find their tax credit eligibilility has been reduced as a result of the eligibility thresholds being lowered," said the TUC.

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