The Budget 2015:

Some of the things that were announced

We wanted to highlight a few of the main points of interest for us here. However, we can’t say we were too excited by the £250,000 pledged to new research in relation to the difficulties faced by urban seagulls!

Of particular interest, we have been tracking the improved press that peer-to-peer lending is getting. These are loans and financial products advanced by individuals mostly online, cutting out financial institutions (find out more about crowd-sourced loans here). Investments on these platforms are now permitted in ISA accounts. This is coupled with new rules that permit savers to withdraw money from an ISA and repay it in the same year; not losing their entitlement. We see this as the start of more reform to come in the alternative finance arena.

A few other budget highlights are outlined below:

  • corporation tax was cut to 20%
  • the government has pledged a £1.3bn package of support for the oil and gas industry. It is predicted that this will lead to an increase of £4bn of extra investment by 2020 with an associated increase in production by 15%
  • NS&I’s pensioner bonds will be available until May 2015. The original aim of £10bn allocated will have an uplift of £3.2bn of financing
  • a new personal savings allowance will be implemented from April 2016 which will not tax the first £1,000 of savings income for basic-rate taxpayers, and the first £500 for higher-rate taxpayers
  • after we saw the closure of many drinking establishments in the last few years, the budget set forth the third annual reduction that supports the industry, with 1p off a pint of beer and 2% cut on duty for Scotch and cider
  • the fuel duty increase that was expected to be in September has been delayed
  • we welcomed the doubling of UKTI resources in order to encourage exports to China. This works towards the growth target for the UK of 2.4% by 2019. We also can’t complain about the £600m to increase the speed of internet and phone calls
  • Osborne responded to the fallout from the HSBC scandal by allowing criminal charges for tax evasion
  • the tax free allowance has increased to £10,800 next year and £11,000 the year following. This is set to assist 27m people
  • the 40% rate of tax has increased to £43,300 in 2017-18. The Chancellor has expressed a desire to raise this to £50,000 with a tax free allowance of £12,500
  • a ‘Help to Buy’ ISA means that the Government will put £50 into every £200 saved, up to £15,000. This comes with a limit on the associated purchase price of the property of £250,000 or less outside London or £450,000 or less in London.