Budget – Key Points & Reaction

Update – Thurs 19 March:  A more detailed breakdown, by subject/policy area, is available here.

Key Budget Points – March 2015

  1. Corporation tax cut to 20% in two weeks
  2. “Help to buy ISA” for first-time buyers. Every £200 saved for deposit, govt gives £50 top-up
  3. Personal savings allowance takes 95% out of tax
  4. September’s fuel duty increase cancelled
  5. Abolish employers’ NICs for under-21s (April 2015), and young apprentices (April 2016)
  6. Class 2 NICs (self-employed) abolished in next parliament
  7. Annual tax return abolished altogether
  8. Greater tax credits for film and TV; consultation on tax support for local newspapers
  9. Tax-free allowance to £10,800 April 2016 and £11,000 April 2017
  10. Devolution deal for West Yorkshire
  11. More jobs created in Yorkshire than in France
  12. 1p off a pint; cider duty cut by 2%;  spirits cut by 2%;  wine duty frozen
  13. Pension pot lifetime allowance reduced from £1.25m to £1m, saves £600m annually
  14. Minimum Wage rise by 20p to £6.70 from October
  15. Review on use of deeds of variation to avoid inheritance tax
  16. Up to £600m to clear new spectrum bands to improve mobile coverage inc. rural areas
  17. Funding for wifi in public libraries and new national plan for ultra-fast broadband
  18. Automotive industry to receive £100m to invest in driverless technology
  19. Eight new enterprise zones across Britain
  20. North Sea oil industry to receive £1.3bn in support through four new measures.
  21. Tax avoidance measures to raise £3.1bn
  22. ‘Google tax’ (on multinationals shifting profits offshore (from April)
  23. Economy grew by 2.6% last year
  24. 2015 growth forecast = 2.5%; unemployment to fall to 5.3%.
  25. 2015 inflation forecast down to 0.2%.
  26. Sale of £13bn of mortgage assets (held by government after Northern Rock/B&B bail-out) to reduce national debt
  27. Bank levy increased to 0.21%, raising extra £900m p.a. New banking taxes to raise £5.3bn across forecast period.
  28. Farmers can average their incomes for tax purposes over five years.

Andrew Lindsay, Chair of West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce said:

“It’s obviously a very unpredictable time, both domestically and internationally, and businesses do not like that.  They want stability, sustainable public finances and good prospects for growth.  The Chancellor’s focus on business growth and prosperity will be welcomed.  Maintaining fiscal discipline while pursuing deficit reduction and yet supporting growth is clearly a delicate act.  Lower business taxes, allowances for investment, and targeted support for some sectors and small companies all contribute to confidence, investment and job creation.

“In particular, we welcome the growth forecasts, the abolition of employers’ NICs for under-21s, and the cancellation of the scheduled fuel duty escalator this year.  Conversely, we’re disappointed that there was no commitment to maintaining the annual investment allowance at its current level.”

Mike Cartwright of the Chamber added:  “We’re still hopeful that a commitment to the annual investment allowance will be picked up later in the year, perhaps in the Autumn Statement. It would give businesses greater certainty with regards to investment.”

In other specific areas covered in the Budget, the Chamber has the following comments:


“It is good to see more resource put in place to boost Britain’s burgeoning exports into the Chinese market, and to fund additional trade missions, which help many companies get into markets for the first time. We hope the Chancellor will now look at ramping up support in many more emerging markets.”

Apprenticeship funding

“Firms need a system that is simple, flexible and easy to use – with a range of funding options to cater to companies with different needs.  It’s right to give employers more purchasing power when it comes to apprenticeship funding, as this will help ensure apprenticeships are delivered to an ever-higher standard. The voucher system announced today appears to be a step in the right direction.”

Access to Finance

“Access to finance remains a major black spot for business growth, so the Help to Grow scheme, announced by the PM at national conference recently, is a real step forward – and demonstrates that ministers recognise the difficulties facing fast-growing firms.   However, if our most promising businesses are to reach their potential – and become future business champions – even more needs to be done, including increasing competition in banking, better access to bond and equity markets, and delivering a British Business Bank at a scale that can match the ambitions of our future wealth creators. “