Given that George Osborne announced that his 2013 UK budget would be fiscally neutral, the Chancellor didn’t have much to play with. Despite this he managed to put several useful measures into it. It is good for British business that Corporation Tax is coming down to 20%, the lowest of any major economy. It is good, too, that the threshold at which people start to pay income tax is being raised to £10,000 next year, a year earlier than promised. I really like the new National Insurance Allowance in which the state lets firms off the first £2000 of National Insurance (payroll tax). This will mean that 450,000 small firms are taken out of this tax altogether.
On a more popular level there are moves to help new home-buyers with extra mortgage lending, shared equity schemes, and interest free loans of up to 20% of the value of new-builds. I’m glad the impending 3% fuel duty rise is scrapped, and April’s rise of 3p on a pint of beer is scrapped in favour of a 1p reduction. And the tax allowance on investment in shale gas will do more for our future energy supply than all of the subsidized windmills that have disfigured our landscape.
This is actually quite a good budget in the circumstances. It’s a pro-growth budget, and is certainly very much better than I expected.
Filed under: Updates |