Budget 2015: winners and losers

Published by Mark King on 18 March 2015.
Last updated on 19 March 2015

Winners and losers

George Osborne's sixth budget was reasonably muted, with none of the shock value of last year's announcements on pensions. That said, there will be many winners and losers from the many policies and consultations he revealed.

Here's our rundown of who benefited the most from the 2015 Budget – and who lost out.

Click here to read the Chancellor's speech in full

WINNERS

First-time buyers

With many families struggling to get onto the property ladder due to sky-high deposits, the Chancellor's Help to Buy Isa will help potential buyers put money aside for a future home.

The maximum amount that can be saved into the Isa will be £12,000 and the government will then top this up by a further £3,000 (or £50 for every £200 saved). It will apply to each person, so a couple will be able to get up to £6,000 towards the purchase price of their dream home.

Savers

Cash Isas will become fully-flexible from the autumn, with tax-free withdrawals allowed, while the new personal savings allowance will see the first £1,000 of interest you earn on savings be exempt from tax (falling to £500 for higher-rate taxpayers).

Pensioners

The five million pensioners already locked into an annuity (often at bitterly disappointing rates) might be pleased at Osborne's confirmation that the government is launching a consultation into allowing people to cash in their annuities in return for a lump sum, from April 2016. This would give retirees the same freedoms as prospective retirees will have over their pension income from this April.

Drinkers

A penny off a pint for the third consecutive year, duty cut by 2% on spirits and cider, while duty on wine has been frozen - what's not to like?

Motorists

The fuel duty increase, which was set to take place in September, has been cancelled, making ti five years in a row drivers have faced no fuel duty increase.

The low-paid

It was confirmed that the National Minimum Wage will be increasing by 20p to £6.70 an hour from October, while apprentices' wage will also rise by 20% to £3.30 an hour. Moreover, the personal allowance has been raised to £10,600 from April.

The self-employed

Individuals and small businesses both face a lot less red tape after the government announced it would abolish the current annual tax return system in favour of an ongoing digital tax return. Joy for people who have to file self-assessment tax returns.

LOSERS

Families

The government announced little to help the average family (although low-earners will benefit from the raised personal allowance).

Osborne failed to tweak the Tories' much-maligned child benefit rule whereby, currently, if either one of a married couple earns over £50,000 they have to start repaying their child benefit – whereas if both earn £49,999 they are entitled to keep all of it. Changing this rule could have won Osborne the family vote in May's election.

Also, the chancellor did nothing to help families facing an inheritance tax (IHT) bill, as some people had hoped. He could have raised the threshold at which you begin paying IHT (at 40%) from its current £325,000. However, there remains speculation Osborne will make an announcement on this closer to the election to secure last-minute votes.

Tax evaders

People who have been using 'deeds of variation' to avoid paying IHT will face a probe. The government will also close loopholes to make sure that Entrepreneurs Relief is only available to those selling genuine stakes in businesses and will issue more accelerated payments notices to those who owe tax.

Wealthy pension savers

People who can afford to max-out their pension will have been disappointed at the news that the lifetime allowance (the maximum you can contribute, while retaining tax benefits, to a pension) is being cut from £1.25 million to £1 million.

People reliant on benefits

While the chancellor said the squeeze in public spending will end a year earlier than he expected, it remains the case that there are still cuts in services (and no doubt benefits) to come.

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