Our Budget 2016 Live Blog contains news, analysis and opinions on Budget speculation and announcements.
Watch this space for everything you need to know about the personal finance and investment implications of the Budget:
13:36 – That’s it from George Osborne and his eighth Budget. We are starting work on our Budget 2016 briefing note now and will make this available online as soon as it is ready.
13:35 – From April 2017, income tax personal allowance increased to £11,500. Higher rate income tax threshold increased to £45,000.
13:33 – Individual Savings Account (ISA) limit increased to £20,000 from April 2016. Under 40s get access to a Lifetime ISA from April 2017, saving up to £4,000 a year, for every £4 you save the government will add £1. Available every year until you’re 50.
13:29 – Headline rate of capital gains tax cut from 28% to 20%, and 18% to 10% for basic rate taxpayers.
13:28 – From 2018, Class 2 National Insurance contributions abolished altogether.
13:26 – Fuel duty has been frozen for the sixth consecutive year, saving the average driver £75 a year.
13:22 – “5 year old children are consuming their body weight in sugar every year” Some startling statistics on children’s health from Osborne and the cost of obesity to the economy. A new sugar levy introduced on the soft drinks industry, levied on the companies, introduced in 2018.
13:19 – Every primary school in England will become an academy by 2020, confirming earlier press briefings. Introduction of a fair national funding formula also mentioned.
13:17 – Lots of cuts and spending commitments being made. Someone has to pay for all of this. We expect some painful items coming up shortly…
13:13 – Osborne reaffirms government commitment to builders, with measures designed to speed up the planning system and get Britain ready for 5G mobile Internet.
13:12 – Lots of devolution measures announced, including a halving of the Severn Crossing bridge tolls!
13:08 – Major tax cuts for oil and gas industry in Scotland, with Osborne making a political point this is possible due to the broad shoulders of the United Kingdom.
13:05 – Commercial property stamp duty reduced for lower bands from midnight tonight, raising £500m a year and resulting in 90% seeing tax bills cut or staying the same.
13:02 – Two new tax-free allowances introduced of £1,000 a year for trading and profit income, a new tax break for the digital age. Small business rate relief threshold increased to £15,000 permanently from April next year.
13:01 – Main rate of corporation tax to be reduced to 17% by April 2020. Great news for businesses.
13:00 – Making Britain’s business tax regime fit for the future and ensuring businesses pay tax here in Britain. Changes come into effect in April 2019, creating a modern tax code designed to raise an additional £9bn a year.
12:55 – Top 1% pay 28% of all income tax, highest level than at any time under Labour government.
12:53 – Shutting down disguised remuneration schemes and ensuring UK tax is paid on UK property development are two anti-avoidance measures designed to raise more tax. Osborne confirms those in the public sector will be unable to use personal service companies. Redundancy payments up to £30,000 will be subject to employer’s NI from 2017.
12:51 – Osborne is throwing an awful lot of numbers out there as he sets the scene for the Budget.
12:46 – OBR forecasts inflation at 0.7% this year and 1.6% next year, maintaining the Bank of England targets for CPI inflation.
12:42 – Despite stressing their independence, Osborne uses Budget as an opportunity to present their figures to demonstrate Britain will be better off inside the EU.
12:42 – OBR forecasts UK economic growth at 2.2% this year, 2.0% next year, and then 2.1% in subsequent years. OBR forcasts faster economic growth in the UK this year than in any other advanced economy in the world. These forecasts are predicated on the UK remaining in the EU.
12:39 – Office for Budget Responsibility have revised down global economic growth, with a materially weaker outlook. Monetary policy has been further loosened, with several central banks introducing negative interest rates. “We fix our plans to fit the figures, we don’t fix the figures to fit our plans!”
12:37 – “In this Budget we choose to put stability first…” Osborne is setting the scene for the Budget he is now announcing.
12:35 – And we’re off! Osborne starts by confirming the British economy is on course for a Budget surplus, with a growing economy based on a long-term plan.
12:32 – Suitably vague tweet from the politically well connected Robert Peston:
There is a surprise in this budget that Chancellor expects to generate headlines #Budget2016
— Robert Peston (@Peston) March 16, 2016
12:28 – One last minute prediction before the Budget gets underway; the Treasury is reportedly considering a cut to capital gains tax to encourage people to sell off second homes. CGT rates could be cut from 28% and 18% to 20% and 15% respectively, to help boost supply in the housing market.
12:07 – Jeremy Corbyn has chosen to use his six questions to challenge the government record on air pollution and clean energy, failing to mention the fall in unemployment announced earlier today.
12:00 – Before we get to the Budget, it’s time for Prime Minister’s Question Time.
11:50 – Assuming nothing different is announced in the Budget, we already know that the lifetime allowance for pensions is being reduced to £1m on 6th April and, for higher earners, the annual allowance of £40,000 will be tapered down to as low as £10,000 a year.
— HM Treasury (@hmtreasury) March 16, 2016
11:30 – One hour to go until the start of the Budget speech. George Osborne has left Downing Street with his red briefcase and is heading to Westminster Palace.
10:41 – We hope to see a boost in the Budget for social care funding. According to a new report by Age UK, almost three million hospital bed days have been lost between June 2010 and January 2016 due to a lack of social care provision at a cost of £910 million.
10:25 – After weeks of speculation about pension tax relief reform, we get to find out at lunchtime today what the Budget will mean for retirement savings. One potential target is National Insurance on employer pension contributions. Axing this tax break would have saved £14bn in 2013/14, according to Resolution Foundation.
10:21 – At least George Osborne will be delivering the Budget with some relatively positive economic news. Unemployment has fallen by 28,000 to 1.68m, according to the ONS. Average pay excluding bonuses grew by 2.2% in the quarter to the end of January, which is a slightly bigger increase than shown in the last data.
09:54 – We’ve got a tweet from George Osborne!
Today's Budget sets out long term solutions to long term problems. It's a Budget that puts the next generation first pic.twitter.com/ZMN6HrRN7u
— George Osborne (@George_Osborne) March 16, 2016
09:43 – Another big Budget leak is the news that every school in England will become an Academy by 2020. This measure was originally announced by David Cameron in October, and draft legislation is expected to be presented by the Department for Education later this week.
09:37 – According to several news sources, George Osborne is planning to announce the closure of the Money Advice Service as part of his Budget later today. The free guidance service was funded by regulated financial services firms and spent an incredible amount of money on vanity advertising. It is set to be replaced with a more focused organisation to provide frontline services to those in financial difficulty.