This was the third Budget within the space of 12 months. It
threatened to be the most difficult of the trio because of
constraints imposed by June’s EU referendum and disappointing
economic numbers. Nevertheless, the Chancellor managed to
produce several surprises, including net tax cuts in 2017/18 and
2018/19 before reaching his often repeated goal of a budget
surplus in 2019/20.
Although the spectre of pension reforms had disappeared before
the Chancellor rose to his feet, he did announce something very
similar to a pension ISA in the form of a new Lifetime ISA for the
under-40s, starting in April 2017. Savers will also benefit from a
range of other measures, including an increase in the main ISA
limit to £20,000 in 2017/18, a reduction in the rates of capital
gains tax and an extension of entrepreneurs’ relief to external
investors in unlisted companies.
The personal allowance and higher rate
threshold for 2017/18 were given
significant increases – to £11,500 and
£45,000 respectively. Businesses will
welcome the long-awaited business
rates reform and a 17% corporation
tax rate from 2020.
16 MARCH 2016