The Chancellor has presented his Budget to Parliament. Here’s a summary of what he announced:

Tax and employment

  • Personal tax-free allowance will be increased to £10,600 in April 2015, £10,800 in April 2016, and to £11,000 in April 2017.
  • The higher rate band will also increase by £315 in 2016-17, and by £600 in 2017-18 – taking it to £43,300 in 2017-18.
  • Employers’ National Insurance contributions for under-21s to be abolished from this April, and for young apprentices from April 2016.
  • Class 2 National Insurance contributions for the self-employed to be abolished entirely in the next parliament.
  • National Minimum Wage will rise by 20p an hour to £6.70 from October.
  • Corporation tax to be cut, in two weeks time, to one consistent rate for companies of 20%.

Savings and Pensions

  • A new Personal Savings Allowance so that the first £1000 of savings income is tax free for basic rate taxpayers, and the first £500 for higher rate taxpayers, taking 95% of Britons out of savings tax altogether.
  • A new Help to Buy: ISA scheme to support those saving to buy their first home. For every £200 saved for a deposit, the Government will top it up with £50 with a maximum government bonus of £3,000 for those who save £12,000.
  • Pension pot lifetime allowance to be reduced from £1.25m to £1m from April 2016.


  • Beer duty to be cut for the third year running, with 1p off the price of a pint. Cider duty to be cut by 2%. Duty on scotch whisky and other spirits to be cut by 2%. Wine duty to be frozen.
  • Fuel duty increase scheduled for September is cancelled.

 Other measures which will impact the South West

  • South West to receive £7bn in transport investment.
  • The government is investing up to £600 million to deliver better mobile networks, and is announcing a new ambition that ultrafast broadband of at least 100 megabits per second should become available to nearly all UK premises in the country.
  • Eight new enterprise zones across Britain, including Plymouth.
  • Farmers will be allowed to average their incomes for tax purposes over five years (previously only two).