A budget for savers?

 

               There is some good news in the budget. The increase in the ISA allowance for savers to £15,000 and the ending of the disticntion between cash Isas and the rest is a welcome simplification with more generous tax relief. The forthcoming Pensioner bonds from National Savings may well offer a reasonable and secure income.  The offer of much greater flexibility of what to do with your pension saving is also welcome, though the details still need to be worked out in some cases.

              Total public spending at 42.5% of our national output  next year  is still too high a proportion of the total economy, but is down from the excessive 47.5% of 2009-10. The aim is to get it down to 38% by 2018-19.  Total spending  rose this year in real terms.  As expected, the Tax threshold was raised to £10,500 for next year.  There was also a small increase in the 40% tax threshold.

               The Chancellor recognised the need to do something to cut energy prices. He himself highlighted the dangers of UK energy prices twice the US level, and has extended and improved a scheme to subsidise high energy using industries for their energy costs. The better answer must be to find and produce much larger quantities of cheap gas for ourselves. The Chancellor is offering tax assistance to North Sea oil and gas developments, and states that he supports shale gas extraction. The Uk still remains way behind the US in finding and using this new hydrocarbon source.

             The Red Book warns that “Energy intensive Industries pay almost  50% more for their electricity than they do in France, and the cost to business of policies to deliver low carbon energy infrastructure  is set to increase by about 300% by 2020.” This is a massive threat ahead, and should persuade the government to demand changes to EU energy policies so that the UK can opt for cheaper energy which could help power an industrial revival. The goverbnment is offering £500 m in subsidies a year to energy intensive industries from 2015-16 to compensate them for dear green energy, subject to EU approval.

               The long term reforms to achieve a low rate of Corporation Tax now give the UK a competitive advantage with a 21% tax rate. The Chancellor added to that a £500,000 investment tax allowance for business.

                 The main figures in the Budget are little changed from the December Statement. Growth is forecast to be a little higher, unused capacity a bit lower. The Budget concentrates on trying to assist industry to invest, savers to save, and individuals to enjoy some real growth in income.

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42 Comments

  1. Robert Taggart
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    Indeed Johnny, but, as mentioned elsewhere – not a budget for Saver Scroungers !

  2. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    JR: “The Red Book warns that “Energy intensive Industries pay almost 50% more for their electricity than they do in France, and the cost to business of policies to deliver low carbon energy infrastructure is set to increase by about 300% by 2020.”
    When is someone going to take action to undo and reverse this financial lunacy?

    • stred
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      At last they admit a 300% increase in energy costs for industry in 6 years time. How come they can’t mention the same for domestic consumers?

      • Hope
        Posted March 20, 2014 at 8:41 am | Permalink

        And still defiant to increase overseas aide. It is a percentage of GDP and therefore will rise, giving the EU more money to spend which could be used on so many other things even a pay rise for nurses. Still the MPs can look forward to the disparity of employment with self- interest ever present. Only about a year to go, thankfully, Cameron and Osborne will be consigned to history. £200 million pot holes when £32 billion collected in vehicle excise licence alone. Roads more congested than eve but HS2 still being planned with a export held secret so the public will not find out the truth about it- disgraceful.

        Now we learn today the UK and US will have military exercise with the Ukraine- how much will this cost us and was it directed by the EU/Ashton who is keen to have an army at her disposal?

  3. Bob
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 6:51 pm | Permalink


    There is some good news in the budget. The increase in the ISA allowance for savers to £15,000 and the ending of the distinction between cash ISAs and the rest is a welcome simplification with more generous tax relief.

    Mr Redwood,
    With interest rates on cash of around 1.50% there appears to be little incentive to save because the value of your money will decrease since the “official” inflation rate is around 2% (that’s if one believes the “official” rate; which I do not).

    As far as stock ISAs are concerned, since the dividends are taxed, and capital gains are as rare as hens teeth, they also appear to be rather futile for anyone other than those with a crystal ball or insider knowledge.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

      Indeed a cash isas will almost certainly lose you money after inflation and yet they are rationing this “investment” to 15K why ration it all all. Perhaps just buy a real asset instead.

      Share ISA make little sense unless you are a higher rate tax payer or exceed you CGT allowance. You still in effect pay tax on the dividends.

      Good to see the rip annuity providers shares sink anyway.

    • APL
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

      I welcome the simplification of the ISA rules and the increase in the ISA allowance. The ability to hold cash and stocks in an ISA makes it remarkably similar to a PEP that the Tories introduced and Labour abolished twenty or so years ago.

      If the PEP allowance had been indexed, by now it might be somewhere around, oooh! £15000.00

      Bob: “they also appear to be rather futile for anyone other than those with a crystal ball or insider knowledge.”

      Just the thing for MPs, MSPs, MWAs, Local authority potentates all of who have far too much of our tax money at their personal disposal.

      • Bob
        Posted March 20, 2014 at 8:36 am | Permalink

        @APL“Just the thing for MPs…”That’s a good point, I wonder if anyone “in the know” recently dumped shares in the annuity providers?

        Reply Any such transaction would be a crime called Insider dealing. There is no suggestion that any MP did any such thing. It is also clear that this part of the Budget was a tightly kept secret, as it should be.

        • Bob
          Posted March 20, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Permalink


          Any such transaction would be a crime

          Of course, silly me, MPs don’t do crime – do they? (innocent face)

        • APL
          Posted March 25, 2014 at 8:01 am | Permalink

          JR: “Any such transaction would be a crime called Insider dealing.”

          A straight forward question Mr Redwood.

          Is there a statute prohibiting MPs using insider knowledge to their own financial advantage? Or is it just ‘the rules’?

          By comparison, I believe the US Senate is explicitly excluded from such a prohibition.

          Reply Yes, MPs are under the general law against insider dealing which prohibits it.

          • APL
            Posted March 25, 2014 at 11:48 am | Permalink

            JR: “Yes, … ”

            Thank you.

  4. Richard1
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    I thought the ISA and pension simplifications were very encouraging. Should be a vote winner as most fundamentally good ideas are. Its good that the govt are now recognizing what a disaster it is to have energy costs so high. The CEO of Ineos recently pointed out that this €1tr industry employing 6m people in Europe has no future unless energy costs can be brought down to internationally competitive levels. The crisis in Ukraine shows that it is now urgent that Europe works towards energy independence from Russia. Do we need any more arguments for shale gas and the cutting of green crap?!

    He did also unfortunately make some Brownite gestures. It seems The ludicrous Brown tax avoidance scheme for films is to be extended to theatres for some reason. In the same speech where we heard moralizing about how bad tax avoidance schemes are (many of them arose because of Brown’s film schemes) we also hear a new sector for tax avoidance schemes is to be opened. Also the Help to Buy scheme should be seen as bad news by anyone who believes in free markets and fears the inevitable distortions caused by govt interventions like this.

    But the main message is Britain is recovering from the disaster of 13 years of Labour govt. Hopefully Mr Osborne has calculated the politics correctly and done enough to avoid the real potential threat to the economy – the election of another Labour govt.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 20, 2014 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

      I thought the ISA and pension simplifications were very encouraging. Should be a vote winner as most fundamentally good ideas are.

      That’s assuming that the average person understands how this works and has sufficient capital to take advantage of it. Given that the average income is £26,000 per year I doubt that many people of working age will benefit from this.

      The CEO of Ineos recently pointed out that this €1tr industry employing 6m people in Europe has no future unless energy costs can be brought down to internationally competitive levels.

      What exactly are these “internationally competitive levels”? The amount they pay for electricity in third world countries? Given that they couldn’t reduce wages this low I doubt they’ll reduce energy prices this low either.

      The crisis in Ukraine shows that it is now urgent that Europe works towards energy independence from Russia. Do we need any more arguments for shale gas and the cutting of green crap?!

      Green energy will make us less reliant on Russia, so your claims are contradictory.

      But the main message is Britain is recovering from the disaster of 13 years of Labour govt.

      These 13 years of Labour included 10 years of high growth until there was a global recession. The 4 years of the Coalition resulted in 3 years of stagnation. So it’s clear which set of policies was better for the economy.

      • Richard1
        Posted March 22, 2014 at 9:53 am | Permalink

        Your comments have no basis in facts. Its interesting that leftists don’t like the idea of people having the freedom to save for a pension and do with it what they want.

        Energy costs in Europe are now 2 to 3x what they are in the US for the chemical and other industries. So its a choice – the green religion or manufacturing jobs. Electorates need to be clear about that. I think I know what they’d choose given a choice.

        Green energy may make us independent from Russia but will never be economic, barring some unforseen technological advance. Shale gas is a much better route.

        Its no good saying the journey was going just fine driving at 80 mph until we crashed. Labour inherited a budget on its way to balance and a low tax competitive economy and proceeded to wreck it.

  5. arschloch
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Just what civilisation needs more pensioners shoved into drawdown A retirement plan that comes with higher charges, you trying to invest in a stock market that is being kept afloat thru central bank liquidity, in the hope that over time annuity rates will get more favourable. You can bet your bottom dollar your IFA will be nowhere to be seen when you have drained your pension pot dry and you are not even yet in your 70s

  6. alan jutson
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Well our Chancellor talked a good game with his headline claims of who would benefit.

    Has he delivered, well in part he has at least moved in the right direction, which at first glance looks at least positive, although the devil is usually in the detail.

    On a personal basis:

    Personal Tax Allowance is up.
    ISA’s simplified are more flexible and limits raised.
    Pensions are modified with more options and less taxation on some elements.
    Pensioner Bond rates with National Savings to be introduced.
    Less taxation on some limited investment income.

    So some good news for those who have attempted save at last, after having to suffer years of having their nest eggs being plundered by the taxman, devalued by QE and of low Interest and Annuity rate returns.

    Could he have gone even further, and been even bolder, yes of course he could, but at least the penny seems to have dropped (at least for one Budget) that the Country has more savers than borrowers.

    Let us hope that he can build on this in his last and final Budget next year, before the next general election.

    Shame it took George so long to recognise and help the plight of the more prudent members of society.

    The comments of a certain Mr Miliband to the Budget just show how little he and his Party understand the workings of the economy and of human nature.

    What a disaster he and his Party would be should they get in next year.

  7. Posted March 19, 2014 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    The Budget concentrates on trying to assist industry to invest, savers to save, and individuals to enjoy some real growth in income.

    Yes you do want industry to invest. Yes real growth in incomes are needed to boost aggregate demand.

    But “savers to save” ? Its so drummed into everyone what a virtue it always is to save, that we never stop to consider what it means.

    It means that government debt increases! For ever lender, or saver, there has to be a borrower. The borrower initially is a commercial bank or building society. Then as they convert their reserves into Government securities , gilts, the government deficit increases too.

    • A different Simon
      Posted March 20, 2014 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      petermartin2001 ,

      “Yes real growth in incomes are needed to boost aggregate demand.”

      This is what all politicians except Campbell Newman in Queensland believe .

      The problem is , it is wrong .

      To stimulate aggregate demand there needs to be a real growth in “DISPOSABLE incomes” .

      The way to do this is to reduce the cost of living , specifically accommodation costs .

      Otherwise any increases get absorbed in rising rents , rising indebtedness and interest payments to the bank due to higher prices .

      Fat chance of that with our MP’s BTL’d up to their eyeballs and an election 15 months away .

  8. Tad Davison
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    Following today’s budget, I received George Osborne’s ‘Round Robin’ entitled ‘Another step towards economic security’. And well it might be, but we need to consider the stance of the poodle-like Foreign Secretary, William Hague, who seems to be doing the bidding of the USA, the EU,‏ and NATO, whilst ignoring what might be best for the UK. If the situation in Eastern Europe ends in catastrophe, all bets are off because that would certainly be a game-changer.

    And the ones to suffer the most, would be the EU with Germany taking the biggest hit, so Bill Cash is absolutely right when he denounces EU foreign policy. It is better therefore, not to harness our cart to a dying horse. The Yanks know that no-one can win a nuclear war, so they go on starting little wars all over the place in the hope they will ultimately weaken the bigger powers they wish to subvert in their push towards global dominance. But it now looks as though Russia, India, China, and some Latin American countries might form closer trading ties, and if that happens, expect the UK (as the USA’s branch in Europe) to be left out of the equation. America now has far too many self-created enemies for their own good.

    And a quick word about the Western media. I get my news from a great many sources, and it is only by doing so, that I get to see the bigger picture from many different angles. Were I solely reliant upon the Western media, including the BBC, I would probably be as brainwashed as Hague. But he isn’t alone. Cameron and even Miliband earlier today, have shown a clear misunderstanding of the true situation where NATO is pushing ever-Eastwards, and it was inevitable that Russia would make a stand at some point.

    I can honestly say, that I have never known a potentially more dangerous time than this one, and that includes the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. Hague’s rhetoric does absolutely nothing apart from making both him and the UK government look out of touch and therefore dangerous. Our future prosperity if not our very survival, might depend upon a different Foreign Secretary, and a different outlook entirely.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • stred
      Posted March 20, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Maybe the effect of sanctions on the EU was what Mrs Kagan meant when she was caught out using the F word on her phone. Mr Putin has come out of the mess so well that it is almost believable that the national socialist thugs and other politicians were acting as his agents by beating up officials, trying to ban the Russian language and appointing new oligarchs as governors. This gave him a perfect excuse to hold his referendum. Unlike the EU, who have another referendum to get a different result, he can have another to get the same.

      He gets the profitable, sunny part of Ukraine by the sea with lots of gas and oil, while the EU can have the basket case and find the money to pay for it.

    • Amanda
      Posted March 20, 2014 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Well said.

    • A different Simon
      Posted March 20, 2014 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      When all else fails , War is the ultimate economic stimulus .

      What amazes me is that the lefties believe the EU is somehow different from the US and the City of London rather than just an extension of the NWO powerbase .

      How much longer can Russian hold out against the drive for World Government being pushed by Washington , Westminster and Brussels ?

  9. John E
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    I thought the pension reforms were excellent – quite radical changes and all the more welcome for that. The annuity industry needed a rocket. Also the ISA changes were welcome. Of course giving people more freedom to manage their pension affairs can mean the freedom to mess up as well as the freedom to succeed, so it will be interesting to see how all the advice that was promised will be delivered.

    A pity there was nothing on stamp duty despite the comment elsewhere in the speech about realising that punitive rates of taxation depress revenue generation. I’m not sure that realisation has really struck home yet.

    The concessions on energy costs struck me as a fudge in the absence of a coherent energy policy and not likely to convince many large energy users to stay here – especially as we aren’t building enough generating capacity to supply the power at any price.

    And I didn’t see any red tape being cut for business. I rather fear that was the last opportunity missed for this government.

  10. Lifelogic
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Why on earth do we have the absurd complex construct of ISAs anyway. Why not just give some larger income and capital gains allowances for all savings. ISA are just pointless artificial complexity and limit your choice of investments and often incompetent vehicles.

    Why limit peoples investment into premium bonds at all? If people want to lend to government for such a poor & random return (then to watch them waste it) let them do as much as the dopes want to.

    Good to have the £500K investment tax relief limit why did we not have these, the pension changes in 2010?

    Government expenditure should be about 20% of GDP no where near 42.5% and for almost no services of quality or real value. Industry cannot compete with energy at three times the price of the US, daft endless regulations, insane employment laws and a huge and largely incompetent state sector.

    Pensions reform sound good but lets see the detail. Again why force the money into contrived absurd expensive pension structures anyway. Just give encouragements to all savers. Start by not taxing real losses as they do now. Also by having a currency people can believe will have real long term value.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

      On pensions, let people use or invest them in there own businesses to create jobs as many wish to. Even this is limited at the moment.

      • Mark
        Posted March 20, 2014 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

        There is a good argument that favours spreading investment in pensions to mitigate risk. Investing in your own business can pose unacceptable risks should you need e.g. to retire early for medical reasons, or should your business encounter unexpected conditions that force it into bankruptcy, taking your pension with it.

  11. dave roderick
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    a budjet for those lucky enough to have a job that left them with money to save.
    not much good for me and millions of others who have worked hard for the last 50 years just to pay the bills with nothing left over for savings

    • A different Simon
      Posted March 20, 2014 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      Your situation sucks Dave .

      J.O.B. stands for “just over broke” .

      The Govt has got you right where it wants you . Destitute and dependent on them .

      I’m fortunate enough to currently be in a position to benefit from the ISA allowance .

      However the excitement is somewhat tempered by the knowledge that the majority are not in such a position and the fear of what my young nephews and nieces will have to face .

      George Osbrown’s recovery looks more like a relapse .

  12. Monty
    Posted March 20, 2014 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    I’m grateful to the Chancellor for releasing us from the annuity trap. I reckon that’s the single most radical move I have ever seen in any budget.

    • Mark
      Posted March 20, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      I’m not sure what practical difference it makes for most invested via pensions funds, subjected to rules on risk weighting of assets that force them to buy gilts even at bubble prices.

  13. Steve Cox
    Posted March 20, 2014 at 4:41 am | Permalink

    This budget is just a cynical ploy to try and appease angry savers. Take the ISA allowance, so now we can invest £15K in an account that will pay interest that is less than the rate of inflation. Great bargain that, George. Doesn’t he realise that we don’t need a bigger ISA allowance, we need interest rates that provide a decent real return on our money. And why are the pensioner bonds restricted to those over 65? Surely everyone who is willing to put away some money deserves a decent return, not just those over a certain age? As far as the pension changes are concerned, yes I think they are a good idea, but all the same I do wish that politicians would stop messing with something that requires long term stability above all else. The way that both main parties fiddle with the rules at every opportunity means that a private pension plan is little more than a lottery as you have no way of knowing what the rules will be when you retire 30 or 40 years from now. Labour will simply see it as giving them caret blanche to meddle even further with our pensions when they return to office. And at the end of the day, if all these changes to favour “makers, doers and savers” are such a brilliant idea, why has it taken Mr Osbrown four years to come up with them? Sorry, but it’s just another selfish attempt to buy votes from those too dim to see the reality.

    • Dave
      Posted March 20, 2014 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      You wrote pretty much what I was going to say. Yes savings rates are STILL below the rate of inflation. They are even below the rigged CPI inflation rate, never mind the real one. Savers are still being robbed to support the overborrowed, bankers and the portfolios of BTL landlords, so this budget is not good enough to get my vote.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted March 20, 2014 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Agreed.

      Once upon a time a pension was a no-brainer investment. Now it is as best a part of a mixed portfolio.

  14. Narrow shoulders
    Posted March 20, 2014 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Raising interest rates to a realistic cost of money so that borrowers are less protected would be of more help to savers . All in this together.

    This would serve to stem the rise in housing costs and shoot labour’s cost of living crisis fox which is in reality a housing cost crisis.

  15. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 20, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    The decision to allow pensioners to spend their own money in their own way, without forcing them to buy an annuity, or forcing them to draw down their SIPPs at a rate capped by a low multiple of the equivalent annuity rate, is the best news in the budget.

    Of course, if a pensioner spends his pension pot rapidly and leaves himself penniless, there is no obligation for taxpayers to support him.

  16. The PrangWizard
    Posted March 20, 2014 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Can you advise, Mr Redwood, who introduced the earnings limit for pensioners? It is currently £26,100pa rising to £27,000pa next year, I believe, and means, for those who are not affected yet and don’t know, that for every £2 earned above it £1 is removed from the personal allowance, which is not rising for pensioners much anyway, and seems as if it may fall below the level applying to non pensioners, the former rising much faster lately than the latter. It would be even more iniquitous if that were to happen. What was the thinking behind it, and do you agree with the concept and the level? Is anyone lobbying for its removal?

  17. Mark
    Posted March 20, 2014 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Looking at the data provided by the OBR, it is interesting to note that while GDP at market prices is expected to have risen by 15.8% by 2018/19 compared with 2012/13, there are some heroic assumptions about rising tax yields to help narrow the government deficit.

    The largest is income tax, expected to be £60bn higher, or nearly 40% – demonstrating a high element of fiscal drag. NICs are not far behind at £35.5bn / 35%, while next comes VAT at 26.3bn /26% higher – all growing more than the economy. (OBR Fiscal supplementary table 2.8)

    But the most dramatic is SDLT, forecast to increase by £11.2bn or 162%. Digging into the numbers still further, the average stamp duty bill will exceed 3% of purchase price compared with around 2% currently – a dramatic element of fiscal drag that depends on sharply rising house prices – while in 2018/19 we are forecast to spend over £600bn on property compared with just £300bn in 2012/13.

    The consequence of this can be seen in the forecast sector imbalances (OBR Economic Supplementary Table 1.10). The public sector deficit is on a declining path, but totals some £334bn of additional borrowing over the forecast period, while for households the opposite picture applies, with £259bn of additional cumulative borrowing, rising from a modest £8.2bn to £76.8bn. It is quite clear that this is to be financed by the housing bubble mortgage lending created by extending the Help to Buy scheme – with much of it guaranteed by government while remaining off balance sheet.

    There is also a miraculous assumption that our balance of payments will improve, despite there being declining oil and gas production, necessitating more imports, and too little too late to do much to retain our export industries threatened by expensive energy (though at least some move to neuter some of the worst of the Davey extremes can be spotted in lower carbon taxes than previously set, but the taxpayer will effectively pay for the subsidies to windfarms that some businesses will now be exempt from paying). The corporate sector as a whole (which includes banks) shows a surplus on current spending – a reflection of rising consumer debt and collection of funding for expensive energy and other white elephant projects such as HS2.

    There is also a hole in the balances of some £15bn p.a., which is most likely to be plugged by higher than forecast balance of payment deficits.

    Of course, the sector accounts are for current spending, and do not reflect capital flows. It’s an interesting question as to where the real funding will come from, or whether the plans will have to be amended. Printing yet more funny money is an option – but it takes us £600bn further down the road towards a hyperinflationary and banking collapse in due course.

    • Narrow shoulders
      Posted March 21, 2014 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      So a debt financed, growing economy.

      Where have we seen that before?

  18. Mark
    Posted March 20, 2014 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    An important footnote: the power granted in the budget for HMRC to seize money directly from taxpayers is far too draconian. As I know from personal experience, HMRC can issue random and totally incorrect assessments for quite serious sums. It can be a battle to get them to recognise the correct position. It becomes impossible if they simply have licence to rifle people’s bank accounts on their own say-so.

  19. uanime5
    Posted March 20, 2014 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    The Red Book warns that “Energy intensive Industries pay almost 50% more for their electricity than they do in France, and the cost to business of policies to deliver low carbon energy infrastructure is set to increase by about 300% by 2020.” This is a massive threat ahead, and should persuade the government to demand changes to EU energy policies so that the UK can opt for cheaper energy which could help power an industrial revival.

    Why exactly should the UK be exempt from these energy laws when France is able to produce cheaper energy while complying with them due to its investment in nuclear pwoer? If anything the UK should be doing more to comply with these low energy laws to reduce energy prices.

    The long term reforms to achieve a low rate of Corporation Tax now give the UK a competitive advantage with a 21% tax rate.

    How much extra business did all the previous reductions bring to the UK? If they didn’t bring any major increases then it’s unlikely that this cut will be any different.

  20. bigneil
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    Years ago people were pushed into investing in pensions -then GB raided it – what is to stop it happening when people now are being “invited” to invest more in ISAs? . .If the country has a massive debt then any govt will raid whatever they can.

  21. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    I wonder whether George Osborne has been taking advice from John Major, because

    “This is a saver’s Budget”

    is what the latter said at the end of his Budget statement on March 20th 1990, and of course the Tories went on to win the 1992 general election.

    I only know this because I came across his speech here:

    http://www.johnmajor.co.uk/page2510.html

    while looking up about Composite Rate Tax on savings, recalling that at one time that tax was being levied at a single rate between the basic rate and the higher rate and that the tax deducted could not be reclaimed by non-taxpayers.

    He said:

    “Composite rate tax was introduced originally in 1894, and put on the statute book in 1951. It currently stands at just under 22 per cent. It is deducted at source. It cannot be reclaimed in any circumstances. This means that basic rate taxpayers gain by about 3 per cent. — the difference between the composite rate and the basic rate of income tax, which is what they should pay. And it means that non-taxpayers are worse off by 22 per cent.”

    He went on to announce the abolition of composite rate tax and the introduction of the scheme we still have today whereby non-taxpayers can get interest paid gross, and then continued to announce the TESSA scheme.

    The general point I wish to make is that while the improvements in Osborne’s budget are obviously welcome they are just the latest stages in a painfully, frustratingly, slow process of the government gradually, reluctantly removing counter-productive deterrent penalties on savers but often with the introduction of unnecessarily complex and restrictive special schemes, when one obvious and much simpler alternative solution would be to end the illogical historical aggregation of earned and unearned income for tax purposes and introduce separate income tax allowances for income earned by current work and income from savings and investments accumulated over many past years.

    I suppose that if I live long enough I might see the government getting there in the end, but probably it will take a few more decades for them to gradually come round to that very obvious idea.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
    Published and promoted by Thomas Puddy for John Redwood, both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU
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