Budget roundup: what it means for you


George Osborne Budget boxLewis Whyld/PA Wire/Press Association Images

George Osborne certainly eschewed the option of a 'do nothing budget', with changes on all sorts of things from a huge increase announced in the personal tax threshold, to changes to child benefit cuts, and even the tax on hot chicken at the supermarket.

So what was in it for you?

Osborne started with the growth predictions. He was keen to emphasise that Britain's troubles are part of a global picture and we were severely hit by the Eurozone crisis. However, he was also able to announce the Office of Budget Responsibility's predictions that the UK will avoid a technical recession and grow by 0.8% this year and 2% next.

He used this to set the scene for a budget without 'giveaways' but without the need for 'further tightening' either.

Personal Allowance

The biggest coup for Osborne was leaked before the budget, with the biggest ever rise in the personal allowance, so that from April 2013 those earning less than £9,205 will pay no tax on their income. Osborne was keen to point out that 24 million people earning less than £100,000 a year will gain from the measure, and that people working full time on the minimum wage will have seen their income tax bill halve since changes to the allowance began.

50p tax rate will be axed

This was widely predicted, and Osborne confirmed it will fall back to 45p in 2013 after studies revealed it would make little or no difference to the amount raised, while significantly reducing the damage to the economy.

Age-related tax allowance phased out

This will come as a bitter blow to pensioners, as the over-65s will see their age-related allowances frozen while they are gradually phased out.

Stamp duty

A new stamp duty rate of 7% will be introduced on properties worth over £2 million - widely considered a sop to the Lib Dems calling for a mansion tax.

Personal statements

Osborne effectively leaked this before the Budget, however, he has now made it clear that from 2014, 2 million people will receive a personal tax statement, showing how much tax and NI they are paying, and how that money is spent - split into healthcare, education, paying interest on the national debt and so on.

Tax avoidance

Osborne said he would be clamping down on a number of high profile schemes and loopholes, which he called "morally repugnant".

He also announced a consultation on a general anti-avoidance rule, which he hopes will mean that schemes designed to exploit loopholes will automatically be deemed illegal until proven otherwise.

There will also be a cap on the total that can be claimed through income tax reliefs - so after next year anyone claiming more than £50,000 of reliefs will have the total capped at 25% of income.


There will a number of changes which Osborne said would address oddities in the system - so hot food from supermarkets will be taxed as takeaway food, and sports drinks as soft drinks. The major exemptions, however, will not change.

Booze and cigarettes

Alcohol duty will not change while we await wider announcements on alcohol pricing. However, tobacco duty will rise 5% or 37p per packet of cigarettes.


Tax on gambling will be based on where the punter is rather than the business, to bring more gambling back onshore. There will also be a new machines gaming tax.


There were no changes announced to the increases in duty already set out. Road tax will rise in line with inflation, and be frozen for hauliers.

Child benefit

Osborne said he "stood by" his principles that rich people shouldn't be getting universal benefits, but recognised the unfairness of a cliff edge, so announced a compromise. Child benefits will now be gradually withdrawn from those earning over £50,000, at a rate of 1% per £100, so that only those earning over £60,000 will receive nothing at all. It means 90% of families will remain in the system.


He confirmed the state second pension would be replaced by a £140 flat rate pension, based on contributions, which is expected to cost no more than the current system.

There were, however, no changes announced to the tax treatment of contributions to personal pensions.


Osborne announced an expansion of a scheme designed to finance construction firms building new houses in order to supplement measures the government has already announced - such as the new right-to-buy scheme.

He also introduced a new 15% stamp duty on properties bought through a company, and an annual levy on those which have already been bought in this way - so the rich can no longer avoid stamp duty. He also made it clear that if anyone finds a loophole in his new plans, he will swiftly and retrospectively close it.


Corporation tax will be reduced further and faster than expected. It will fall by 2% a year rather than 1%, so by next month it will be 24% and by 2014 it will have fallen to 22%. The bank levy will be increased so banks don't benefit from these cuts.

As expected, Osborne announced a reduction in Sunday trading laws for four Sundays around the Olympics - starting on 22 July.

He announced new enterprise zones, including those in Scotland and Wales, where businesses receive enhanced capital allowances.

There will be a change to the way small businesses are taxed - so it is only on the cash that passes through the business that matters - saving them from arduous tax-returns intended for larger businesses. Osborne did not announce how this would work, but that there will be a consultation.

He announced a number of measures to support the energy industry, particularly gas businesses in the North Sea.

He announced plans to reduce the administrative cost of the carbon reduction commitment - which he said was damaging businesses. He confirmed that if these savings could not be found, a new environmental tax would be devised.

There will be boosts for the pharmaceutical industry and aerospace with investment in two centres of excellence - alongside British universities and private enterprise.

He also emphasised the impact of the long-awaited changes in planning rules would amount to: "The biggest reduction in business red tape ever".

And he announced plans for grants to young people who wanted to start their own business.

How has the Budget affected you? Click the arrow above to find out


Osborne confirmed the commitment to attracting overseas investment in infrastructure, and investment from pension funds, and stated it was his goal to make Britain a centre of technological excellence in Europe. To achieve this he made a commitment to ultra-fast broadband in 10 major cities, and a further investment in rural areas, alongside major roads and in smaller cities


He confirmed that the government would spend significantly less than planned on the Afghanistan campaign. However, he also explained that part of the saving would be used to improve accommodation for military families, double the family welfare grant available to those on operations and double council tax relief for serving personnel to 100%.

Public sector pay

Another leaked story was confirmed: that there will be a consultation on bringing in regional pay for the public sector.

Further consultations

The long-term care saga continues, with a white paper on social care. Meanwhile, there will be a further study into an automatic review of state pension age so it keeps pace with longevity. And there will be a consultation on improving airport capacity in the South East of England.

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