Budget 2015: What to watch out for today

George Osborne will deliver his Budget today (Source: Getty)

WHO: GEORGE OSBORNE

WHEN: 12.30PM TODAY

WHERE: HOUSE OF COMMONS

WHAT WE ALREADY KNOW

A further shake up of pensions
Over 55-year-olds who had previously been forced to buy an annuity will be able to sell it for a lump cash sum to use as they wish, instead of receiving the regular payouts, building on reforms from last year’s Budget.
Penny off a pint
There will be a penny off the rate of beer duty, in a continuing trend from the past two budgets, meaning drinkers will soon be getting a cheaper pint at the pub.
An end to annual tax returns
The chancellor will reveal that all individuals and small businesses will have a digital tax account. This will be linked to their existing accounting software, and allow tax to be paid to suit the company or individual during the year, instead of filling a tax return at the end of the year.

WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN

A cut to duty on spirits
After a growing campaign, Osborne could announce that he is cutting the duty on whisky, gin and other distilled spirits.
Personal allowance increase
Every fiscal event under the coalition has seen the rate at which people start to pay income tax rise, and today is unlikely to be any different. The Liberal Democrats cite this as one of their key achievements.
Cut in the lifetime allowance
It is thought that the lifetime allowance of pensions will be cut from £1.25m to £1m, in a move previously supported by both the Lib Dems and Labour.
Google tax
The diverted profits tax, known as the Google tax, will tighten up the rules around multi-national companies moving their profits abroad, to reduce their UK tax bill. Among the main targets are big technology companies such as Google, Amazon and Facebook.
Cuts to inheritance tax
Cutting inheritance tax has long been a Conservative ambition, but the Liberal Democrats have stopped it so far. Leaks suggest the Tories may not win this again.
Stamp duty changes
Last year, Osborne changed the stamp duty system, ending the slab system and introducing tax brackets. There is likely to be some tweaking.
Fuel duty reductions
Osborne will be keen to help people at the pump, in a hugely popular pre-election move.
HS3 train line
A high-speed trainline from Manch­es­ter and Leeds, to help build a “northern powerhouse” to balance the economy.
More rural broadband
Further rollout of rural broadband to connect communities to the web.
Accelerate mortgage sales
Accelerate the sale of tens of billions of pounds of mortgages and loans that were taken on during the financial crisis, according to Sky news.

ECONOMIC FORECASTS

EY ITEM Club
The positive impact of falling oil prices will be felt this year through lower inflation, which is boosting consumer spending and GDP, the EY ITEM Club has said. It should allow the Office for Budget Responsibility to upgrade its 2015 growth forecast from 2.4 per cent closer to three per cent.
HSBC
HSBC believes the OBR will raise its 2015 growth forecast to 2.7 per cent from 2.4 per cent. It would make Britain the second fastest growing economy in the G7.

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