WHAT DOES THE CHANCELLOR’S BUDGET MEAN FOR YOU?

 
Tim Wallace
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PWC’S BUDGET TEAM SAYS:
The restricted rises in tube fares will help Catherine’s travel costs and so too will the fuel duty increases being less than expected.

The bank levy increase from 1 January 2012 may hit Catherine’s clients in the financial services sector although they will be buoyed by the chancellor George Osborne's reluctance to introduce an EU transaction tax.

As part of recently announced employment law "Red Tape Challenge" the government will look at ways to reduce regulation on employment tribunals and the collective redundancy regulations.

Catherine Gannon, 49 Managing director of law firm Gannon
Catherine Gannon lives with her children, aged nine and 11, in a home she owns with a mortgage. She set up her firm nine years ago and worries about red tape and taxes. When travelling to meet clients, Catherine uses the tube. She earns over £100,000, and has a share portfolio, though not much by way of pension plans.

Laura Mucha, 29, Norton Rose Associate
Laura Mucha earns £75,000 to £85,000 per year, and is about to go into her third year in the firm’s disputes practice. She has almost paid off her student loan, but is still sensitive to interest rates because she recently took out a mortgage to buy a flat in central London. Laura’s commute is a 30-minute cycle, though she uses trains at weekends. An enthusiastic traveller, she flies frequently in a personal capacity, though rather less with work. She invests in the company’s pension scheme.

PWC’S BUDGET TEAM SAYS:
A couple of points of interest have been announced which may impact on Laura’s travelling. The rise in regulated rail fares will be capped at 6.2 per cent in January, down from the intended 8.2 per cent.

In addition the government will invest £45m to extend flexible smart ticketing across London and the south east. She will however be hit by the previously announced increase in air passenger duty rates, which will be introduced from 1 April 2012.

The basic state pension will rise by £5.35 to £107.45 but unfortunately Laura will now have to wait until she is 67 before she is entitled to receive it. The increase from 66 to 67 was due to have started gradually from 2034 but now this process will start in 2026 and end in 2028.

Martin Winter, 57, Senior partner, Taylor Wessing
Martin Winter lives in Wandworth with his wife, in a home that they own with no mortgage. They have two children, aged 19 and 21, and as a result are concerned about the level of youth unemployment. Martin runs to work but does have an oyster card for public transport. He uses his car only at the weekends, and frequently flies on business trips. He saves, with a pension and ISA, and the company recorded average earnings per equity partner of £537,000 in 2010-11.

PWC’S BUDGET TEAM SAYS:
Martin will be relieved that the chancellor did not announce any restriction of higher rate tax relief on pension contributions. This was a measure which had been rumoured to be included in the Autumn Statement.

He may also be interested in investing in the new Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS). This is to encourage investment in start-ups with income tax relief at 50 per cent. The annual investment limit is £100,000 with a cumulative limit of £150,000. There will also be a capital gains tax holiday on gains realised on the disposal of an asset in the 2012/13 tax year where the proceeds are reinvested through a SEIS in the same tax year.

Martin’s fears about youth unemployment may have been eased by the announcement of a £1bn investment in a "youth contract" to subsidise six-month work placements for 410,000 young people. The government also introduced flexibility into the Jobseeker’s Allowance regime to help claimants after six months to be referred to full-time training for up to eight weeks whilst remaining on JSA.

Michael Hewson, 47
Senior market analyst, CMC Markets
Michael Hewson owns a home, but rents it out, choosing instead to live with his girlfriend in Croydon. Although he has a car, he does not use it much, finding public transport cheaper. He gets the train to London Bridge then walks in to work at Liverpool Street, where he earns around £80,000 a year. A keen saver, Michael has invested in a pension, holds shares and makes use of ISAs. He has no children.

PWC’S BUDGET TEAM SAYS:
Michael will welcome the restricted train fare increases although they are still set to rise by one per cent above inflation.

The scrapping of the planned 3p fuel duty increase in January and the reduction in the rate of increase from 5p to 3p in August 2012 may well not have a dramatic effect on his car usage.

However, the additional funds to be provided to local authorities in England who freeze or reduce their council tax from April 2012 will hopefully encourage his local council not to increase council tax.

** PwC comments provided by Claire Evans