The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, has delivered one of the most complicated Budgets in recent years, making it extremely difficult to work out whether the overall effect on each individual will ultimately be positive or negative. Even some of the beneficial changes have a sting in their tale. For example, the 10 pence starting rate of tax for the first pounds 1,500 of taxable income is offset by the fact that Mr Brown is raising from 20 to 23 per cent (22 per cent in 12 months' time) the rate of tax that would normally have been levied on the next pounds 2,800-worth of income.
A similar picture emerges from a range of other measures announced this week. For the benefit of our readers, we have broken down and laid out the major changes in the Budget on the next two pages.
Given the complexity and detail of some of these changes, however, it is possible that some aspects of the Budget critical to your needs may not be immediately apparent. It may be necessary for you to consult an independent financial adviser or an accountant.
This will, at first sight, seem like an unnecessary and time-consuming experience. But given some of the small print emerging from this Budget, it could well be sensible to take advice.