Budget 2014: Here are some Budget changes George Osborne could make, but I don't hold out much hope in times of austerity

 

Can't say I'm looking forward much to next Wednesday's Budget. The days when we can anticipate good news have long since disappeared under the austerity measures still being pushed by the Coalition.

So when George Osborne rises at 12.30pm on 19 March, I advise you to switch off and go and do something more interesting. We'll be happy to monitor his speech, and the reaction, and report back in our Budget supplement on Thursday.

But just in case any of Mr Osborne's advisers are reading and still looking for good ideas, here are a few changes I'd like to see.

We won't see any tax cuts, apart for a few high-earners, I suspect, but it is time to look again at the 40 per cent tax rate threshold. Many thousands more people have been pushed into paying higher-rate tax in recent years and more will be hit from the beginning of the next tax year under current plans.

The rate kicks in at £32,011 of taxed income, but that is falling to £31,866. The personal allowance, the amount of money you can earn without paying tax, is climbing, from £9,440 to £10,000. But putting the two together means the amount you earn before being hit by 40 per cent tax will climb from just £41,451 to £41,866.

I think it fairer for the greater tax take to come from higher earners than middle-income folk, many of whom are struggling. So while I would welcome the raising of the personal allowance to £10,500, the figure that's been circulating in recent weeks, I think it's time that the 40 per cent threshold kicked in at, say, £45,000.

The lost tax could be raised by lowering the additional 50 per cent tax rate from its current level of £150,000.

But, frankly, I don't expect there to be much fresh tinkering with tax bands this Budget. If he's any sort of politician, and he is, Mr Osborne will save the giveaways for the pre-election Budget in 2015.

So what potential good news could there be? I'm still holding out hope for a change to the way stamp duty is collected. Transferring the tax to the seller, rather than the buyer, would at a stroke ease things for the many first-time buyers who struggle to raise stamp duty of more than £1,000 on top of a hefty deposit.

For savers I'd like the Isa rules to be changed to allow people to transfer between and cash and equity Isas. Currently you can switch your savings out of a cash Isa into stocks and shares, but not the other way. That's a nonsense for those who want to have a more flexible approach to their savings.

However, I would resist attempts to increase the Isa allowance to nearer £20,000 a year as some are proposing. The annual level of £11,520, which climbs to £11,880 from 6 April, seems adequate to me. I would also be wary of the temptation to introduce a limit as to how much people can stash in an Isa. Some have talked of £100,000, which does seem a tidy sum to avoid paying tax on, but if people have played by the rules, so be it.

s.read@independent.co.uk

Twitter: @simonnread

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
Sport
football
Life and Style
Agretti is often compared to its relative, samphire, though is closer in taste to spinach
food + drink
News
Kelly Osbourne will play a flight attendant in Sharknado 2
people
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
The dress can be seen in different colours
i100
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    SThree: HR Benefits Manager

    £40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

    Recruitment Genius: Office Manager / Financial Services

    £30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...

    Jemma Gent: Year End Accountant

    £250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...

    Jemma Gent: Management Accountant

    £230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
    A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

    It's not easy being Green

    After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
    Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

    Gorillas nearly missed

    BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
    Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

    The Downton Abbey effect

    Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
    China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

    China's wild panda numbers on the up

    New census reveals 17% since 2003
    Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

    Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

    Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
    Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

    Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

    Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
    Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

    Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

    Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
    New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

    Dinner through the decades

    A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
    Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

    Philippa Perry interview

    The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

    Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

    Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
    Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

    Harry Kane interview

    The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
    The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?