Five Budget giveaways that you can't afford to go without

Brown's latest Budget was all about the bigger picture, but David Prosser spots gains worth claiming

Gordon Brown's 10th Budget was short on specific policy announcements. Even the notes that accompany the Budget - usually a rich source of new measures - contained few surprises. As always, however, the Budget leaves taxpayers with a to-do list. Here are five measures that will leave some people better off - but act soon.


The scheme to give every child born since 1 September 2002 a savings fund is now even more generous. In addition to the £250 paid to babies (£500 for new-borns in low-income families), children will now get a second payment worth the same amounts at age seven.

However, parents must claim the money, and the latest figures show many have not. Just two-thirds of the 2.3 million vouchers sent out so far have been cashed. Families still to open an account should do so as soon as possible.


These have enabled the Chancellor to help thousands of families on very low income out of poverty. But the administration of the scheme has been a disaster, with many families paid too much and then left in dire financial straits when HM Customs & Revenue has reclaimed the overpayments.

Advice groups now say that the system is sufficiently robust for parents to be confident about applying for what they are owed - many families have previously given up. On Wednesday, the Chancellor announced a 14 per cent rise in the child element of the child tax credit and the extra cash is worth claiming.


The Chancellor is to abolish the home computer initiative, which enables employers to provide their staff with PCs at home on a tax-efficient basis. Under the scheme, you buy a computer from your employer, typically over a three-year period. As the payments come from your pre-tax salary, in effect you get up to 40 per cent off the cost.

The good news is the scheme will be available for the rest of the current tax year, which ends on 5 April, so if your employer participates in the scheme, take advantage now.


In addition to tax breaks for environmentally-friendly cars (see page 4), the Chancellor announced help for people who conserve energy at home. There will be more money available to subsidise the cost if installing insulation in your property, plus grants for people who install sources of renewable energy in domestic homes. The Energy Savings Trust ( can provide details of how you apply for this money.


This is for the pending tray, as proposals for the new property investment trusts won't come into force until January. However, investors with ISAs and pension plans should take note: Reits will be an excellent way to add residential and commercial property exposure to portfolios.

Budget personal finances in brief

* Income tax: no change to tax rates, but tax allowances have mostly been increased in line with inflation. Working families with children will benefit from additional tax credits.

* Stamp duty: no tax payable on property transactions worth £125,000 or less, up from £120,000 previously.

* Inheritance tax: threshold for IHT to rise to £285,000 on 6 April and to £325,000 by the 2009/10 tax year.

* Motoring: vehicle excise duty bands reformed to encourage drivers to buy greener cars.

* Housing: expansion of shared ownership schemes confirmed, though only 35,000 buyers will benefit.

* Child tax fund: New payments of at least £250 at age seven for children born since 1 September 2002.

* Savings and investments: ISA allowances maintained, but tax breaks on venture capital trusts reduced (see page 15). Real estate investment trusts to be introduced next January,

* Pensioners: free bus travel for all pensioners across England from April 2008. There will be no £200 Council Tax benefit next year, although the winter fuel allowance will remain at £200.

How the new rules on trusts work

* While announcing a significant increase in the value of estates that may be passed on to heirs free of inheritance tax, the Chancellor is cracking down on two types of trust that he believes people have been using to avoid the tax. Accountants are furious.

* Most controversially, the rules have changed on accumulation and maintenance trusts set up for children. Typically, these trusts are set up to begin paying income to a child at 21, or even 25. They may not get the capital until much later.

* Now, however, inheritance tax will be payable on assets left via accumulation and maintenance trusts, unless the cash is handed over as soon as the child reaches 18.

* Similarly, lifetime interest trusts, which can be set up to provide an income for anyone you choose, have been outside the inheritance tax net. Now they'll be subject to the tax.

* Leo Joyce of accountant Blick Rothenberg urges anyone who has set up a trust to take urgent professional advice. "The Government said it was only concerned with preventing tax abuse, but what has happened in this Budget has gone well beyond that," he says.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

peoplePerformer had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
The comedian, 42, made the controversial comment following the athlete’s sentencing to five years for the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp on Tuesday
Life and Style
Could you tell the difference between this and an organic alternative?
food + drink

Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Today's Liverpool Echo back page
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling will not be releasing a 'romance' novel anytime soon
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to US
Life and Style

Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance

Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
One of the 'princesses' in the video
videoYouTube reinstates sweary video after takedown for 'violating terms'
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
Arts and Entertainment

Marvel has released first teaser trailer week early after it leaked online

Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

    £24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant Birmingham

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultants

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £Competitive: SThree: SThree Group and have be...

    Day In a Page

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?