Pre-Budget news in brief

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VAT on church repairs is cut

VAT on church repairs is cut

A substantial cut in VAT on church repairs was announced to encourage the maintenance of Britain's ecclesiastical architecture. Mr Brown said that VAT on repairs of churches would fall from 17.5 per cent to five per cent. The Church of England spends £100m on repairs of churches yearly.

Tax incentive for Aids drugs

Efforts to secure cheap drugs for the world's poor to tackle diseases are to be stepped up, Mr Brown said. "The Government will investigate a new tax incentive and a spending measure to develop, cut the costs for and ensure the supply of anti-TB, anti-malaria and anti-Aids drugs," he said.

Tax relief to boost research

Scientists welcomed a tax boost for research. Mr Brown said companies would get tax relief on intellectual property and the extension of Research and Developmenttax credits.

Betting tax to be examined

Complaints by the betting industry that the existing tax regime, which levies a fixed charge on every bet, disadvantages British betting companies and customers and is encouraging the growth of offshore and internet betting are to be addressed in the 2001 Budget.

Too prudent for bookmaker

The bookmaker that opened the first spread on how many times the Chancellor would refer to "prudence" in his speech found itself £2,000 out of pocket. City Index had predicted Mr Brown would limit himself to two or three uses of the word. In fact, he said it seven times, the first within two minutes of standing up.