Personal tax measures

The rise in personal allowance will provide a little help to a very large number of people. The increase in the 40p rate will give only a little respite to the squeezed middle who've lost child benefit while facing the prospect of interest rate rises and limited wage growth, After all, the childcare subsidy is a credit on money spent, markedly different to a cash landing straight into bank accounts.

In terms of the married couples allowance, the £50 increase in the transferability of the personal allowance between married couples is unfortunately a non-event, on what was already a non-event. It will make very little difference.

The Chancellor emphasised his aim of providing greater flexibility and simplifying the ISA rules. This is achieved by merging cash and stocks and shares ISAs and introducing a new single ISA savings limit of £15,000. There will also be flexibility to move between existing cash and stocks & shares ISAs. The ability to save more in cash rather than more risky stocks and shares ISAs will be welcomed. The junior ISA limit will also increase to £4,000.

In addition: Looking in more detail at the interaction between the personal allowance increases and changes to the higher rate / 40p tax threshold you realise that the full benefit of the 2013/14 personal allowance increase is not being passed onto those on the cusp of the higher rate tax threshold.  The personal allowance will increase by £560 on 6 April this year, however the higher rate tax threshold has only been increased by £415. Therefore there is still an actual reduction in the basic rate tax band of £145. Not as generous as it might have seemed.