Madeleine Moon MP

Member of Parliament for Bridgend

The Budget 2015... and how it will affect you

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With 50 days to go until the General Election on 7 May, the Chancellor of the Exchequer unveiled the final Budget of this Parliament. The Chancellor referred to his Budget as evidence that Britain was "the comeback country", while Labour Leader Ed Miliband said it "would not be believed" while criticising the lack of any reference to the NHS or detailed public spending. 

Changes to Pensions
 

A key part of this year's Budget related to changes to pensions, which had been heavily trailed in media in previous days. 

The law will be changed to allow all pensioners to access their annuities, with the 55% tax charge for that abolished and tax applied at the normal marginal rate. 

Currently, people pay tax on any private pension savings above the "lifetime allowance", which is currently £1.25 million. The Budget has now lowered this allowance to £1 million, which it is estimated will gain the country £600 million a year. 

Personal Taxation
 

The requirement for national service contributions from those who are self-employed has been abolished. 

The rate at which people begin to pay income tax has been increased from £10,600 to £10,800, rising to £11,000 next year. 

The threshold for the 40p rate of income tax will be increased from £42,385, to reach £43,000 by 2017-18. 
Watch the Chancellor's Budget speech and the Leader of the Opposition's response above. To skip straight to the Leader of the Opposition's response click here

Individual Savings Accounts
 

Just like the 2014 Budget, this year's Budget introduced several changes to the rules around ISAs. 

Specifically, the annual savings limit for ISAs has been increased to £15,240. This will come with increased flexibility, allowing people to withdraw money and put it back later without losing any of the tax-free allowance. 

There will also be a new "Help to Buy" ISA specifically aimed at first-time home buyers, with the Government topping up every £200 saved for a deposit with an additional £50. 

South Wales and Other Infrastructure Projects
 

The toll on the Severn River Crossing will be reduced from 2018. A formal Government consultation will also be launched on a £1 billion "tidal lagoon" to be placed in Swansea Bay to generate green energy.

Elsewhere, a £15 million church roof repair fund will be set up, £600 million has been made available to improve mobile phone networks, and a new inter-city rail franchise will be introduced for the South West of England. 

Public Borrowing
 

The UK's deficit has halved since 2010. The Chancellor had originally pledged to abolish the deficit completely by 2015. Under this Budget's plans, the UK will acheive a surplus in the financial year 2018-19. 

£13 billion worth of national assets in Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley will be sold off in order to help pay down the national debt further. National debt will reach approximately 71% in 2020, and fell to 80% this year. 

Reactions
 

Stephen Crabb, the Conservative Secretary of State for Wales, had this to say about the Budget: 
- "This is a Budget to help secure Wales' future. It is a Budget that will cement the economic recovery in Wales, that backs business in Wales, and that will make a real difference to the lives of hardworking people right across our nation."

However, Labour's Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, Owen Smith, said this: 
- "Wales can only look forward to more cuts if the Tories win again in May. The Office of Budget Responsibility confirms that George Osborne is now planning to make even bigger cuts to public services in the next Parliament than he made in this one."

Plaid Cymru's Treasury Spokesman, Jonathan Edwards, also referred to cuts, saying: 
- "This was a 'jam tomorrow' Budget from a Chancellor who is busy sharpening the axe ready for the next Parliament."
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