Our Budget wish list.
It that time again – when everyone wants to get their two-pennyworth in and tell the Chancellor of the Exchequer what to do with his budget! Now far be it from me to suggest what he does with his red box but here are a few thoughts from the Moneyagonyaunt experts!
David Jones our employment lawyer says:
What we really need are measures to get the under 25s, who account for 40% of the total unemployed, into work. If the government doesn't act we face losing several years worth of well educated, talented graduates and school leavers - future tax payers - from the UK workforce.
IFA Simon Hodges says:
I doubt there will be anything of major significance in the budget considering the current climate! But I would certainly like to see an increase in the Cash ISA allowance from £3,600 to help counteract the poor interest rates available at the moment and hopefully prompt savers confidence. This would also help pensioners holding cash on deposit (which a number of them are relying on to supplement their income!).
The government seem to have let up slightly on the payment of corporation tax and income tax by allowing businesses more time to pay but I would like to see a major change within VAT. There is no concession for the actual running of the business (i.e. Council tax, lease payments, staff costs etc) and I firmly believe that this will claim the life of a number of small businesses over the next 12 months.
I would also like to see new measures being introduced to regulate the banks more stringently. They have been getting away with murder for far too long and are now benefiting on the retail side through their own mistakes! By this I mean that when customers go to a branch to complain about their poor interest rates, they are being referred on to the 'Financial Adviser' to have a chat. By the time they have left, they have a shiny new policy (generally the same as everyone else’s regardless of age, objective and attitude to risk!) and the bank gets a commission for all their hard work!
Benefits consultant Marion Morse says: The Chancellor needs to give people something to look forward to, so an incentive to save for small savers, perhaps a government bond that pays interest and a bonus for long term saving. That might encourage banks and Building Societies follow suit
I’d like to see the removal of interest on present savings, up to a reasonable level that
would benefit small savers rather than become another manoeuvre for big
investors, and the removal of tax for all who only pay tax at 20 %. Keep the lower rate of VAT and exemption of stamp duty on houses or bring in a nil band of stamp duty for first time buyers.
Prpoerty expert Luke Doonan wants even bigger changes to stamp duty: I would like to see Stamp Duty cancelled for 2 years! This will make a massive difference to the market, in particular first time buyers. Then reclassify it to –
a) Exemption up to 250k
b) 1% from 250k to 500k
c) 2% from 500k to 1 Million
d) 3% over 1 Million.
On top of that I’d like to see Council Tax scrapped for over 60’s and an end to inheritance tax!
Andrew Wilkins our pension experts says:
Frankly I don’t think Alastair Darling has much room for manoeuvre but needs to do what he can. I don’t envy him at all.
But there’s a rumour that he might take away high rate tax relief on pension contributions. Over my dead body! This would be disastrous because it would stunt many people’s savings for retirement and store-up trouble for the years still to come.
For small savers, we need an increase in the tax thresholds, especially for older people, so as to take many more out of tax completely, and a kick start for banks and building societies to offer better savings rates, especially for pensioners. For taxpayers and small business owners: a reduction in red-tape and a lowering of personal taxation by raising the thresholds and allowances. For people in debt we need a scheme whereby the mortgage lenders “roll-over” negative equity and so enable people to move as normal and/or downsize to reduce debts.
What must be avoided though is piling more taxation on to any one sector, simply because those people affected would no longer be able to afford the big expensive items (such as pricey cars) on which our economy so depends.
And Senior Financial Partner John Eaton has written a letter to Santa:
Dear Spring Santa Darling,
I've been a very good boy this year so I would really like:
An extension of exemption from Income Tax on the first £5,000 of investment income, preferably for everybody, but at the very least for Pensioners - to help offset the virtually total disappearance of any investment income on Pensioners' savings thanks to the negligible interest rates the Bank of England has been compelled to introduce (Do you realise that most pensioners have suffered an 80% drop in their income, as a result of your favouring borrowers at the expense of savers?)
An end to the totally unrealistic assumption that Pensioners with savings over £6,000 are earning over 10% on their capital, and the introduction of a fair rate of assumed interest - like 0%.
The abolition of means-testing for Pension Credits, and restoration of the principle that every £1 saved towards a Pension ought to produce at least £1 worth of benefit
The issuing of a lot more Index-linked Gilts, so that Pension Fund Managers - and individual savers - could be guaranteed to have an investment which keeps pace with inflation, and doesn't expose them to unnecessary risk.
The abolition of the rule requiring people to buy an annuity at age 75. At the very least, give people the right to postpone the purchase of an annuity indefinitely, instead of forcing them to buy something which is currently appalling value for money.
And an increase in the annual limit of tax-free income from Lodgers in your own home, which has been stuck at £4,250 p.a for ages.
Let’s see what our experts think of the budget when it’s delivered tomorrow. Me? I want all of the above and measures to keep people in jobs. If we’re not earning we can’t spend or save for retirement so the next generation of pensioners will face an even bleaker future.