Budget 2014: Ask The Experts

Published Wednesday, 19 March 2014
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You have been asking what the 2014 Budget means for you, putting questions to the experts in a live online special presented from London by ITV News anchor Alastair Stewart and with contributions from UTV’s Business Reporter Naomi McMullan in Belfast and ITN Scotland Correspondent Debi Edwards in Glasgow.

Alastair was joined on Wednesday evening by Clare Francis, Editor-in-Chief of Moneysupermarket.com, and tax expert Jim Meakin from Baker Tilly.

Along with Charlene White presenting the social media reaction, they looked at the details of Chancellor George Osborne's Budget in terms of how it will affect the general public.

Among the Budget announcements was the news that Northern Ireland is to get its first enterprise zone, based at a site adjacent to the University of Ulster campus in Coleraine.

Global data centre development and consulting firm 5NINES has already announced plans for a £20m investment at the site, leading to the creation of around 15 jobs.

Other Budget 2014 measures:

  • personal income tax allowance increased to £10,500 from next year
  • tax restrictions on pensioners' access to pensions removed, tax on cash removed on retirement cut from 55% to 20%
  • a penny taken off a pint of beer, duty on Scotch whisky and cider unchanged
  • tobacco duty rises by 2% above inflation
  • the 'carbon floor' energy price frozen, meaning medium-saved businesses will save £50,000 and consumers £15 a year
  • planned fuel duty rise for September scrapped
  • bingo duty halved to 10%, but fixed-odds betting machines increased by 25%

The Chancellor aimed to share benefits of the economic recovery with pensioners and savers in what he branded a "budget for a resilient economy".

But UTV's Naomi McMullan told the panel that there wasn't much in the Budget targeted towards Northern Ireland.

"Expectations in Northern Ireland ahead of the Budget were pretty low, and George Osborne really did live down to it," she explained.

"There's a sense here that this was a Budget very aimed squarely at voters in the south-east of England.

"Yes, there were moves around pensions and savings but for Northern Ireland that was really it apart from that one name-check in the speech for Coleraine that's getting this enterprise zone, that sounds really good in theory but we don't know what it will mean in practice.

"Northern Ireland had enterprise zones in the past and they didn't do very well - so it's a wait and see from Northern Ireland."

The broadcast remains available for catch-up, while our main Budget breakdown article is available here.

© UTV News
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3 Comments
Brian in N/ards wrote (227 days ago):
Hi, Re. future full cash in of pension. The proceeds will be taxed at marginal rate . Does this include the old 25% tax free element. Brian
Rubbish Budget as usual! in Bangor wrote (227 days ago):
There is nothing in this Budget for the pensioners who have little or no savings or those who cannot afford to save now let alone when the amount increases for ISAs. Also the extra £500 Personal Tax Allowance from April 2015 will probably be 'wiped out' by the rising cost of food, energy and fuel etc by April next year - would have been better if it had been implemented from April this year. It would have been beneficial to a lot of pensioners if the Winter Fuel Allowance had been put back up to £250 for a single person. Overall a very bad budget if you are a not well off pensioner.
B Close in Doncaster wrote (227 days ago):
I have 2 private pensions which I have been receiving for 2 years. I was only allowed to take 25% then, from next year will I be able to take the total amount out in a lump sum.
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