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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 March 2007, 13:35 GMT
Winners and losers in the budget
Budget analysis
By Ian Pollock
BBC personal finance reporter

One way of identifying some of the winners and losers in the budget is to examine the combined effect of some of the big changes to personal taxation.

Twenty pound notes
More cash for some thanks to Gordon Brown

From 2008-09, the 10% starting rate of income tax will be abolished for earned income and pensions, although it will stay for income from savings.

So people will now find that the first slice of their taxable income will be taxed under the higher basic rate - meaning that they will have to pay more.

On the other hand, that basic rate is to be reduced by 2p in the pound, to give a new rate of just 20%.

Meanwhile, some substantial changes are on the way to National Insurance (NI).

In 2008-09 the ceiling for paying the standard 11% rate of NI contributions will rise quite sharply - by 3,900 over and above any indexation to take account of inflation.

That means that the main NI rate will now apply to income up to about 40,000 a year, rather than the 35,000 level set for the upcoming financial year which begins in April.

How will these big changes interact?

Accountancy firm KPMG has been crunching the numbers.

The result can be seen in the graph.

Graph of tax and national insurance changes

Taking into account the effect of changes to income tax and NI - although not tax credits - in 2008-09, compared to this coming financial year (2007-08), then most people will be better off because they will be paying less money to the Chancellor.

The most obvious exception will be people earning 17,000 a year or less.

By having a slice of their income taxed at 20%, rather than 10%, they will pay more - 131 a year more, KPMG estimates, if their income is less than 10,000.

Winners

The biggest winners in this calculation will be those earning about 35,000 a year.

They will keep 353 a year more, according to KPMG.

The rise in the ceiling for the standard 11% NI contribution rate means that those earning about 40,000 a year will gain very little - just 24 a year.

They will now pay NI on the top slice of their income which was not subject to it before.

Meanwhile those earnings more than 43,000 will gain 196 a year overall.

Is this analysis fair?

There are some other smaller changes to personal taxation in the budget.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) says that in all, 13.2bn is being given away by the Chancellor, while 10.7bn is being raised by him in extra tax.

And the government argues out that tax credits are available to boost the incomes of the poorest families, offsetting the income tax increases affecting the lowest paid.

Critics of that approach say that all depends on the claimants actually claiming their money, and then receiving the right amount of money from an extremely complex tax credit system.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies concludes that most families will benefit from some of Gordon Brown's measures and lose from others.

"However," says Mike Brewer of the IFS, "almost 1 in 5 families in the UK will lose and the losers will come from across the income distribution, and include some families with children."




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