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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 October 2007, 15:54 GMT 16:54 UK
What do Darling's plans mean for you?
Pound notes
Chancellor Alistair Darling has delivered his first pre-Budget report and Comprehensive Spending Review.

Here are the main proposals that will affect the general public.

Are the changes to inheritance tax a big deal?

Yes. From today married couples - and people in civil partnerships - will have their joint inheritance tax thresholds lifted from 300,000 to 600,000. That threshold will rise by 2010 to 700,000.

What will happen is that a surviving spouse, or civil partner, will take on their other half's unused inheritance tax allowance.

So if none was used up when the first person died, for instance by giving some assets away to the children, the full 300,000 allowance can be transferred to the surviving spouse.

Previously, this could have been achieved with careful will-writing, but now it will apply automatically to all married couples or those in civil partnerships.

In addition, said Mr Darling, this new rule will be back-dated indefinitely for three million widows and widowers.

That means inheritors will now be able to apply this doubled inheritance tax allowance, with immediate effect, to the money they inherit, even if the first spouse (typically their mum or dad) died years ago.

Was there any help for home buyers?

Next year's Budget will include legislation to make it easier for mortgage lenders to offer customers fixed-rate deals of 10 years or more.

Are the changes to capital gains tax important?

Yes, very.

What is called "taper relief" in capital gains tax will be removed, and replaced with a standard 18% flat rate of capital gains tax.

This is an enormous change. Those people with business assets may pay almost twice as much tax as they can currently expect to do.

Previously many would have paid tax at only 10% as a result of holding the taxable asset for two years or more.

On the other hand , someone selling a second home would have had to pay tax at a rate of between 24% and 40%. They will now pay less capital gains tax at just 18%.

The government estimates that its changes will raise an extra 350m in the next financial year, rising to 900m in 2010-11.

What about people on benefits?

Mr Darling said the pension credit for a single person would rise by 5 a week next April, and by 7.65 a week for a couple.

Meanwhile child tax credit will go up next April by 175 a year, rather than the 150 increase previously announced, with a further 25 increase in 2010.

Is he going along with the Conservatives' suggestion of charging "non-domiciled" tax payers?

Partly.

Responding to a suggestion from the Conservatives, the chancellor said that only 15,000 out of a total 115,000 non-domiciled tax payers in the UK would find it worthwhile paying a charge of 25,000 a year.

Instead, the government will consult on introducing a new system for these people. There will be a flat charge after seven years of 30,000 a year, and there may be a higher one after 10 years of living here, in return for claiming this tax status.

He will also try to prevent people claiming they are out of the country when they are actually here and from disguising income as capital.



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