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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 March 2008, 17:58 GMT
Your 2008 Budget questions answered
Tax expert Anne Redston answers some of your questions about Alistair Darling's first Budget.


I have heard no mention of changes to personal allowances. Have they remained the same or gone up in line with inflation?

Yes, personal allowances have gone up with inflation, so the tax free amount is now 5,435, an increase of 210 over last year.

But if you're between 65 and 75 the increase is more generous: your personal allowance has gone up from 7,550 to 9,030; those over 75 have a new allowance of 9,180.

But the bad news is that these higher allowances are clawed back if your income is above 21,800.


How will this affect me - a 58 year old women, single, full time worker, non smoker, don't drive, using pre-payment meters and not drinking very often?

It depends on your income. The chancellor has abolished the 10% tax band, and also reduced the basic rate tax charge from 22% to 20%.

So if you earn less than 18,500 you will lose some money because you will suffer more from the abolition of the 10% band than you will gain from the 2% reduction in the basic rate.

However, your personal allowance will go up by 210, so that is a small compensation. There are two complications. If you have dividend income, this will continue to be taxed at 10%.

Plus, if you have a very low income, just above the personal allowance, and some of this is bank or building society interest, you may still benefit from the 10% rate.


As pensioner I will have 50 extra fuel allowance. Having worked 40 plus years contributing to this country, both in taxes and by working in the health service, it would have been nice to have some recognition by the government. With increases in all utility bills and council tax, plus cost of food rising, I think I will not benefit from this Budget.

As explained above, you will benefit from the increased personal allowance, unless your income is above 21,800. So it may be better than you thought!


I am a foster carer and my family size has increased from one child to five or six in the last year. I have had to buy a so called gas guzzler (an old seven seater) out of necessity.

The headline increase - the so-called "showroom tax" - of 950 for gas-guzzlers only applies to new cars, so it won't apply to yours.

However, there will also be a new band for "heavily polluting vehicles, those which emit more than 255 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre.

So you might be caught by this. The other bands have also changed. You can find out more by looking at the table on the BBC website.


Mr Darling says that child poverty must be eradicated, but where in the budget does this problem get tackled?

I agree that there was a lot of focus on this in the speech, but you have to look hard to find any real changes.

There will be a small increase of around 1 a week to child tax credits from April 2009 for those who earn less than 28,000; child benefit will also go up by 1 a week from October 2009.

Child benefit will also be ignored when housing benefit and council tax benefit are calculated, again from October 2009.

The Government says that these changes, taken together, will "lift up to a further 250,000 children out of poverty".

There is more information about their drive to tackle child poverty in a document called "ending child poverty: everybody's business" available at the Treasury website.


I am a single male, own my own home, with a car, and enjoys a sensible drink at the weekend. Where in this budget is there anything for me?

Not a lot! Depending on your income, you may benefit from the reduction in the basic rate of tax, and you can save a little more in an ISA.

That is, of course, if the increases to Vehicle Excise Duty and the extra taxes on alcohol leave you with anything to save.


Why is nothing ever done for single people or couples with no kids?

I guess you should email this question to the Chancellor.

The government has made a policy decision to focus on families and the elderly, so single people like you have helped to pay for the increased generosity in areas like tax credits, child benefit and the winter fuel allowance.

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