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Last Updated: Friday, 24 March 2006, 17:49 GMT
The Budget in detail
Chancellor Gordon Brown delivered his tenth Budget to Parliament on Wednesday. On Saturday at 1204 GMT, we spoke to the experts to unravel the detail.

John Whiting, PricewaterhouseCoopers
Tax expert John Whiting took us through some of the changes
John Whiting of PricewaterhouseCoopers joined us to discuss a number of tax changes including:

  • the personal tax allowance, which will go up from 4,895 to 5,035

  • an increase in the inheritance tax (IHT) threshold which will now gradually increase from 285,000 in the 2006-07 tax year to 325,000 in 2009-10

  • and the restructuring of the rules of some trusts

  • the stamp duty threshold, which is to rise by 5000; now properties from 125,000 to 250,000 will attract the 1% tax

    Further information:

    Home Computer Initiative

    A man on a home computer
    The changes will only affect new arrangements from 6 April

    Two thousand people could lose their jobs after the chancellor pulled the plug on a scheme to help employees get a home computer.

    The tax break aimed at improving computing skills has been available since 1999 under the Home Computer Initiative (HCI).

    But the Budget move now means the 60 companies which supply the computers and run the schemes will have no income.

    Onecall Technology runs HCI schemes for employers. We spoke to chief executive Graeme Mitchell about the effect it will have on his business.

    Further information:

    Vehicle tax

    "Gas guzzling" cars have been targeted by the chancellor
    A new zero rate of tax was announced for a small number of low carbon-emission cars, plus a hike in tax for "gas-guzzling" vehicles.

    We spoke to Edmund King, executive director of the RAC Foundation, about the announcement.

    Further information:

    Free bus transport

    A London bus
    Currently the programme only applies to local buses
    Free local bus travel schemes for the over-60s and disabled people in England will be extended.

    From 8 April, people will be able to use their passes on local buses across the country.

    Sonia Rothwell reported.

    Further information:


    An  older woman on the phone
    Bus travel aside there was very little in the Budget for older people
    Pensioner' groups reacted angrily to the Budget, in particular the decision not to repeat last year's 200 council tax rebate.

    However, there will be help for pensioners and low income families to insulate their homes and the pensioners' winter fuel allowance will remain.

    We heard from Sally West of Age Concern.

    Further information:


    A young girl playing
    The government will put more money into Child Trust Funds
    An extra payment of 250 will be made into Child Trust Funds (CTF) for all children aged seven, with those from poorer homes receiving 500.

    Child benefit from 10 April will be 17.45 and the child element of the Child Tax Credit will go up over the next three years by 14%.

    Sonia Rothwell reported.

    Further information:

    Savings and investments

    The new rule will make investing in property easier
    Real Estate Investment Trusts (Reits) - which aim to boost investment in house building while allowing small investors to take stakes - will be enabled by new legislation.

    The tax break for investing in Venture Capital Trusts (VCT) will continue, but the amount of tax relief given has been cut from 40% to 30%.

    We spoke to John Weston Smith, chief operating officer at British Land, and John Whiting of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

    Further information:


    Credit cards abroad

    A young woman paying for some goods with a card
    The rule applies to products that cost between 100 and 30,000.
    Consumers will have greater protection when they use their credit cards abroad, following a ruling by the Court of Appeal.

    The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) challenged an earlier decision concerning Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

    Under this rule, shoppers can claim against the card issuer if a purchase is unsatisfactory or faulty, or if the seller refuses to compensate them.

    We spoke to Mike Naylor, of consumer group Which? about the news.

    Further information:

    Splits compensation

    An alarm clock
    Investors have been waiting months for a decision
    Investors who lost out in the split caps scandal will finally learn how much compensation they will get next week.

    There were 40,000 applications for a share of the 144 million put into a fund by some of the firms who sold splits.

    Investors were promised an announcement by the end of last year, but the decisions on payouts have been subject to delays.

    We heard from one investor angry about the delay.

    Further information:

    Halifax savings

    Halifax told the programme it is responding to market conditions
    Halifax is cutting its cash ISA rate by 0.25% to 4.75% from 6 April.

    Despite no Bank of England rate cuts since last August, Halifax is also immediately cutting rates on a wide range of other accounts, including Bonus Gold and Monthly Saver.

    Halifax told the programme it is responding to market conditions, and pointed out it is increasing rates on a couple of accounts - Extra Income Saver and the Treasurers' Account for clubs and charities.

    Further information:

    Royal Mail price changes

    The price of stamps is going up
    Postage rates go up on 3 April.

    So there is one week left to buy your first and second class stamps at the old price, which will save you two pence on every stamp.

    Further information:

    BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 25 March, 2006, at 1204 GMT.

    The programme was repeated on Sunday, 26 March, 2006, at 2102 BST.


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