[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 March, 2005, 14:09 GMT
Key points: The Budget
Most computers will open PDF documents automatically, but you may need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Here are the key points of Chancellor Gordon Brown's ninth Budget.


  • Stamp duty thresholds doubled to 120,000

  • Inheritance tax currently starts being paid on estates worth 260,000 - that will rise to 275,000 this year, 285,000 next year and then to 300,000

  • Income tax and national insurance to remain unchanged

  • Petrol duty inflation rise postponed until 1 September due to high oil prices

  • Mr Brown said he would freeze: corporation tax, capital gains tax, air passenger tax, insurance premium tax, climate change levy, aggregates levy and company car levy

  • Tax breaks on ISAs extended until 2010

  • Personal income tax allowance to be raised in line with inflation

  • The 100% VAT refund for renovations to religious buildings to be extended by three years.

Alcohol and cigarettes

  • Duty up 1p on a pint of beer and 4p on a bottle of wine, but frozen on cider, sparkling wine and spirits.

  • Tax on a packet of cigarettes to rise 7p.


  • Pensioners to get a council tax refund of 200

  • Free local bus travel for every pensioner from next year

  • Pension credit to rise by 13% by 2008, in line with earnings.

Economic forecasts

  • Mr Brown hailed the "longest period of economic growth since records began in 1701" in Britain.

  • Inflation was now 1.6% and was expected to be 1.75% this year and 2% in 2006 and beyond

  • Growth for 2004 was 3.1%, as forecast, and Mr Brown predicted the economy would grow by 3% to 3.5% this year and 2.5% to 3% next year.

  • Inflation was the lowest for 30 years, interest rates the lowest for 35 years and employment the highest ever, said Mr Brown

  • Borrowing was forecast at 34bn for 2004/5, 32bn for 2005/6 and 29bn for 2006/7.


  • There will be new rules to encourage incapacity benefit claimants into work and changes to housing benefit to help create jobs.

  • From next month, there will be 2,000 return to work bonuses available to single parents

  • Mr Brown pledged new centres for people to get vocational training

  • He announced 65m to be spent in the coming year on employer training pilots

  • Mr Brown said new plans to target young people at risk of causing crime would be unveiled.


  • Child tax credit to rise by 13%, in line with earnings, over next three years

  • Child benefit for the first child goes up 50p to 17 for the first child and up 35p to 11.40 for other children

  • Help promised for early learning in every area for all children who need it

  • Refund VAT incurred by local councils on children's centres

  • Re-building programme for primary schools increased by 650m by 2010.

  • Five-year, 1.5bn programme to renovate and renew further education colleges

  • Investment in the three-year programme for IT capital in schools will be raised to 1.67 billion.

Efficiency programmes

  • The first 7,800 civil servants to be moved out of London had now moved to other parts of the UK

  • Mr Brown said the first 2bn of savings from the Gershon review of government departments had been made.

  • Thirty-five government agencies will be combined into just five - with changes in consumer and trading standards regulators and food inspectorates.

  • Mr Brown said he would adopt the Better Regulation Task Force's call for targets for cutting red tape in every department year by year.


  • The chancellor said there would be no further assessment of whether the UK should adopt the euro in this Budget.


  • Extra 400m set aside for defence

  • Troops injured in the line of duty will not have compensation payments taxed if they remain in the armed forces.


  • New national community service for young people to be created with up to 150m to recruit one million young volunteers.

Overseas aid

  • Mr Brown said International Development Secretary Hilary Benn would announce he plans to sign new debt reduction deals with 19 of the world's poorest countries by July.

Watch Gordon Brown deliver his Budget

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific