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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 March, 2005, 14:09 GMT
Key points: The Budget
BUDGET 2005
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Here are the key points of Chancellor Gordon Brown's ninth Budget.

Taxation

  • 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

  • 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.

Employment

  • 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.

Children

  • 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.

Euro

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

Defence

  • 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.

Volunteering

  • 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.



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Watch Gordon Brown deliver his Budget



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