Once the speech was delivered, it was the small print which gained more attention. Before we consider that, the key points from an investment/pensions perspective were as follows.
Pensions: The pension lifetime allowance will rise to £1,030,000 and there are no changes to the pensions funding limits, i.e. the annual allowance remains at £40,000 and will not be tapered until adjusted income exceeds £150,000.
Income tax: The personal allowance and higher rate threshold will increase to £11,850 and £46,350. The dividend allowance will be cut to £2,000 as already announced. This continues to hit small and medium sized business owners who take profits as a dividend. Employer pension contributions become a more attractive way of extracting profits. There are no changes to any other income tax bands.
Capital gains tax: The capital gains tax allowance will increase by £400 to £11,700.
Inheritance tax: As expected, the IHT nil rate band will remain at £325,000 until April 2021 and the residence nil rate band will increase from £100,000 to £125,000. In total that will mean that, from April, couples can leave assets up to £900,000 to future generation free of IHT.
Trusts: There will be a consultation published in 2018 to consider the simplification and fairness of trust taxation.
ISAs: Annual ISA limits stay at £20,000 per person, with a range of different ISAs to choose from. Each has its own rules and limits and is designed for different purposes, whether that’s medium or long term investing, or saving for a house deposit.
When consideration is given to the 88 pages of the Budget 'Red Book', plus the independent Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR)'s assessment of the measures in it, there were a few elements which he preferred not to highlight in his speech.
Stamp Duty: Stamp Duty has been abolished for all first-time buyers of homes under £300,000 but the OBR says it will likely feed into rising house prices and in fact likely increase them so much they would have been better off just paying the stamp duty.
Brexit: Having put £3.5B to one side the government won't engage with the OBR. Given the lack of any detail or clarification the OBR have no meaningful basis on which to form a judgement or enable any form of forecast.
Universal credits: The waiting time for Universal credit payments to start is being cut from six to five weeks, at a cost of £170m next year however this only happens from February 2018. Thereby providing no impact for people in the system over the Christmas period.
HMRC powers: Finally although changes will not come into effect until April 2019, the HMRC will then have the power to change an individuals tax code immediately and take the extra cash if they believe someone to be underpaying tax.
At the moment, they have to wait until the end of the year, or until someone calls them to tell them they think the tax code is wrong but the new change gives them wider powers which will directly effect net income immediately, even if they are subsequently found to have made a mistake.