Budget

The need for married couples and civil partners to plan for IHT by entering into nil rate band discretionary trusts and similar arrangements has been largely negated by a proposal in the Pre Budget

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The Pensions Act 2007 introduces a number of changes to state pension arrangements, most of which are not intended to commence until 2011 and 2012.

With less new funding available for key public services, the Chancellor will step up the quest for public sector efficiency gain.

Remittance basis: Irish income

The Pre Budget Report includes a proposal to amend the tax treatment of income arising in Ireland to align it with income from other overseas sources.

Pre-planned reductions in main income and corporate tax rates have left the Chancellor, like his predecessor, looking for clever ways to raise other revenue, under guise of ‘simplification.’

The new Chancellor’s difficulty in emulating the free-spending, low-borrowing feats of his predecessor reflect the unique conditions Gordon Brown was able to exploit.

Insistence that the economy will grow by 3% this year, and faith in the budget’s later-year forecasts, soften the blow of conceding that growth could drop below the 2.5% trend in 2008.

The main budget commitments to health and education funding expansion are retained – but neither will match the growth rate of the past five years, despite the extra sources of tax.

Defying expectation that he would subtly change the rules, the Chancellor says he will stick by his predecessor’s commitment to balance the budget across the cycle.

The government has outlined new taxes on transport and more money for flood prevention and anti-coastal erosion schemes as part of its declared commitment to tackle global warning.

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