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Welcome to our blog, the place we get things off our chest. It's a mix of rants and raves, often about fees and the cost of financial advice, along with anything else we think you might find useful.

Budget summary

By Justin Modray, published 22 October 2017.

Just a quick overview of today’s Budget, which was benign from a saving and investing point of view.

The key announcements were voter friendly: more money for the NHS, a freeze on alcohol/fuel duties plus plans to build more housing and support first-time buyers (through a stamp duty exemption). Measures to help reduce the extent global firms like Amazon and ebay avoid paying corporation tax in the UK are also welcome.

Less welcome was UK economic growth forecasts falling since those in March, although it’s hard to take forecasts too seriously at present given the uncertainty caused by Brexit.

After sifting through the small print there’s very little that will impact personal finance, a brief summary below:

Income Tax allowance
Will rise from £11,500 to £11,850 for 2018/19, with the threshold for higher rate tax rising to £46,350.

Property Stamp Duty
No stamp duty on the first £300,000 for first-time buyers on properties that don't exceed £500,000.

ISA allowance
Will remain at £20,000 for 2018/19, although the Junior ISA allowance will increase from £4,128 to £4,260.

Pension Lifetime Allowance
Will increase from £1 million to £1,030,000 for 2018/19.

Capital gains tax allowance
Will rise from £11,300 to £11,700 for 2018/19.

Dividend allowance
No U-turn, so it’s still set to fall from £5,000 a year to £2,000 from 2018/19. This relates to dividends on shares and funds held outside of tax ‘wrappers’ such as ISAs and pensions. Dividends above the allowance are taxed at 7.5% for basic rate taxpayers and 32.5% for higher rate.

Trust Taxation
Plans expected next year to make the system simpler and fairer. This should hopefully be welcome, as it’s currently potentially complex and tax can become prohibitive – which tends to discourage the use of trusts for inheritance tax planning.

Empty property tax
Empty properties could be subject to a 100% council tax ‘premium’, effectively doubling the bill in an attempt to encourage more homeowners to let out unused properties.