Budget update 2014

George Osborne has delivered his fifth Budget speech to a noisy House of Commons, but despite speaking for nearly an hour the result was somewhat underwhelming. The theme this year was resilience and staying the course, not tax give-aways.

That said, there were several unexpected bonuses for taxpayers among the re-announcement of many measures included in the Autumn Statement in December 2013, and a few unwelcome surprises.

Perhaps the most unexpected announcement was a fundamental recasting of the tax regime for defined-contribution pension schemes. As an interim measure, the chancellor will relax some of the conditions, allowing amounts to be taken out of pensions on retirement without triggering a penal 55 per cent tax charge…

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