While the Chancellor made headlines on Wednesday for a hike in the minimum wage, a cap on public sector pay and a cut in corporation tax, there was plenty more that went under the radar in what has been described as the "most radical Budget in years".
Homes worth up to £1m escape charge
Family homes worth up to £1m will not be subject to inheritance tax from April 2017. Inheritance tax is now 40 per cent on estates over the tax-free allowance of £325,000 per person. From 2017, people will be offered an extra “family home allowance” of £175,000 so they can pass a property on to their children.
‘Radical change’ to pension savings
Plans for “a radical change” to pension savings will be examined in a Green Paper. The Chancellor said “pensions could be taxed like ISAs”, meaning people could have tax-free retirement pots topped-up by the Government. He said it would “need careful and public consideration before we take any steps”.
Stores could open for longer on Sundays
Councils and elected mayors will gain power to set Sunday trading hours in their areas, Mr Osborne announced. It followed the news in the days leading up to the Budget that shops could open for longer on Sundays with the possible relaxation of laws, which prevent larger stores opening their doors for more than six hours.
Parents in jobs to get 30hrs free childcare
Working parents of 3 and 4-year-olds will receive free childcare of up to 30 hours a week from September 2017, as another Tory manifesto pledge was enacted. “As a result we now expect parents with a youngest child aged three, including lone parents, to look for work if they want to claim Universal Credit,” said Mr Osborne.
Climate change exemption tax axed
Campaigners reacted angrily to plans to scrap a climate change exemption tax for renewable power. The levy was introduced in 2001 to encourage firms to use energy more efficiently and to cut harmful carbon emissions. So far, users of green energy were exempt from paying the tax, but the exemption will be lifted on August 1.
Professorships to mark Queen’s 90th
To celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday, a new set of Regius Professorships – which recognise excellence within the academic world and are bestowed by the monarch to a select few experts – will be created in universities across the country, the Chancellor announced. Nineteen of the titles currently exist.
Domestic abuse refuges to get £3.2m
Funding for domestic abuse victims and women’s refuge centres will be increased, it was confirmed. A new allocation of £3.2m was announced by George Osborne this week, in light of the news that nearly a third of women referred to refuges last year were turned away because of lack of space.
Train boss to help rescue Network Rail
Nicola Shaw, who runs High Speed One link between London and the Channel Tunnel, is to help draw up a plan for Network Rail. Documents revealed Ms Shaw was asked to “advise the Government on how it should approach the longer-term future shape and financing of Network Rail”.