IT was an announcement that will see savers, beer drinkers and bingo players raising a collective glass.
And motorists, pensioners and businesses all have reasons to be cheerful after George Osborne unveiled his latest Budget.
- More could be done on budget
- Positive plan for pensioners
- Cathedral welcomes renovation cash
- Cash set aside to help flood victims
- Thumbs up from trade and industry
- Aid package could help smaller airports
- Pubs say cheers to 1p off a pint
- Mixed reaction from MPs
- Budget 2014 - as it happened
The Conservative Chancellor pledged to share the benefits of economic recovery as he announced radical reforms to tax rules on retirement pots.
And he unveiled new-style flexibile ISA savings where people can squirrel away up to £15,000 a year without the Treasury taking a cut.
He also pushed up the personal income tax allowance from £10,000 to £10,500 next year – meaning average basic rate tax payers will be making savings of around £800 compared with four years ago.
A penny was knocked off a pint of beer in a move welcomed by brewers, pubs and drinkers while tobacco duty is set to rise by two per cent above inflation.
In a boost for motorists, the Chancellor announced that the planned September fuel duty rise will not take place.
But he resisted calls to make cuts to duty – much to the disappointment of some campaign groups.
The AA said the freeze on duty, for a fourth year, was a “very welcome relief for UK drivers”.
But AA president Edmund King went on: “The freeze still leaves the squeeze on families and businesses that rely on four wheels to function and prosper.”
Mr Osborne said duty on bingo halls would be cut by more than anticipated – from 20p to 10p.
But fixed odds betting terminals will be hit with 25 per cent rates in recognition of their addictiveness to gamblers.
He also announced that following the severe winter weather, he was making an extra £200m available to local authorities to repair potholes and an additional £140m made available for repairs and maintenance to flood defences.
Air ambulance services were handed a fuel tax break which means more money can be ploughed into patient care.
Up to £20m will be made available for renovations at cathedrals across the nation in the anniversary year of the First World War – a move welcomed by bosses at Winchester Cathedral.
Promising to help pensioners who have suffered five years of record low interest rates, Mr Osborne also unveiled a new savings bond for those aged 65 and over.
Pensioner savings bonds will launch next January and are expected to pay out interest of 2.8 per cent over one year and four per cent over three years.
Offered through National Savings & Investments (NS&I), the maximum amount that can be invested in each bond will be set at £10,000.
Mr Osborne also said the ten per cent starting rate for savings income will be axed altogether to support the lowest earners, while NS&I premium bond limits will also be raised from £30,000 to £40,000 this year and £50,000 next year.
He also froze the “carbon floor” price in a bid to take £15 off consumers’ energy bills.Meanwhile, in a widely anticipated move, the £1 coin will also be replaced by a new model based on the old threepenny bit as part of a bid to scupper sophisticated counterfeiters.
Announcing his budget yesterday lunchtime, the Chancellor said: “The message from this Budget is: you have earned it; you have saved it; and this Government is on your side, whether you’re on a low or middle income, whether you’re saving for your home, for your family or for your retirement.
“The forecasts I’ve presented show growth up; jobs up; and the deficit down.
“With the help of the British people we’re turning our country around. We’re building a resilient economy.
“This is a Budget for the makers, the doers, and the savers.”