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Budget 2015: How it affects you

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Stefanie Stapleton of Blick Rothenberg accountants comments on today's key Budget announcements.

Workers

The Chancellor has announced a new compulsory National Living Wage to come into effect from next year. It will begin at £7.20 an hour from April 2017, with the government promising it will reach £9 an hour in 2020.

"Linking the living wage to personal allowance gives lower-earning employees certainty that their income will be tax-free.

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"The concern would be whether employers can afford to pay it. There is a concern that small business may be forced to make people part-time or offer their employees zero hours contracts rather than foot the bill of an extra £1.80 an hour.

"However, the measure is being introduced gradually and the deduction in the corporation tax is designed to help with these costs for employers."

Lower-earning parents

Parents will only be entitled to child tax credits for their first two children from April 2017 and the income threshold for tax credits will be reduced from £6,420 to £3,850.

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"The cuts in tax credits will significantly impact lower income families. Working parents will be doing the maths to see if the increase in the living wage compensates for their loss in tax credits.

"By limiting child tax credits and universal credits to two children after 2017, George Osborne is deterring lower-income parents from having more than two children."

Home owners

From 2017, the Government will gradually introduce a £175,000 allowance for a homeowner's main residence when left to children or grandchildren.

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"The home is an emotive topic for many and with pension relief restricted it Is often the only asset pensioners have - many people plan to fund their old age by downsizing and George Osborne has acknowledged this by ensuring those who do move to a smaller property as they get older are not penalised."

Students

The Government will replace student maintenance grants to loans that are paid back when a graduate is earning over £21,000.

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"Currently students from lower-income families are entitled to maintenance grants to help with living costs. From 2016/17 these will become loans.

"This could further dissuade people from poorer backgrounds from going to university - and, will it even get paid back?"

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