Good news for farmers, first-time buyers and savers – that was the verdict on the budget by a financial expert at one of North Wales leading accountancy firms.
Anthony Lewis, a director at Chartered Accountants Coxeys of Wrexham, which handles the financial affairs of many of the region’s new businesses as well as some household names, said Chancellor George Osborne’s final budget before the election should also help young people into employment.
He said: “The abolition of National Insurance for under-21s and apprentices will help them find jobs as it would reduce employment costs while at the same time enable them to keep more of their money.
“The minimum wage and allowances are also up which will also help the lower paid and those just entering employment.
“There is also good news for the self-employed who won’t have to provide written tax returns in future and who will have their Class 2 National Insurance abolished though it will have to be replaced with something to provide them with pensions.
For rural North Wales there is also good news for the farming community who will in the future be able to have their earnings spread over up to five years: “That will help them even out the good years and bad years,” he said.
“Small basic rate savers are also going to be happy with being able to earn up to £1,000 in interest tax free which will mean that 95 per cent of savers will not have their interest taxed.
“There are changes in ISAs to make them more flexible and the introduction of a new Help To Buy ISA which will benefit young people trying to get on the housing ladder and the building industry.
“It means that for every £200 saved towards a deposit the Government will top it up by 25 per cent, £50.
“Along with the successful Help To Buy scheme with its requirement for just a five per cent deposit for first-time buyers this should mean young people can buy their first home sooner.
“The freezing of petrol duty again will also help business and there’s good news for drinkers and smokers with 1p off the price of a pint, two per cent off cider and spirits and no increase on wine or tobacco duties.”
The Help To Buy ISA has also been welcomed by two of North Wales’s major house builders, Anwyl Homes and Macbryde Homes.
Anwyl Director Tom Anwyl said: “This is a great idea and long overdue. It’s nice to see something that’s proactive in helping people onto the housing ladder.
“I’m also encouraged by the abolition of National Insurance for apprentices which will make it easier for employers to take them on.
“We have always had a commitment to apprentices because they are the lifeblood of the industry and this is a good way of providing additional education for people who want to get into industry.”
Simon Macbryde, the Managing Director of Macbryde Homes, said; “The new Help to Buy ISA is a really terrific idea that will have a positive impact.
“The wider economy is showing signs of real improvement and this imaginative measure will help stimulate the housing market to meet the growing demand for new homes whilst providing practical assistance to people who want to get their first foothold on the property ladder.
“One of the other benefits is that it will provide an economic boost for communities across Wales and the rest of the UK.
“According to the industry standard measure, it’s estimated that every house built will create around four jobs if you take into account the workers needed involved in construction, the supply chain and ancillary services.”