The Chancellor gave a £175m boost to people who read books and newspapers on their tablets rather than on paper.
Paper publications are free of VAT. But those that you download are subject to VAT of 20%. Not for much longer.
With a phrase reminiscent of the “end the taxes on knowledge” campaigns of the early 1800s, new Chancellor Rishi Sunak will end what he called “the reading tax” from 1 December.
We will need to keep a sharp eye on publishers. One newspaper I subscribe to costs £26 a month including VAT. That should drop to £21.67 from December. And an £8.99 book downloaded to my tablet should be £7.49. A good incentive to buy e-books for Christmas!
The main tax allowances were frozen.
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You can still have up to £12,500 a year before any tax is due and higher rate 40% tax kicks in at £50,000 – or £43,430 in Scotland.
Unlike the rest of the UK, the Scottish Parliament has agreed to cut taxes slightly for 90% of taxpayers, and those whose income is less than £27,200 – well over half of taxpayers – will now pay less than they do elsewhere in the UK.
One saving applies throughout the UK to anyone under state pension age who works. They will pay £104 a year less National Insurance Contributions, and the self-employed will pay £78 a year less as the threshold income where it starts rises to £183 a week or £9,500 a year.
Although fewer people will pay National Insurance Contributions as a result, it does not mean that fewer will qualify for a state pension.
People earning under the threshold down to £120 a week (£6,240 a year) will get credits to fill the gaps.
The cut in the Bank Rate to 0.1% and a new £100 billion fund of very cheap money from the Bank of England for small businesses
and mortgage lenders will mean that savings rates may fall even lower than the nugatory rates the banks pay now.
So keep an eye on the best buys and move your money as they change. Another Budget is promised – or threatened – in the autumn.