The 2013 Budget and what it means for you: the key points in plain English
Published 20 March 2013 by Helen Gradwell
This guide will explain all the key points in the Chancellor's 2013 Budget, and explain how these changes could affect ordinary people - like you.
You may have heard that George Osborne has done a speech today - setting out his Budget for the next year. If you're not quite sure what some of these changes will mean for you, we've put together this simple guide. We've grouped some of the key announcements together and shown how they'll affect different groups of people in society.
The government previously planned on putting a 3p rise on beer duty tax in April, but they've scrapped this idea. They've also got rid of the beer duty escalator - introduced by Labour in 2008.
This means that the duty on beer will no longer automatically increase by 2% above inflation each year. Beer duty will now be cut by 1p per pint. However, the escalator still applies to cider, wine and spirits.
The Independent says this means that wine will rise by 10p per bottle, spirits by 38p per bottle and cider by 2p per pint.
From 2014, you'll be able to earn £10,000 in a year before being taxed, compared with £8,105 today and £9,440 from April 2013. This is good news for all workers - but especially those on a low income.
There will also be an estimated 600,000 more jobs made available than this time last year.
Mr Osborne announced two schemes that could help people wanting to buy their first home - or move up the property ladder.
A 'mortgage guarantee' scheme will be launched in 2014. For three years, the government will offer a kind of insurance to mortgage lenders. It will allow lenders to claim for some of their losses if a borrower defaults.
This should give mortgage lenders more confidence in lending to people, even if they have small deposits.
And if you want to buy a new-build home, you'll be able to get a loan of an extra 20% from the government as long as you have a 5% deposit. This loan will be interest-free for five years.
Motorists and commuters
There was a fuel duty increase planned for September, but this has now been scrapped. This increase would have added about 3p per litre at the pumps.
Mr Osborne also promised an extra £15bn for new construction, road and rail projects by 2020 - which should hopefully improve commuter routes.
If you're a parent earning up to £150,000 per year, you will be able to get tax-free childcare vouchers worth £1,200 per child. These will replace the current system of employer-supported vouchers - because not all employers offer them.
If you're on Universal Credit and you have children, you will get extra support.
There will also be 20% off the first £6,000 you pay towards childcare for each child under five years old - from autumn 2015.
A new Employment Allowance has been introduced which will take £2,000 off the National Insurance bill for every business and charity. Big businesses won't really notice this that much - but if you own a smaller business, you're likely to feel the difference.
In fact, 450,000 small businesses will now pay no National Insurance at all.
The flat-rate pension of £144 per week will be brought forward one year - to 2016. This flat-rate pension replaces the current state pension, which has two 'halves'. This means everyone claiming their pension after these measures are introduced will get £144 per week.