We’ve been having some interesting discussions and debates around the Budget here in Benefex HQ. Here’s a little insight into what we think. Feel free to get involved in the debate in the comment section below.
The new pound coin – our designers can’t quite decide how they feel about this. In truth, they haven’t got much to go on. The coin looks somewhat like a hybrid between the threepenny bit and a £2 coin, we’re hoping they’ll enter the competition to design the other side – perhaps using the Benefex logo for inspiration. No? Maybe not then.
We also have pressing concerns for vending machines, car park meters and shopping trolleys, or at least the companies that manufacture or use them. Could this be the end of coin operated machines? With contactless payments, it could well be.
Tax-free childcare – a biggie for lots of our clients, providers and even employees. We’re interested in what the take-up rates will be for the current childcare scheme before the changes come into place as some parents are better off on the current scheme. Parents who are not in the current scheme in October 2015 will only be able to join the new scheme, whereas parents that are in the current scheme can keep on as they are.
The minimum pension age increasing from 55 to 57 - This one was pretty much inevitable, wasn’t it? Who knows what age we’ll actually be able to retire. And when we finally do, there’s no longer a requirement to purchase an annuity. We can’t see this being in favour of those that wish to in terms of the income an annuity will give them, but it has sparked discussion around preferences and what this means for pension providers.
Tax on bingo halls halved to 10% - As the general consensus in the office is that we’re not big bingo players, we’re not quite sure about this one, especially the tag line “Bingo! Cutting the bingo tax and beer duty to help hard-working people do more of the things they enjoy”. Patronising much? Although, if it creates jobs through increasing the number of bingo halls, or secures jobs by keeping existing ones open, we could be persuaded.
Changes to income tax – Great news for lots of people, especially those on lower incomes. We like this change. We also like the ISA changes, which will see the ISA allowance go up to £15,000 on 1st July 2014.
So, overall we’re feeling pretty positive. We’ve moved on to discussing what these changes mean for benefit schemes – especially the tax-free childcare. More on that soon.