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Benyon describes budget as 'good for difficult times'

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NEWBURY’s MP Richard Benyon has praised Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget announcement yesterday (Wednesday), saying he thought it was “a really good budget for the difficult times in which we live.”
In what was described as the most-leaked budget ever, Chancellor George Osborne delivered little in the way of surprises in terms of focus, but plenty in terms of nuance.
The expected cut in the 50p tax rate was announced, though it will not take effect until next year and the widely anticipated mansion tax was brought into force, if not in the way it was expected.
Instead of taxing expensive homes directly, the Chancellor instead chose to increase stamp duty on properties costing more than £2m to 7 per cent for individuals and a whopping 14 per cent for homes bought by companies – thus closing the loophole whereby individuals bought homes for themselves through companies to avoid tax.
Mr Osborne also announced an increase in the personal tax threshold, to £9,205.
Mr Benyon said yesterday that he thought low and middle income earners would particularly benefit: “As many as 24m people earning less than £100,000 will gain from this budget, with two million of the lowest earners taken out of the tax system altogether.”
Former Newbury MP and Liberal Democrat spokesman David Rendel acknowledged the Liberal Democrats role within the coalition Government and said that there were clear signs of a Liberal Democrat hand in the budget: “The increase up to £10,000 in the personal allowance against Income Tax was at the heart of the Liberal Democrats 2010 General Election manifesto, but it played no part in the Tories' manifesto.”
Today’s increase to £9,205 put the £10,000 mark within the coalition’s reach, he said, adding: “This is a huge triumph from a party most people thought would never be in a position to implement its policies at Westminster.”
But Mr Rendel also sought to distance his party from some of Mr Osborne’s policies, such as the plans for further airport capacity in the South East and the reduction of the 50p tax rate.
There were also tax breaks for the video games, animation and high-end TV industries, a move welcomed by Newbury-based video editing hardware firm Quantel.
The company’s marketing director, Steve Owen, said: “This is great news for our industry. We have some of the world’s top creative talent in the UK. The tax credit scheme announced in the budget is very good news for our customers.”
Other key announcements included a cap on tax relief for people earning more than £50,000; lower corporation tax, falling to 22 per cent in 2014 with simplified tax laws for small companies; the withdrawal of child benefits from those earning more than £60,000, tapering off for those earning more than 50,000 and an overhaul of the planning system, ‘cutting guidance from 1,000 pages to 50 pages’, with a presumption in favour of sustainable development.
The Government will also introduce a general anti-avoidance rule for the UK tax system to prevent what Mr Osborne called “morally repugnant” tax evasion.

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