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Queen's Speech 2014: what it means for you

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The Queen has delivered her speech at the annual State Opening of Parliament. Here are the measures that will affect our finances.


Her Majesty has delivered her annual speech at the State Opening of Parliament, outlining the coalition Government’s legislative agenda for its final year in office.

And there was lots in there that will have an effect on your bank balance, although much of it was confirmation of things we already knew were going to happen.

Income Tax and fuel duty

What the Queen said:
“My ministers will implement measures to increase further the personal allowance and to freeze fuel duty.”

What the Government wants to do:
The Government plans to introduce legislation to further increase the personal tax allowance and freeze fuel duty.

The personal tax allowance is how much you can earn each year free of Income Tax and has been steadily increased in recent years to its current level of £10,000. In this year’s Budget the Chancellor announced the intention to increased that to £10,500 in 2015-16, so this is just a reference to that becoming law.

Similarly, the fuel duty freeze was announced in last year’s Autumn Statement, when the planned increase for this September was abandoned.

Pensions

What the Queen said:
“Legislation will be brought forward to give those who have saved discretion over the use of their retirement funds.”

What the Government wants to do:
The Pensions Tax Bill which was announced in the Budget will remove the requirement to purchase an annuity with your pension savings, instead giving you the right to use the cash as you wish.

What the Queen said:
“My Government’s pension reforms will also allow for innovation in the private pensions market to give greater control to employees.”

What the Government wants to do:
Separate to the above, the Private Pensions Bill will introduce Collective Defined Contribution schemes, which supporters claim could boost your pension by up to 30%. For more on this, read Government pushes for new collective pension plans.

Take control of your pension saving with a SIPP

ISAs and Premium Bonds

What the Queen said:
“The Government’s pension reforms will…extend the ISA and Premium Bond schemes and abolish the savers’ ten pence tax rate.”

What the Government wants to do:
As announced in the Budget, the annual ISA limit is being bumped up to £15,000 from 1st July, while you’ll be able to divide that as you wish between cash and stocks and shares.

The limits you can save in Premium Bonds are also being extended from £30,000 to £40,000, while the 10p starting rate of savings tax is being lowered to zero, and the band to which it applies is being extended from £2,880 to £5,000.

Compare ISAs with lovemoney.com

Housing

What the Queen said:
“My Government will increase housing supply and home ownership by reforming the planning system, enabling new locally-led garden cities and supporting small house building firms.”

What the Government wants to do:
The £525 million Builders’ Finance Fund will be used to provide up to 15,000 further homes, while a £150 million fund is being set up to support service plots for custom-built homes. There will also be help to speed up the time taken for sites already granted planning permission to be built on.

What the Queen said:
“My ministers will continue to promote the Help to Buy and Right to Buy schemes to support home ownership.”

What the Government wants to do:
Essentially, the schemes are going nowhere, no matter how many critics think they should be scrapped.

Carrier bags

What the Queen said:
“My Government will…reduce the use of plastic carrier bags to help protect the environment.”

What the Government wants to do:
From October 2015 a 5p charge will be introduced on all single-use plastic carrier bags in England There are already similar charges in place in Wales and Northern Ireland, with a charge expected to be introduced in Scotland this year too.

However small- and medium-sized businesses will be exempt from the charge.

Retailers will be expected to donate the proceeds of the charge to good causes.

Childcare

What the Queen said:
“A Bill will be introduced to help working families with childcare costs.”

What the Government wants to do:
The Childcare Payments Bill will help parents save up to £2,000 a year on their childcare costs. We explain how it will work in Families to get up to £2,000 a year to help with childcare costs.

Free childcare to disadvantaged two-year-olds is to be extended from September too.

Married couple's tax break

What the Queen said:
“Measures will be brought forward for a married couple’s allowance, which will recognise marriage in the tax system.”

What the Government wants to do:
Another piece of legislation that’s been in the works for a while; back in last year’s Autumn Statement the Chancellor announced the introduction of a transferable tax allowance for married couples and civil partnerships.

This will be worth 10% of the personal allowance, so £1,050 when it is introduced next year. The Government believes over four million married couples will benefit, as one partner doesn’t use their full allowance. It will be worth up to £210 per couple from 2015-16.

National Insurance

What the Queen said:
“In respect of National Insurance contributions (NICs), legislation will be brought forward to tackle avoidance and to simplify their collection from the self-employed.”

What the Government wants to do:
The National Insurance Contributions Bill will do a number of things to improve National Insurance receipts. In terms of simplification, it will mean that Class 2 NICs can be collected alongside Class 4 NICs as part of a self-assessment tax return, rather than the current system where there is a completely separate process of payment.

The Bill will also give HM Revenue & Customs powers to seek the “accelerated payment” of contributions where a taxpayer has been found to use an avoidance scheme which has failed before the courts, but the taxpayer has not chosen to settle their bill.

In addition there will be new penalties for promoters of tax avoidance schemes.

Infrastructure

What the Queen said:
“Legislation will allow for the creation of an allowable solutions scheme to enable all new homes to be built to a zero carbon standard and will guarantee long-term investment in the road network.”

What the Government wants to do:
The Government claims it is “committed to implementing a zero carbon standard for new homes from 2016” though suggests that’s not actually always technically feasible or cost effective for house builders to achieve on-site. So it is going to set a “minimum energy performance standard”.

Energy

What the Queen said:
“My Government will continue to implement major reforms to the electricity market.”

What the Government wants to do:
Two new schemes are being introduced to ensure the UK gets a “clean, diverse and competitive mix of energy generation”.

Contracts for Difference will help boost investment in low carbon generation, while the Capacity Market is a regular retainer payment to ensure there won’t be any future blackouts.

Compare energy deals with lovemoney.com

More from lovemoney.com:

Families to get up to £2,000 a year to help with childcare costs

Government pushes for new collective pension plans

European Commission suggests how to fix the UK’s economy

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