Budget Day is a chance for the government to outline where its priorities lie for the coming financial year - and in the year before a general election this is especially significant.
What the Budget could mean for you
The big news in the Budget statement was a shake-up of the savings market. From July this year, cash and investment ISAs will be merged into a single New ISA with an annual tax-free savings limit of £15,000. The 10% tax rate on savings has also been abolished.
The personal allowance - the threshold at which people start paying income tax - will be increased from £9,440 to £10,000 in the 2014-2015 tax year, and is currently planned to rise again in the 2016-2017 tax year to £10,500. Check out our tax calculator to see how allowance changes could affect your balance.
It was also announced that all tax restrictions on pensioners' ability to access their pension pots are to be removed. The taxable part of a pension pot taken out as cash on retirement is to be charged at the normal income tax rate, instead of at 55% as previously.
These are just a few of the key personal finance points. Did you get what you wished for?
What the budget meant for them
Over the last few weeks, various trade bodies and organisations representing businesses, unions and others have been submitting recommendations to chancellor George Osborne for consideration. Let’s see who got what they wished for…
Budget submission made by the Home Builders Federation (HBF)
What they wanted: The HBF said the UK needs far higher levels of home building for up to twenty-five years to tackle what it refers to as the current shortage. They recommended a return to the idea of "outline" planning permission and for local authorities to be able to speed up decisions.
The HBF also recommended that the government’s Help to Buy scheme be tapered gradually instead of ending abruptly as planned in March 2016.
What they got:
Osborne has announced that the first phase of Help to Buy - the equity loan scheme for new homes - will be extended until 2020, in England at least. Shares in house building companies have gone up in price since the announcement, while critics say it could excessively inflate house prices, creating a housing bubble.
Budget submission made by the TUC (Trade Unions Congress)
What they wanted: The submission from the TUC focuses on what it calls a “stronger, better balanced recovery” and “the protection of living standards in the future”. The recommendations included the reversing of planned reductions in tax on company profits, replacing this with higher tax relief for investment.
The TUC also recommended that the British Business Bank (the new state backed economic development bank) focus on infrastructure and small businesses.
What they got:
Osborne committed to some investment in infrastructure in the form of £140m extra for flood repairs and maintenance, and £200m to fix potholes.
Budget submission made by the BRC (British Retail Consortium)
What they wanted: The BRC wanted business rates to be reformed, calling the current rates “unfit for purpose” as they were set before the financial crisis in 2008. Their submission suggested replacing the current system with a tax based on how much energy a business uses, and how many jobs it creates.
What they got:
Business rate discounts and enhanced capital allowances in enterprise zones have been extended for three years. Corporation tax has also been cut to 21%.
Budget submission made by the EEF (the manufacturing industry trade body)
What they wanted: The EEF’s Budget submission focuses on what it calls “escalating” industrial energy costs. It has recommended the freezing and gradual reduction of the Carbon Price Floor (a tax on fossil fuels used to generate electricity by industries). The EEF said it would ultimately like to see this tax abolished, as they say it currently accounts for 10% of the current electricity bill of big industrial companies.
The EEF also suggested improvements to lending and banking for SMEs, and further investment in apprenticeships and skills training schemes.
What they got:
Promising a budget that rewarded "the makers and the do-ers", Osborne doubled lending for exporters to £3bn, and cut interest rates on that lending by a third. The Annual Investment Allowance, which offers tax relief for businesses investing in infrastructure, has been doubled to £500,000, and extended until the end of 2015. He also pledged to cap the Carbon Price Support rate at £18 from 2016-17 to 2019-20, and provide targeted support to energy intensive industries.