Three surprise announcements in the Budget – and it’s good news for hard-up households | The Sun

BIG policy changes were revealed in the Chancellor's Spring Statement speech, but a few were a little unexpected.

The Sun has gone through the documents by the Treasury to see what changes were hidden in the small print.

The Spring Statement included an extension of the Energy Price Guarantee which will help millions of households to save £160 on their energy bills.

Parents will be £480 a year better off as strict rules on staff-to-children ratios in nurseries has been relaxed.

Plus drivers have escaped a price hike as fuel duty has been frozen for the 13th year in a row and the 5p cut has been kept.

In a double win for The Sun's Keep it Down campaign, Jeremy Hunt told MPs he wanted to protect hard-pressed drivers in his first proper Budget.

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There was also a surprise police, with the Chancellor announcing that tax-free cap on the lifetime pensions allowance will be scrapped.

But as well as the headline announcements, there are details hidden in the Spring Statement documents that could impact your finances.

Car tax to rise from April

Car tax will rise from next month in a blow for millions of motorists.

Vehicle Excise Duty will be uprated from April 1 by the rate of RPI for cars, vans and motorbikes – 10.1%.

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In good news for the haulage sector, VED rates will be frozen for lorry drivers from the same date.

Vehicle Excise Duty is an annual tax you have to pay to have your car on the road.

You have to pay the tax when the vehicle is first registered.

You then have to pay the tax from then on to maintain having your vehicle on the road.

The exact amount your VED will go up from April 1 depends on the type of vehicle you own, as you pay different amounts based on its weight.

Your rate is different based on when you registered your vehicle too.

Help to Save scheme extended

Households who claim Universal Credit can get a £600 savings boost as the Help to Save scheme has been extended until April 2025.

It was originally due to end in September this year.

It means that benefits claimants have even longer to earn free cash while they save.

Help to Save is a government initiative designed to encourage those on benefits to save money.

For every £1 put in the account, the government will boost it by 50p, up to a certain amount.

You can sign up if you are on Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit.

Under the scheme, the government gives you 50p for every £1 you save into your account over four years.

You can save between £1 and £50 each calendar month and pay the money in via standing order or bank transfer.

That means if you put the maximum £50 in each month from April 2023 for two years you would get back £600 from the government in total

Pension tax changes

Wealthier pension savers with significant sums to put away will be boosted by an increase the pensions annual allowance.

The limit on how much money people can build up in their pension in any one tax year while still benefiting from tax relief – from £40,000 to £60,000.

The lifetime pensions allowance meanwhile will be abolished.

It has stood at £1.07 million, with savers incurring tax after that personal pension pot threshold was exceeded.

The move could particularly help people in senior roles, such as those working in the NHS, to remain in the workplace.

It will come into effect from April 6.

What else was announced in the Spring Budget?

What else has been announced?

Smokers will see the cost of a pack of cigarettes hit a whopping £14.39 after the Chancellor announced a huge tobacco tax hike.

Drivers have escaped a price hike as fuel duty has been frozen for the 13th year in a row and the 5p cut has been kept.

In a double win for The Sun's Keep it Down campaign, Jeremy Hunt told MPs he wanted to protect hard-pressed drivers in his first proper Budget.

It means drivers will be spared a crippling 12p rise feared – a combination of the end of the cut and an inflationary rise.

Millions of households will also save £160 on their energy bills after the Chancellor confirmed the extension of the Energy Price Guarantee in the Spring Budget.

Mr Hunt also confirmed that energy firms will be barred from charging four million families who use prepayment meters more for their energy.

Motorists have also been given a boost in today's Spring Budget as local councils are set to receive £200million to fix potholes.

Meanwhile, the Chancellor is also raising the lifetime pension allowance (LTA) in an effort to keep people in work.

Parents will be £480 a year better off as strict rules on staff-to-children ratios in nurseries has been relaxed.

To help with the cost of living squeeze, the number of kids per staff in nurseries is expected to rise from four to five.

This in turn should see families save £40 a week – or £480 a year.

The maximum amount of cash parents can claim for childcare has also been increased by hundreds of pounds.

The maximum cap for claims per month has remained unchanged for 18 years at £646 for one child and £1,108 for two.

But it will now increase to £950 for a single child and £1,680 for two.

Mr Hunt is also introducing more sweeping childcare changes to let mums and dads go to work.

Currently, parents on Universal Credit can claim back 85% of their childcare costs – but they have to pay upfront first.

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It means parents may have to find more than £1,000 for a month’s nursery care in advance before getting any support.

But childcare payments will soon be paid up front rather than in arrears in a big win for the Sun’s Make Universal Credit Work campaign.

Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]

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