Budget boosts for housebuilders, North Sea oil, media and tech firms.
Today's Budget did not contain any nasty surprises for most private investors; only those with high incomes and large pension contributions might be affected.
However, the Chancellor did announce a number of changes that might affect the fortunes of some industries and companies popular with Foolish investors.
Let's take a quick look at personal taxation first. Leaving aside the increase in the personal allowance (£9,205 from April 2013) and the cut from 50% to 45% in the top rate of income tax, what else changed?
Pension tax relief was not changed directly in the Budget, but the Chancellor did announce an overall cap on tax relief. Anyone claiming more than £50,000 of tax relief in total will have their tax relief capped at 25% of their income.
Capital gains and inheritance tax
There were no changes to capital gains tax (CGT) and inheritance tax (IHT) rules. The current CGT allowance of £10,600 per year will remain unchanged this year and will rise in line with CPI from April 2013.
Similarly, the IHT allowance will remain unchanged until April 2015, when it will rise in line with CPI.
Cheap credit for housebuilders?
The Chancellor confirmed that the Get Britain Building fund would be expanded to provide £20bn of loan guarantees from Barclays (LSE: BARC), Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS) and Lloyds TSB (LSE: LLOY), among others.
This news promoted an instant boost in housebuilders' share prices, with Bovis Homes (LSE: BVS) and Barratt Development (LSE: BDEV) both surging upwards by over 4%.
Aside from a cut in the top rate of income tax, bankers didn't get any bonuses. George Osborne announced an increase in the Bank Levy aimed at cancelling out the benefit from the forthcoming cuts to corporation tax.
Gas and oil boost
There was good news for North Sea oil companies, which were promised an end to "uncertainty" over decommissioning tax relief. Companies will now be able to get contractual agreements on the relief they will receive when decommissioning assets.
There was good news for companies opening up new fields for production, too. A £3bn field allowance will be available for deep fields with large reserves. This is aimed at the oil and gas fields west of Shetland, which are being developed by BP (LSE: BP) and Royal Dutch Shell (LSE: RDSB), among others.
Small oil and gas companies also got a boost. The allowance for small fields will be increased to £150m, with the maximum qualifying field size increasing to 6.25m tonnes and tapering to 7m tonnes. This should enable more fields to qualify.
A Budget for business?
Other potential beneficiaries of the Budget include the film, videogame and technology industries, all of which were promised tax incentives to encourage them to maintain and develop their presence in the UK.
Whatever your view on the politics of the Budget, it did include a variety of measures aimed at encouraging British industry.
Were you impressed by Osborne's efforts? Leave a comment below and let us know.
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