Plain English 2010 budget

George Osborne is calling for an ‘honest’ Budget. Councillors, like those in Stoke-on-Trent are calling for ‘plain English’ council budgets. People in the UK want the Government to give us clear budget information, even if the news is painful.

For over thirty years, we have been fighting for clear public information. However, government reports in recent months, on all kinds of financial matters, have sent our heads reeling with facts and figures and left us unclear about our financial future. We need financial information that is relevant to our lives and that we can easily relate to the money in our pockets.

When we reviewed the budget reports in 2007 and 2008, we found that two-thirds of the content was obfuscatory (that means ‘made obscure or unclear’) with the use of jargon and gobbledygook. In 2009, we simply updated the glossary of budget report language, rather than wade through more padded sentences.

But for the 2010 Budget, we are asking people to send in their ‘Budget Bulls’. Whether it’s jargon, political platitudes or plain nonsense, we want to know just how much of the Budget you understand.

Chrissie Maher, founder of Plain English Campaign says, “What is the cost of preparing a budget report that so many people struggle to understand? I don’t want clever terminology. We’ve had our fill of ‘fiscal loosening’, ‘quantitative easing’ and ‘protectionism’. Like any other taxpayer, I want to know what is happening to my money and our economy, in words I can understand.”

Email your comments about the language used in today’s Budget speech and reports to pecpressoffice@aol.com.

A plain English flavour of some budget highlights.

Housing

The stamp duty limit has been increased to £250,000 for first-time buyers. The stamp duty rate for houses bought for £1 million or more is increased from 4% to 5%.

The UK’s finances

The Government will borrow another £167 thousand million (£167 billion) in 2009-10.

In future years the Government expects it will have to borrow these extra amounts:

2010-11 £163 billion
2011-12 £131 billion
2012-13 £110 billion
2013-14 £89 billion
2014-15 £74 billion

The Government forecasts that its extra borrowing as a percentage of our gross domestic product (GDP) will be:

2009-10 11.8%
2010-11 11.1%
2011-12 8.5%
2012-13 6.8%
2013-14 5.2%
2014-15 4.0%

Our gross domestic product is the value of all the goods and services the UK produces.

The UK’s National Debt now is 54% of gross domestic product and will rise to 75% in 2014-15.

Duties

Alcohol duties will increase by 2% above inflation from for another 2 years from 2013.
Duty on cider will increase by 10% above inflation from midnight on 28 March 2010.
Tobacco duty will increase from 24 March 2010 by 1% above inflation.
The increase in fuel duty which has already been announced will be introduced in stages: 1p in April, another 1p in October and the rest in January 2011.

Inheritance tax

The threshold will remain unchanged for the next four years.

Asset sales

The Government is selling some of its assets to raise £16 billion. It also intends to sell its shares in RBS, Lloyds and Northern Rock.

Business

Business rates will be cut for one year from October 2010 to help small businesses.
The annual investment allowance for asset purchases by small businesses will be increased to £100,000.
Entrepreneurs’ relief for Capital Gains Tax will be doubled to £2 million on which the tax rate will be 10%.

Inflation

The Government expects inflation to be back below 2% by January 2011.

Savings

The yearly ISA limit will rise from £7,200 to £10,200 from April 2010.

Jobs

Under 24-year-olds will be offered work or a training place after they have been unemployed for six months.

Growth

The gross domestic product will grow by:

  • 1 to 1.5 % this year; and
  • 3 to 3.5% next year.
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