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Budget 2015: What will it mean for HR?

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What will today’s Budget bring? HR magazine quickly runs through what HR and business-related policies could be in the Chancellor’s red box.

Osborne has promised “no giveaway and no gimmicks” in this pre-election Budget, which he has also termed as a step towards a “truly national recovery”.

He has revealed the Budget will contain more on building a “Northern powerhouse” and committing to long-term plans to support science and high-speed transport, which could lead to job creation.

This is some of what you could expect to see this afternoon:

Pensions
Following last year’s extensive pensions reforms, which give people over 55 the ability to access their pensions, the chancellor’s latest pension reforms are predicted to allow up to five million retirees the option to sell their annuities for a fixed lump sum.

Osborne has said: "There are five million pensioners who are locked into annuities they have already bought. They should have the same freedoms as we have given everyone else… I am going to change the law to let that happen, and make sure we have the right guidance in place".

Personal tax allowance
There are predictions that Osborne will raise the tax-free personal allowance further. It will increase from £10,000 to £10,600 this April (Osborne announced a further rise in the Autumn Statement), but there are indications he will raise it to £11,000 – or even more – this afternoon.

National minimum wage
As reported yesterday, the government has confirmed it will be raising the national minimum wage by 20p an hour, with an increase of 20% for apprentices.

Youth employment
Under-25s could lose their benefits if they refuse work or training.

No more tax returns
Good news for the self-employed, as the chancellor is expected to scrap the annual tax return and replace it with a digital tax account.

Tax avoidance
The chancellor is likely to announce further measures to crack down on tax avoidance from multinational companies.

Tax breaks for oil and gas
A collapse in oil prices is hitting the oil and gas industry hard. Could tax breaks help keep the sector on an even keel, and save jobs?

HR magazine will send a post-Budget news bulletin this afternoon.