AHEAD of next Wednesday's Budget announcement, experts at wealth manager Brewin Dolphin unveil their predictions of what could be in The Chancellor's red briefcase.
TAX AND NATIONAL INSURANCE.
Guy Foster, head of portfolio strategy: "Mr Osborne has been quite clear about the type of budget he is planning. Large scale giveaways aren't justified by either the political or economic cycle this year.
Loading article content
"Even as inflation falls, however, the accumulated decline in real incomes from rising prices and stubbornly inert wages remains a hindrance to economic prospects. A big issue therefore is what he may do for the low paid."
Mr Foster believes a clear political and economic rationale exists for raising the national minimum wage beyond the three per cent recommended by the low pay commission, although the likely casualty of such a move might be further advances in the personal allowance.
PENSIONS AND ANNUITIES.
Nick Fitzgerald, head of financial planning: "The world of pensions is increasingly less certain with a loss of trust in the stability of the regime.
"Over recent years we have seen a constant nibbling away at the incentives to save; reducing lifetime allowances; a fear of means testing for the state pension; investments in pension funds no longer receiving dividend tax credits - which were a huge incentive in the past; and now more and more pension savers are paying higher rate tax in retirement. Altogether, these changes are making ISAs a more attractive long term savings vehicle.
"There is a growing fear that pension savings are an easy target for stealth taxes. A commitment from the government that pension reliefs will not be tinkered with for the lifetime of the next Parliament would help restore trust, especially in the face of Labour's intention to restrict higher rate tax relief - costing pension savers an estimated £1bn per annum.
"If we are to avoid seeing further erosion of pensions, we must regain confidence in the Government's intentions on incentives and also push hard for reform of the annuity market."
Richard Harwood, divisional director financial planning: "This continues to be a priority and any victory in court for HMRC is strongly publicised, so we should expect the closure of perceived loopholes to be highlighted."
Rob Burgeman, divisional director: "We would welcome a commitment from the Government to ISAs as a core long term savings vehicle for UK citizens.
"Speculation is building that there may be changes here and the uncertainty is most unwelcome and destabilising at a time when every encouragement should be given to those seeking to ensure their long term financial security.
"Any restrictions on ISA savings will drive the spare savings flow into the already overheated property market."
For analysis and expert comment of Budget 2014 with Brewin Dolphin see The Northern Echo on Thursday March 20.
On Twitter follow @Brewin_guy and @bizecho