In the past few years I've become slightly more interested in the budget - normally to find out how much more it's going to cost to fill my car, or how much more I would have to pay for my booze. Today however, with impending fatherhood on the cards, my attention has been caught by the bits in the budget for the family.
Here's a quick breakdown of the relevant sections:
- Child tax credit - will raise by 14% over the next few years.
- The Child Trust Fund will now be enhanced, with children getting £250 (or £500 for poorer families) when they reach 7-years-old.
- Child care vouchers will go up by £5 a week to £55
- Personal tax allowance will rise from £4,895 to £5,035 - so, more money in your pocket if you're paying taxes. Just think of all the extra nappies.
Of course, there are elements of the budget that are designed to set things up for the bigger things in life:
Need a bigger house to fit in the baby equipment? - The exemption on stamp duty will be raised to £125,000 (from £120,000)
And for (hopefully) much later in life, the level at which inheritance tax begins to be paid will rise from £275,000 to £325,000
As a final note, duty on English sparkling wine has been frozen, so at least wetting the baby's head won't cost an arm and a leg.