News story

Budget extends helping hand to Scottish families and firms

Scottish Secretary welcomes a budget which is 'another positive step forward for Scotland'.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

budget box

Today’s Budget will bring in a range of measures which will support key Scottish business sectors, workers and families across Scotland, the Scottish Secretary said today.

The Chancellor announced significant changes to the tax system which will see 2.33 million people in Scotland take advantage of more generous personal allowances, benefiting by an average of £555 in real terms. The allowance will increase to £10,800 in 2016-17 and to £11,000 in 2017-18. This means people in Scotland will be able to keep more of their pay before being taxed.

This also means 287,000 people in Scotland will have been taken out of paying income tax altogether.

The Scottish Government will benefit from additional funding of £31 million in 2015-16 through Barnett consequentials. This means it has seen additional spending power of £2.7 billion since 2010.

Find out more about Budget 2015

This Budget also delivers a substantial package of support for important Scottish industries.

This includes support for the oil and gas sector, recognising the issues faced by firms operating in the North Sea as a result of falling oil prices and the challenges of a maturing oil basin. The Budget includes announcements on reducing both the Supplementary Charge and the Petroleum Revenue Tax as well as a new Investment Allowance. This is expected to encourage £4 billion of investment in the North Sea over the next five years.

The Scotch Whisky industry also receives a boost with the news alcohol duty is to be reduced by 2 per cent – this is equivalent to 19p per bottle of whisky.

The video games industry, much of which is centred in Dundee, will benefit from a £4m support package.

Vehicle owners will also benefit from the cancellation of the September 2015 fuel duty increase. By the end of 2015-16, a typical motorist will have saved £675, a small business with a van £1,400 and a haulier £21,000.

Mr Carmichael said:

Today’s Budget is another positive step forward for Scotland in the wider journey to economic stability which has taken place over the past five years.

It gets the important things right, with a focus on helping create a fairer and more generous personal tax system which will benefit thousands of people in Scotland and giving a helping hand to some of our key business sectors, securing jobs and prosperity for the future.

This progress has been hard-won by this Government and builds a strong base for Scotland’s economic future as part of the UK.

Budget 2015 - Scotland: At-a-glance

Measure Impact in Scotland
Personal Allowance - Budget 2015 announces that the personal allowance will increase to £10,800 in 2016-17 and £11,000 in 2017-18. Since 2010, as a result of changes to the personal allowance and reducing the tax on savings, the Government will have lifted 287,000 people of out of income tax altogether in Scotland by 2017-18, and 2.33 million people will see an average real terms gain of £555.
Fuel Duty - Budget 2015 announces the cancellation of the September 2015 fuel duty increase. This will benefit the drivers of Scotland’s 2.3 million cars as well as supporting businesses with costs relating to transport.
Electricity prices in the North of Scotland - Budget 2015 announces that the Government will consult on evaluating options to address electricity costs in the North of Scotland. Electricity distribution costs remain higher in the North of Scotland than in all other regions. A consultation will seek to evaluate options to address this, with a view to bringing costs in line with the next most expensive region. We provisionally estimate that, if electricity distribution costs were brought in line with costs in the next most expensive region, this would equate to a cost saving of approximately £30 per household.
Help to Buy: ISA - Budget 2015 announces the launch of a new savings account where individuals receive a 25% (capped at £3,000) bonus of the amount they have saved to help with the cost of their first home. In Scotland, it is estimated that this measure could help around 105,000 people to purchase their first home in the next 5 years.
Personal Savings Allowance - Budget 2015 announces that basic rate taxpayers will receive a £1000 Personal Savings Allowance on savings income from 2016-17. Higher rate taxpayers will receive a £500 allowance. In Scotland, providing basic rate taxpayers with a £1000 Personal Savings Allowance and higher rate taxpayers with a £500 Personal Savings Allowance could remove up to 1.55 million people from savings tax liability. With the introduction of this policy 95% of taxpayers will not pay any tax on their savings income.
ISAs - Budget 2015 announces that ISA savers will be able to withdraw and replace money from their cash ISA in-year without counting against their subscription limit that year, from autumn 2015. The range of ISA eligible investments will be extended from 1 July 2015. In Scotland, according to the last available data (2011-12) there were 1.94 million ISA holders who could benefit from being able to invest in a wider range of assets. There were 896,000 cash ISA subscribers who could benefit from being able to withdraw and replace money from their cash ISA within a tax year.
Extending Farmers Averaging Period - The government has announced an extension to the period over which self-employed farmers can average their profits for income tax purposes from 2 years to 5 years. In Scotland, we expect the extension to 5 years could benefit 5,000 individual farmers.
City Deals in Scotland - Budget 2015 announces that the Government will work towards City Deals for Aberdeen and Inverness. The Government is opening negotiations with local partners and the Scottish Government towards City Deals for Aberdeen and Inverness.
Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme - Budget 2015 announces that the broadband connection voucher scheme for business has been extended by 12 months to March 2016 and to 28 additional cities. All 22 existing cities will run the extended scheme to March 2016. The scheme provides vouchers of up to £3000 to support broadband connection upgrades for small businesses, charities, social enterprises and sole traders. The scheme will be available in Glasgow, Inverness, Stirling and Dundee by 1 April.
Support for important Scottish industries - Budget 2015 announces a number of measures which will support industries important to the Scottish economy. There is a 2% cut in the duty rate on spirits including Scotch Whisky. The Scotch Whisky industry employs 10,000 people directly and supports over 35,000 jobs across the UK. Budget includes a package of measures aimed at the Creative Industries, including film, TV and videogames production.

Oil and Gas Package

Budget 2015 announces a significant new package of support for the oil and gas industry. The Government will:

  • introduce a new Investment Allowance to drive new investment, simplify the existing system of offshore field allowance and provide greater certainty for investors. The allowance will be available on investment expenditure incurred after 1 April 2015.

  • reduce the Supplementary Charge from 30% to 20%, building on the 2% cut announced at Autumn Statement, to send a strong signal that the UK is open for business and ensure the UK Continental Shelf remains competitive as the basin matures. The change will take effect from 1 January 2015.

  • reduce Petroleum Revenue Tax from 50% to 35%, to encourage investment in older fields and the key infrastructure they support. This change will have effect for chargeable periods ending after 31 December 2015.

  • boost offshore exploration by providing £20m of funding for a programme of seismic surveys in under-explored areas of the UKCS in 2015-16.

  • make sure the OGA has the powers it needs to scrutinise companies’ plans for decommissioning programmes to ensure they are cost effective. The government is also going to work with the OGA and the industry to ensure the supply chain is equipped to take up the opportunities offered by timely decommissioning.

This package is expected to lead to over £4bn of additional investment over the next 5 years and at least 120 million barrels of oil equivalent of additional reserves, increasing production by 15% (the equivalent of 0.1% of GDP) by 2019-20.

It will provide certainty for investors and create the right conditions for the basin to flourish and deliver maximum economic benefits for the UK.

Published 18 March 2015