Benefits and state pensions
- Job seekers aged 18 to 21 with no basic numeracy or literacy skills will be required to undertake training in these skills or lose benefits.
- An overall cap on welfare spending will be introduced, but won’t include the state pension or jobseeker’s benefits.
Cost of living
- Average rail fares to stay flat in real terms, instead of rising by 1% above inflation as previously planned.
- Next year’s 2p fuel duty rise cancelled.
- A 30,000 increase in university places next year which will be paid for by privatising student debt.
- Cap on university student places to be abolished.
- Government to cap inflation on business rates at 2% from next April.
- £1,000 cut from business rates for small shops, pubs and cafes.
- Tax on shale gas firms to be halved.
- School meals to be free for infant school children in first three years.
- Marriage and civil partnership tax break to be introduced from April 2015.
- People now in their 40s will not get the state pension until they are 68, while those in their 30s will have to wait another year until they are 69 and those in their 20s will have to work until they are 70.
- State pension to rise by £2.95 a week in April 2014.
Debt and the economy
- UK growing faster than any other major economy according to the chancellor.
- Recession was deeper than feared – down by 7.2% from peak to trough rather than 6.3% previously thought.
- Growth forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) increased from 0.6% in 2013, to 1.4%. 2014 forecasts up from 1.8% to 2.4%.
- Unemployment is forecast by OBR to fall from 7.6% to 7% by 2015 and 5.6% by 2017.
- UK government debt will start to fall a year earlier than anticipated and Treasury is on course to run a small budget surplus by 2018/19, says OBR.
- £1 billion loans to “unblock” housebuilding in areas such as Leeds and Manchester.
- Capital Gains Tax to be levied on foreigners investing in British property from April 2015.