Budget 2014 – Savings and investments
The Chancellor announced a number of important changes to benefit savers.
The first of these changes was a major reform to the ISA system. A New ISA (NISA) is to be introduced from 1 July 2014 with equal limits for cash and stocks and shares. This will allow savers to transfer funds from stocks and shares ISAs to cash ISAs allowing far greater flexibility.
The Chancellor also surprised many savers by increasing the annual investment limit for a NISA to £15,000. The Government estimates that over 6 million people will benefit from the higher limit. In addition, the limits for Junior ISAs and Child Trust Funds will be increased to £4,000. All these changes will take effect from 1 July 2014.
The second change was the announcement that the 10% starting rate for savings income is to be a replaced with a new 0% rate from April 2015. In addition, the 0% rate will apply to up to £5,000 of savings income (a significant increase from the 2014/15 rate of £2,880). This means that any savers with a total income of less than £15,500 will not pay tax on their savings taking over 1 million savers out of the tax net. These savers will be able to elect to be paid interest gross via their bank or building society removing the requirement to reclaim overpaid tax from HMRC.
The third change was the introduction of a new National Savings and Investments (NS&I) product called ‘pensioner bonds’ from January 2015. These new pensioner bonds will offer greater certainty and a better return for pensioners many of whom rely on savings income. The interest rates have not yet been set but early indications are 2.8% for a one-year bond and 4% for a three-year bond. The bonds will be taxable, but savers that are eligible can receive the interest tax-free. There will be an investment limit of £10,000 per bond.
The Chancellor also announced that the cap on investments for Premium Bonds is to be increased from £30,000 to £40,000 from 1 June 2014 and from £50,000 from 2015/16. There will also be two £1 million prizes per month from August 2014.