The Great Debate UK

How will the budget play out?

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Julia-Whittle-Julia Whittle is principal and head of international, Punter Southall Financial Management. The opinions expressed are her own. She will participate in a Reuters Budget live blog at noon GMT on Wednesday, March 24, 2010. Please tune in and join the discussion.

We would certainly expect Chancellor Alistair Darling to use this budget to make a strong statement ahead of the general election to try to repair public confidence, but this may be difficult without making the situation worse.

There has been huge speculation that the Chancellor will increase the rate of capital gains tax, from 18 percent to something much closer to the new 50 percent top rate of income tax but this is unlikely to yield huge revenues and would add to the hit on high earners.

Marginal tax rate increases would probably be a bridge too far but some tinkering around the edges is likely– for example tax disclosure arrangements could well be extended to cover “income to capital” schemes and maybe extending HMRC powers in relation to offshore accounts.

Pre-budget report should simplify tax affairs for high earners

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Julia Whittle_PSFM - Hi Res Colour Mar 06-Julia Whittle is principal and head of international, Punter Southall Financial Management. She will participate in a Reuters pre-budget live blog on Dec. 9, at 12 p.m. British time. The opinions expressed are her own.-

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The attack on high earners has probably not reached a pinnacle and those earning above £100,000 have reason to be nervous in this current climate. The Pre-Budget statement so close to an election shouldn’t produce anything too drastic as there is little time to implement anything radical or complicated. However an attempt at some “vote winners” is a distinct possibility.

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