A pre-election boost for the Whisky and Oil industries where the main points of interest for people in Moray from the Chancellor’s budget speech on Wednesday.
With many in the region directly affected by the current crisis facing North Sea oil production the £1.3billion in tax breaks announced for the industry will be regarded as good news.
The same can be said for the shot in the arm provided to the Whisky industry, where it is hoped that a 2% cut on duty will lead to greater investment and employment for distilleries in Moray and Speyside.
For those in work further increases to personal tax allowances are also being welcomed as are further changes that will allow pensioners already in receipt of private pensions a greater degree of flexibility in how they use them.
Commenting on the boost to the oil industry from the budget the Scottish Conservative candidate at the forthcoming general election, Douglas Ross, said: “Many people living in Moray work in the oil industry and there has been a great deal of concern in this sector for some time.
“The SNP made great plans for oil revenue during the referendum campaign but they have been almost silent as the price of oil fell. Today’s announcement set out a comprehensive package of measures to help the industry including a £1.3 billion boost.”
Mr Ross also welcomed the cut in Whisky duty, adding: “Moray is home to the largest number of distilleries of any constituency in the UK and for only the fourth time in the last century, the budget has delivered a 2% cut in duty on this iconic Scottish product.
“This will lead to more investment and employment in the industry and many individuals and businesses in Moray will benefit from that.”
However, while welcoming some of the measures from the Chancellor’s statement, the SNP MP for Moray, Angus Robertson, said they did not go far enough.
He said: “We now know that George Osborne and his Tory/Lib Deb coalition government have failed on all of their targets for this parliamentary session.
“There are £30billion in further austerity cuts that will hit every man woman and child in Scotland and the rest of the UK still coming down the track and agreed to be the Labour Party – that is not good news.”
Some Key Budget Proposals
Personal allowances will increase to £10,800 next year and £11,000 the year after.
Threshold for paying the higher rate of tax will rise to £47,300 in 2017.
Annual tax returns in their present form will be scrapped and replaced by a new digital system designed to make it much easier for businesses and the self-employed.
This will rise to £6.70 per hour from October this year.
First time home buyers will receive help through ‘subsidised ISA’s’ aimed at helping those saving for a deposit. This will see every £200 invested topped up by £50 from the government.
Savings limit for ISA’s will rise to £15,240 and the first £1000 of interest will be tax-free from April next year.
No change in duty on Tobacco, while a planned fuel duty increase this year has been scrapped.
Duty on beer will be cut by 1p a pint while a 2% cut will also be applied to Whisky duty.
North Sea Oil
Supplementary charge on North Sea oil producers to be cut from 30% to 20% while petroleum revenue tax to fall from 50% to 35%. New tax allowance to encourage investment in North Sea Oil.