By Daniel Hunter
Millions of people will be affected by the introduction of a raft of tax and benefit changes announced by Chancellor George Osborne over the past 18 months.
Under the changes the amount of income that is tax free is to rise by £630 to £8,105, whilst the value of some benefits will rise by 5.2%, linked to inflation last September.
However, not all changes are seen in a positive light. Labour have called the changes to working tax credits a 'tax bombshell' that will 'clobber' families. This relates to the rise in hours couples with children will have to work to qualify for working tax credits.
Measures which were announced by the government in the 2011 Budget, as well as last year's autumn statement, are only now taking effect.
- Benefits such as jobseeker's allowance, income support, inheritance tax allowance, disability benefits, maternity benefits, incapacity benefit and child benefit will rise by 5.2% - in line with the CPI measure of inflation last September
- Other than a few exceptions, couples with children will have to work for 24 hours a week between them, not 16, in order to qualify for working tax credit.
- One member of the couple will have to work for at least 16 hours a week
- The child element of child tax credits is to rise by £135 but the couple and lone-parent elements of working tax credit are being frozen
- The tax-free personal allowance for those under 65 will rise by £630 to £8,105
- For 65-to 74-year-olds, the personal allowance rises from £9,940 to £10,500
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