Budget speech delivers living wage and inheritance tax boost

Chancellor George Osborne surprised many people in his Budget speech with the announcement that the living wage would be introduced for employees aged over 25, coming into effect next April.

The minimum wage for employees over the age of 21 is currently £6.50, and the Chancellor has announced that this will increase to £7.20 next April, and to £9 by 2020. Approximately 6 million employees in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK would benefit from the introduction of a living wage, though some have already raised concerns that the new measures may effect employer recruitment policies, with under 25s becoming more economically viable as a result.

Among other measures announced in the Budget was the increase of the inheritance tax threshold to £500,000 per person by 2017. The threshold at which inheritance tax becomes payable is currently £325,000. Married couples and civil partners can double the allowance when passing on assets to children or other relations, so their combined threshold will increase from £650,000 to £1million - a move that will help many couples who have seen their property prices increase steadily in recent years.