Finance groups have generally responded well to the budget changes announced by UK chancellor Gordon Brown on March 21, 2007, which include modifications to individual savings account and child trust fund allowances.
<p>Halifax, the UK's largest savings provider, has expressed its delight at the increase in the individual savings account (ISA) threshold, which will be effective as of April 2008. The rise will see the maximum ISA allowance held in cash increase to GBP3,600 from GBP3,000, while the overall ISA allowance will increase from GBP7,000 to GBP7,200. <br /><br />The Children's Mutual has also welcomed the Chancellor's child trust fund (CTF) move, which will see children in care receiving an additional GBP100 each year into their CTF from April 1, 2007. Furthermore, it also welcomed the news that child benefit payments are set to increase. <br /><br />Meanwhile, a number of changes were also made regarding pension schemes, which have not had such a pleasant reception. Mr Brown's changes focus on compensating those who have experienced collapsed pension schemes and agree to pay out 80% of the core pension rights accrued in their scheme. Mr Brown also announced the removal of the pension term assurance (PTA) which has angered some financial institutions. <br /><br />Commenting on the withdrawal of PTA, Nick Kirwan, protection market director at Scottish Widows, said: U-turns like this send out completely the wrong message to consumers about the need for protection. We worked hard with the Treasury to get to an acceptable middle ground position and were confident that we had reached a workable solution to link PTA to a pension. So this is a severe blow for consumers who will no longer have any tax incentive to protect their families.</p>