Chancellors have to be seen to be earning their keep, so each year’s budget produces some tinkering with tax rates, allowances and incentives. Recently there has been a spate of last year’s incentives suddenly being relabelled ‘vicious avoidance loopholes’ that need to be withdrawn. Sometimes impending elections or other political exigencies produce a need for other public reactions as well. As a result, the picture continuously shifts in detail. That is why this section has given a general picture and the overall policies but carefully omitted numbers. To get the latest levels of tax rates, allowances and benefits, telephone any of the 10 largest accountancy firms, all of which will almost certainly have a free leaflet summarizing the current position.