Pauline Read | emptying the attic brings surprises

My sister, who is an unbelievable 70 years old this year, has been cleaning out her loft ready for British Gas to install more insulation up there. This coincided with my visiting her, so I elected to help her. My sister has lived in the same house for 46 years and the contents of the loft reflected this.

I stood at the bottom of the ladder whilst my sister went up the ladder into the loft and then proceeded to hand things down to me. We started at 11.00 am and finished at 4.30 p.m. and remarkably, I enjoyed every moment.

I have never seen so many light shades in my life, many of which my sister had forgotten about. They went into the ‘car boot sale for charity’ pile. There were four suitcases packed full of curtains and bed linen, also destined for the charity pile. Boxes containing everything from a meat grinder to a brand new, never used toaster.

The most interesting to me were the tins containing old telephone bills, TV licences, dog licences, log books and other old paid bills. Some envelopes had the old 4d stamps on.

I found a leaflet giving the details of the Budget in 1976. Here are some of the details:

  • Child allowance was increased by £60 per child per annum which meant a child not over 11 had an allowance of £300 per annum (previously £240)
  • A child over 11 but not over 16 received an allowance of £335 (previously £275)
  • A child over 16 in full time education allowance £365 (previously £305)
  • Now here is something of interest of those of us who are a little more mature – Age allowance in 1976
  • Single persons allowance also up by £60 from £950 to £1,010.
  • Married allowance up by £130 from £1,425 to £1,555
  • The income limit for the full age allowance is to be increased by £250 from £3000 to £3,250. If an elderly person’s income exceeds £3,250. This reduction will not however take an elderly person’s allowance below the point at which it is the same as the ordinary personal allowance for a single person or for a married man.
  • The standard rate of National Insurance widows pension and retirement pension for a single person will be increased from the 15 November 1976 by £2 to £15.30 per week.
  • The standard rate of retirement pension for a married couple will be increased by £3.30 to £24.50 per week. War widows pensions will also be increased from the same date.

Oh heady days. What a difference 36 years make.

I was truly fascinated with the UK Budget  details from 1976 which I gave details of in my recent article on the subject.

The Exemptions for Capital Gains tax purposes was also fascinating.   Exemption for small disposals:  For 1975/76 and subsequent years an individual is not to be chargeable to capital gains tax if his total net disposal proceeds do not exceed £1,000 (previously £500)

Things of course are vastly different now.  As a pensioner over 65 I am happy to know that my personal tax allowance for the year 2011/12 is now £9,940 (65-74) and for the more mature amongst us £10,090 (75 and over).  For those under 65 the personal allowance is £7,475 for this tax year.   Now I don’t know about you, but the difference  in the tax allowance between being 64 years old and 65 years old is significant, but the difference between being 74 years old and 75 years old is not that special.  Still you will qualify to watch the TV for free over 75.

I am sure most of you already know this, but for those who do not.  To make sure that your savings are 100% secure never hold more than £85,000 per person with one UK Bank or Building Society. This is the maximum limit you are covered for under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, should a bank go bust.  Perish the thought.

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