Essentially, thousands of people across the UK rushed through the sale of properties before the budget because rumours abounded that the Capital Gains Tax rate (for the un-initiated – tax paid on that portion of the sale that is profit since the the property was purchased or inherited, allowing for inflation and various allowances) was to soar from 18% to anything up to 50%.
In effect, the 18% rate remained in place for a large number of people (those on basic rate tax) and was only hiked to 28% for everybody else – a rise granted, but nothing like the predicted rate.
The moral of the story is, I guess, that governments are past masters at leaking so called ‘details’ of huge cuts/taxes via preferred media sources, so that when lesser cuts are introduced they don’t appear as draconian – it is a widely used form of misdirection in political circles. Those who sold their properties before the budget to avoid the CGT hike might now be in a situation where they wish they had stayed put until the property market recovered to some extent.
Unfortunately, everything you read in the media isn’t always entirely correct – particularly when predicting what governments are going to do in a budget.