Income tax is down, cigarettes are up - but how will Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget announcements affect you? The Star spoke to two families, a single mum, a motorist, a pensioner, a student, and two businessmen to find out.
THE NO-CAR FAMILY
Kevan Smith, 55, is married to Violet, 41, and lives on Fretson Road, Manor, Sheffield, with their daughter Olivia, five. Elder daughters Kerry, 36, Hayley, 21, have left home. Kevan works in business services for a law firm and Violet is a full-time mum. They do not own a car.
“Overall I’m disappointed with this Budget, though a lot of the measures don’t affect me - I don’t drink and I’ve never smoked.
“Petrol prices affect me as a family, as both my daughters drive.
“I see that the forecast is that tax changes will mean I am going to be £220 a year better off from next year - that would be okay if it was a lump sum, but as it will just fritter through I’m unlikely to really notice it.
“I sometimes wonder why we have a Budget as they just give things and then take them away again.
“Things are pretty bad out there for people, and I agree with Paul Blomfield who says this is a Budget for millionaires, not for the millions.
“I’ve been working for 40 years and I can never recall a Budget that gave me benefits I really noticed.”
THE TWO-CAR FAMILY
Louise Oliver, 46, lives with policeman husband David, 49, and sons Michael, 12, and Thomas, 16, in Old Whittington, Chesterfield. David is custody sergeant at Chesterfield police station, and Louise is a partner in chartered financial planners the Taylor Oliver Partnership. Both parents drive to work, and the boys attend Dronfield Henry Fanshawe School.
“I think it has been quite a good Budget. These are tough times and the Chancellor has focused on backing businesses and getting the economy going.
“For us as a family, we will lose child benefit in 2013. We were expecting that, and I do agree with it being means tested. I don’t think we particularly need it - it is supposed to be for people who really do.
“We will gain by the increase in the personal tax allowance, so that will be £440 a year more for the family.
“We have two heavyweight cars - mine is a three-litre diesel and my husband’s is a two-litre - so the 3p increase in fuel duty will hit us quite hard.
“My husband smokes - about eight a day - so the increase in tobacco duty of about 37p a packet will have an effect. He keeps telling me he is planning to stop, so hopefully this will persuade him.
“One thing I thought was positive was Enterprise Loans to help young people into business. Thomas will be 17 this year, and if he doesn’t want to go to university that could be a good option for him.”
THE SINGLE MUM
Jacqueline Jessop, 46, is mother to 13-year-old triplets Rosie, Mary and Hetty, and lives in Wincobank, Sheffield. She suffers fibromyalgia so is unable to work and receives benefits. She has a car on the Motability scheme - but had to exchange £200 of disability living allowance monthly for it.
“People are struggling and the ones that need the most help will struggle more.
“They’re telling people to get back to work and start jobs, but cutting child benefit is going to be a big hardship for a lot of people.
“Cutting child tax credits any lower would make it more difficult for me - we get £500 a month and that’s how I pay my bills.
“I keep our household shop as low as £50 a week if I’m really frugal, but I’ve got three growing girls and you have to pay tax on adult clothes and shoes.
“The girls want to go with their friends to places like the cinema or Meadowhall now too. Everything is a struggle.
“It would help if they lowered public transport costs because I’m not going to be able to run my car for much longer. I’ve only had it since November and I budgeted to afford it, but things like fuel, gas and electric have gone up again since Christmas.”
Gordon Millward, 65, runs auto-electrical firm GR Millward, and is also regional chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses. Gordon started his company 40 years ago, and employs 15 people off Attercliffe Common, Sheffield. He is married with two daughters and a grandchild, and lives in Mosborough.
“I’m glad to see the income tax threshold will be raised. It’s important workers should see more of their salary in their wage packets and that little bit extra will boost the economy.
“The decision to cut back corporation tax to 22 per cent in two years’ time is good news for business - that extra three per cent of profit we will keep we will be able to reinvest and create more jobs. But some small retailers will be unhappy at the duty rise on tobacco.
“Much of the help promised for small businesses often turns out to be just rhetoric so I will be cautious about promises to simplify the tax system until we see the details.
“But anything that will help companies create employment and get people off the dole gets my support.
“As for the cut to the top rate of tax, I don’t think it will make a significant difference. I’m more interested in measures to prevent offshore tax loopholes which I think will bring in a lot more to the Treasury in the long term. And it is important top earners stay here and aren’t tempted to move abroad. They need to stay here and create jobs.”
Part-time life model Nicky Boam, 50, drives 400 miles a week to pose for art classes and get to work as a plastics company fabricator, spending £80 to £90 a week on petrol. He lives in Apperknowle near Dronfield with his wife and two daughters.
“The three pence increase in fuel duty from August is just another way of clobbering motorists.
“I have no option but to use a car because where we live it is three miles to the nearest shop.
“There is no bus to my work as a fabricator and I pick up a lad on the way too. At the moment I’m doing about 50 miles a day and that doesn’t count getting to life drawing classes.
“By the time I’ve put fuel in the tank I’m earning about £5 or £6 for two hours’ work at life drawing classes all over the Peak District. They are lovely people and I like doing it but I can’t afford to pay to work.
“In 2000 when I got my car I filled it up for £28 - now it’s about £90. It’s ridiculous. The price of running a car has gone up a hell of a lot, it’s outstripping inflation.
“You’ve got your road tax and insurance on top of fuel, and for maintenance I used to take it to a garage but now I do bits myself.
“It’s about time they did something to help motorists. We’re not just getting hit any more - we’re getting clobbered.”
THE STUDENT Ellen Winstanley, 21, is in her final year of a degree at The University of Huddersfield, and will be £20,000 in debt from maintenance loans and course fees when she graduates this summer. She lives in Silkstone Common, Barnsley, with her boyfriend Richard, 28.
“I’m due to leave university this summer and I’m concerned about unemployment and the state of the economy generally.
“I’ve been finding it hard to find work experience, never mind a job, so forecasts that unemployment will fall and jobs will be created over the next five years are welcome.
“I’m happy to hear about moves to boost the housing market, though that is a long term ambition for me at the moment.
“It is good to hear that tax thresholds are to be increased. I’m not massively annoyed about the cut to the top rate but I’m surprised the Government has gone down that route in the current climate. It’s hard to see why the wealthy should get any benefits.
“I’m pleased and surprised there will be no further increases in alcohol duty - that is good news for me!
“But my main concern is looking for a job, things are so hard.
“People say you have to take anything you can get and then take it from there. We really need the economy to pick up.”
Jean Clayton, 78, worked as a PA at city centre bank HSBC before she retired. The great-grandmother-of-one is widowed and lives in Stannington. She is a keen badminton player, and twice-weekly visitor to Hillsborough Leisure Centre where she enjoys aqua aerobics and keep fit.
“There don’t seem to be a great many changes that will directly affect pensioners.
“I think the change to personal allowances will be good, though I don’t pay a lot of tax. If it was £220 over a year it would be nice.
“I have a car though I don’t do a large amount of mileage, so changes to fuel tax do affect me. When I buy petrol I really do notice the increases, even compared to a year ago. It is becoming harder to pay.
“There will be of course be changes to the pension age and to the amount of the state pension, but these are things for the future and won’t affect me personally.
“I enjoy a drink so that will affect me over the longer term.
“It would be good to see electricity and gas prices go down of course.”
THE PUB LANDLORD
Andy Bosworth, 52, has been landlord of The Cobden View pub, on Cobden View Road, Crookes, Sheffield, for six years. He employs one full-time member of staff and 12 part-time workers.
“Smokers and drinkers are easy targets.
“This is probably the first time in years there hasn’t been an outright increase on alcohol duty announced, but as the Chancellor said he has no plans to change existing plans, that still means a two per cent increase year after year.
“They keep hiking the prices up, and with the number of pubs closing these days you would think they would trying to preserve the industry rather than destroy it.
“The Government needs a good long look at the industry and what can be done to support it rather than just tapping it up for money.
“It is becoming increasingly difficult for us.
“The tax on gaming machines won’t really make much of a difference as they don’t tend to make us much money - the machines companies get most of it.”
n The Campaign for Real Ale claims price of a pint will increase by between 5p and 10p. Chief executive Mike Benner said: “The fact Britons are forced to pay over 40 per cent of the EU beer tax bill but consume only 13 per cent of the beer sold in Europe is remarkable.”
BUDGET AT A GLANCE
n Tax-free income ceiling to be raised to £9,205 in April next year - 446,700 South Yorkshire people will pay £220 less tax a year
n Child benefit cut for any household with an earner receiving £50,000+ and removed completely for anyone earning over £60,000
n Tobacco duty up by 5 per cent above inflation at 6pm last night - the equivalent of 37p on a packet of 20 cigarettes
n No change to tax on alcohol, which will rise as already agreed by two per cent above inflation until 2014/15
n Fuel duty to rise by 3.02 pence per litre from August 1
n Longer working life as state pension age reviewed automatically to keep up with longer life expectancies
n Top tax rate, for £150,000-a-year earners, cut from 50p to 45p in the pound
n Corporation tax cut to 24 per cent from next month and 22 per cent by 2014
n Unemployment expected to peak at 8.7 per cent
n Growth forecast for this year up to 0.8 per cent
n Inflation forecast to fall from 2.8 per cent this year to 1.9 per cent next year
n £150m to improve rail travel in the North, including faster more frequent trains from Sheffield to Manchester
n Dore rail station finally to get extra platform and track, after years of campaigning
n Savers’ ISA allowance to rise to £11,280 from April 6 - £5,640 in a cash ISA, the remainder in a stocks and shares ISA.