FUEL duty is frozen, the income tax threshold is up and there were important changes to pensions in George Osborne’s latest Budget.
The Chancellor hailed it as “a budget for the makers, the doers and the savers”.
But Labour leader Ed Miliband said the government was presiding over “a recovery for the few, not the many”.
The key points in the budget included: n The scrapping of the planned rise in fuel duty this September.
- A rise in the personal tax threshold to £10,500 and a rise in the threshold for the 40p tax rate to £41,865.
- The scrapping of the 10p tax rate for savers.
- An end to the obligation for pensioners to buy an annuity with their pension pot, along with a reduction in tax for those who ‘draw down’ their pensions.
- An increase in the annual ISA limit to £15,000, with cash ISAs merged with the stocks and shares variety.
- A new, harder-to-forge £1 coin, looking like the old threepenny bit.
- VAT relief on fuel for air ambulances.
- A halving in bingo duty to 10 per cent.
- An end to the alcohol duty escalator, with beer to go down 1p a pint and most other drinks to go up by the rate of inflation.
What the Budget means for you
THE SINGLE PARENT
SARAH Jackson, 45, was a higher-rate taxpayer until she was made redundant. She had to delay her return to work to look after her daughter Charlotte, six, who is in remission from leukaemia.
She welcomed a bigger government contribution towards childcare, announced ahead of the Budget.
“I'm not working at the moment but I hope to be going back to work this year and as a single parent, any help with child care is going to be appreciated,” she said.
“But when you listen to Ed Miliband’s response, it’s true what he’s saying that it all sounds very positive but it doesn’t change the fact that people are worse off than they have been.
“I see a lot of people, on benefits and not on benefits, who are struggling.”
LOIS Shearing, 18, is in her first year of a BA (Hons) Multimedia Journalism course at Bournemouth University.
She said that although there was little in the Budget that related directly to the lives of students or young people, the announcement about fuel duty was a welcome bonus.
“I think that’s the one that is most likely to affect people studying at the moment,” she said.
“Being a motorist is so expensive anyway, particularly at this age, and there are very few who can afford to have a car in their first year of university.
“It won’t make it any cheaper to own a car, but it won’t make it less affordable either.”
KEN Bell, 83, is a married man with a state pension and a small occupational pension.
“From a pensioner’s point of view the Budget doesn’t affect me very much because I don’t pay tax,” said Mr Bell, from Mudeford.
But he said he thought of his son and daughter when the Chancellor announced an end to the requirement to buy an annuity with a pension fund.
He also welcomed the news of a new ‘pensioner bond’ for over-65s.
“I thought that was extremely positive. It will affect my wife. It will hopefully in later years help my son and daughter,” he said.
JOHN Tye is a taxi operator and chairs Bournemouth Taxi Association.
He welcomed the Chan-cellor's announcement that this September’s rises under the fuel duty escalator would not happen.
He said taxi operators in the town had settled for a 1.9 per cent fare increase this year despite rapidly rising costs.
They had been forced to absorb greatly increased licensing fees from the council, he said. He said fuel costs would now be affected by the free market rather than tax changes.
“Anything that helps with fuel has got to be a little bit of a bonus,” said Mr Tye.
THE INDEPENDENT BUSINESS
SAM Acton, 46, is the mother of a teenager and owner of a business, Domestic Angels.
The company, based in Southbourne, provides home cleaners and employs 20 people, mostly part-time.
She said: “There was nothing apparent to help small independent businesses but at the same time there was nothing to hinder them either.
“As an employer of many part-time workers I am pleased about the increase of the personal allowance to £10,500 and as many of my staff are parents, the childcare help is also most welcome although I would like to see this become more extensive over time to cover more age ranges.”
THE BINGO HALL OWNER
IMON Bartlam, who owns Club Grand Bingo in Poole Road, Westbourne, wel-comed the halving of bingo duty to 10 per cent.
The reduction brings the taxation of bingo into line with most forms of gambling, including sports betting and the pools.
Mr Bartlam said: “For us, it’s fantastic news.
“We’d hoped it would be reduced to 15 per cent, so to get it to 10 per cent is so unexpected.
“A lot of our customers have been signing a petition we have here calling for it to be lowered, and it shows that the bingo halls are being supported and listened to.
“All we wanted was a level playing field – other industries pay 15 per cent, and we were paying 20 per cent.”
THE SINGLE PROFESSIONAL
JAYNE Codling is a single professional who has recently found a new job after redundancy.
She welcomed the government’s pension changes, which will enable people to ‘draw down’ their pensions without a harsh tax penalty.
“Having paid into a pension, it will allow greater flexibility,” she said.
She also welcomed the changes in income tax. “This particular Budget probably wouldn’t make a difference to how I would vote.
“Having said that, if it’s going to strengthen growth, I’ve got plenty of friends and family who that would affect,” she said.