Case Study: The pensioners

'What a surprise. We usually get so little extra you don't notice it'
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Grenville and Doreen O'Brien

Age: 78 and 74

Home: Canton, Cardiff

Family: Three sons, five grandchildren

Pension: £596 per month £408.72 (Mr O'Brien) £187.32 (Mrs O'Brien) Attendance allowance: £153.20

Pension top-up: £84 per month

Savings: £3,800

Outgoings (per month): £320 food, £25.92 water rates, £40 electricity and gas, £16 telephone bill, £80 insurance

Politics: Voted Conservative in last election, and will definitely vote Conservative in next election. Would never vote for Tony Blair.

Hopes for Budget: Big increase in pensions, or at least a drop in rates for pensioners.

Effect of Budget: The O'Briens will be £382 a year better off, because they will receive £100 council tax benefit, as well as increases in their state pension of £231 a year (between them). Their attendance allowance increases by £51.

"I am very pleased by this Budget. It's a bit of a surprise; they usually give us so little extra you don't notice it. I guess we will spend it on taxis, as it is growing harder to get around. And on the grandchildren. I'm not sure why the over-80s are getting so much more, they are too old to enjoy it. It's like giving free bus passes to the elderly. There are so few old people who can enjoy jumping on and off the buses, it just seems such a waste.

"I'm glad that we will put more money into defence. We need that, because we have soldiers going to war without flak jackets. I'm not sure why there is such an emphasis on protecting Britain from terrorism, though. I know we have to be vigilant, but when we send soldiers out to the Gulf, we should protect them properly first of all.

"Education needs more money, so I am glad that more money is going into that. I do hope this is reflected in teachers' pay because people don't realise how hard teachers work. The classroom hours may not be so long, but most teachers take a lot of work home with them.

"The extra money for the NHS is a good thing too. Again, I think nurses are completely undervalued, so I hope they will see a pay increase, as well as more money being put into the service. The tax on cigarettes is a good thing because people should not be smoking these days. But I am mystified by the tax breaks being given to churches. Film-makers I understand, but the churches have enough money."

Genevieve Roberts

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