If we were you, Gordon

Britain's youth has a reputation for financial fecklessness; Gordon Brown is known for his fiscal firmness. But our Teenage Angst panelists have some pre-Budget advice for the Chancellor

Holly Arup, 14

What's your monthly budget, and is it enough? £20 - well, it's a fiver a week. And no no no no no no no way is it enough!

How do you spend it? What can you spend £5 on? Usually I just save it for a while and then spend it on clothes, CDs and concerts, which usually leaves me quite poor.

Are you a saver or a spendthrift? Saver, I'd say, but then again when I spend I usually spend it all at once. But I am very good at saving

Can money buy happiness? I'd rather be poor and happy than rich and not, but then again I find it hard being happy when I have no money.

Do you think you should have to earn your keep? Um... I can understand why, but I don't want to.

Have you got a credit card? Nope, they seem just a bit stressful. I just have a wallet and that's it.

Do you worry about money? All the time.

Have you any financial advice for cash-strapped teens? Only buy something if you know that you'll still like it after a while. And learn to spend sensibly.

If you were Gordon Brown, what would you tax to raise more money? Um... I'd raise taxes on cigarettes and alcohol. Probably, but I'm not too sure.

Should cigarettes be heavily taxed? Yeah. I absolutely hate people smoking.

Do you trust Gordon Brown with our money? I'm sure he's a good guy, but I really don't trust anyone with my money - you never know what they'd do with it!

Adam Vulliamy, 17

What's your monthly budget, and is it enough? £40. It's all right.

How do you spend your money? Going out, travel, food - I find I don't have much left over from just living.

Are you a saver or a spendthrift? A saver, I guess. I rarely have anything to show for my spending, just vague memories.

Can money buy happiness? Yes.

Do you think you should have to earn your keep? Everyone should want to.

Do you worry about money? No. I haven't earned the money I've got, so I guess it's different.

Have you got any financial advice for cash-strapped teens? A £2 child travelcard is a godsend.

If you were Gordon Brown, what would you tax to raise more money? I would tax the rich, and bump up inheritance tax to perhaps 60 per cent.

Should cigarettes be heavily taxed? Yes, blatantly. I think the Government realises it's got a good thing going with smoking.

Do you trust Gordon Brown with our money? No. I don't trust anyone with my money.

Sophie Hart-Walsh, 16

What's your monthly budget, and is it enough? £40. And it's definitely not enough. I'll never have enough shoes.

How do you spend your money? Shoes.

Are you a saver or a spendthrift? A spendthrift, as much as my allowance allows me.

Can money buy happiness? Shoes bring happiness.

Do you think you should have to earn your keep? No, not yet.

Do you worry about money? There are more important things to worry about.

Name your number one object of desire. Johnny Depp.

If you were Gordon Brown, what would you tax to raise more money? I am entirely ignorant as to anything vaguely financial, and have no idea about money at all - as is tradition in our household. I was banned from doing maths at school as my work on exchange rates and inflation was so pathetically clueless. If I was in Gordon's position I wouldn't want to raise tax on anything, partly because I don't understand the connotations, partly because everything is expensive enough already. Sorry if this is the saddest thing you've ever heard.

Should cigarettes be heavily taxed? No, it's not a sin. And it's really not something to kick up a big fuss about. Let people smoke if they want to.

Tom Greene, 15

What's your monthly budget, and is it enough? £20. I think that there would be something wrong if I agreed with my parents about it being enough, but it's certainly a manageable amount.

How do you spend your money? It seems to just disappear week by week.

Can money buy happiness? I haven't ever tried this one, but I think you maybe can buy a little bit of happiness - maybe the "h".

Do you think you should have to earn your keep? Yes.

Do you worry about money? Short-term worries, like where the next fiver is coming from. It would be pretty melodramatic to worry about money at 15.

Name your number one object of desire.

Katie Holmes in nothing but a Blackburn Rovers shirt with "Greene 9" on the back.

Do you know what an ISA is? Individual savings account. I had to ask me mum, she says it's something about tax relief.

If you were Gordon Brown, what would you tax to raise more money? Textbooks.

Should cigarettes be heavily taxed? No, otherwise that would set a precedent to ban everything that was slightly dangerous.

Do you trust Gordon Brown with our money? Yes, but it might change when it's my money instead of yours.

Jessica Seldon, 17

What's your monthly budget, and is it enough? £40. That's more than some people and less than others. I don't waste my allowance, but I just always seem to run out.

How do you spend your money? My allowance has to stretch to everything I want or need. It covers everything.

Are you a saver or a spendthrift? Spendthrift. Definitely. If you have a piggy bank you're just asking for bankrupt siblings to steal your money.

Can money buy happiness? No, definitely not - you can have all the money in the world, but you can't buy real friends, or people who really care about you.

Do you think you should have to earn your keep? I suppose so. I don't, though.

Have you got a credit card? No, but I have a cash card so I can get my money out of my account. It keeps it safe but it doesn't stop me spending it.

Do you worry about money? Yes, but then everyone does, don't they?

Name your number one object of desire.

The things I want can't be bought, anyway.

Do you know what an ISA is? A what? No, I really don't. Should I know?

If you were Gordon Brown, what would you tax to raise more money? I'd tax rich people. Especially rich people who didn't earn their money themselves, so don't even deserve it.

Should cigarettes be heavily taxed? No, I don't think it's fair to exploit what is in many cases an addiction, just for money.

Do you trust Gordon Brown with our money? To be honest, I don't know the first thing about what he's doing with our money. I don't have any reason not to trust him, though, I don't think.

Alex Ward, 17

What's your monthly budget, and it is enough? Allowance! I support my parents with my dot.com business empire and occasional stock-market speculations. If that fails, they give me an allowance of £40 a month. It's about as much as I deserve for doing nothing.

How do you spend your money? Ninety per cent beer, 10 per cent women, 0 per cent fast cars. In all honesty, a fair amount of my money does go on drink. Apart from that, I buy clothes (people tend to complain if I don't) and CDs, and save.

Are you a saver or a spendthrift? I'm 100 per cent a saver, although I rarely have any money left by the time I get to the bank.

Can money buy happiness? Up to a point. People tend to be happier if they have a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs. Above the essentials, no amount of material possessions will ever satisfy you emotionally.

Do you think you should have to earn your keep? In general, yes, as long as I don't feel I'm wasting my time and being distracted from my studies and consequently my future earning potential. In financial terms, this is called investment.

Have you got a credit card? If you can't scratch a window with it, I don't accept it.

Do you know what an ISA is? An investment savings account. I prefer a fixed-interest capital account offering at least 3 per cent over base rate.

Cash or credit? Credit is more convenient, but the interest charge on longer-term borrowing is prohibitive, as suggested by the head of Barclays Bank.

If you were Gordon Brown, what would you tax to raise more money? I would tax people for wearing their caps at an angle greater than 15 degrees. This would ensure that townies with too much money have to sell their bling and annoying little cars.

Should cigarettes be heavily taxed? Yes. Apart from the shortness of breath, yellow teeth, possibility of dying, acrid smell, waste of money and waste of time, smokers should pay hugely more tax because of the extra pressure they put on the NHS.

Do you trust Gordon Brown with our money? I'm quite concerned that so much of our taxpayers' money fits into his Budget briefcase.

Zenobe Reade, 16

What's your monthly budget, and do you think it's enough? £50, which in comparison to my friends is not enough.

Are you a saver or a spendthrift? If I can get to the money, I'll spend it.

Can money buy happiness? No, but it could maybe make an established happiness easier.

Do you think you should have to earn your keep? My parents didn't.

Have you got a credit card? No, but I've got a "smart" card.

Do you worry about money? Towards the end of the month.

Do you know what an ISA is? My parents do, which is good enough for me.

If you were Gordon Brown, what would you tax to raise more money? I think that it's fair to have higher taxes on things like cigarettes and alcohol, as that ultimately will lower the number of people who buy them. I also think that high tax on petrol is a good idea, as it encourages people to use public transport where they can.

Should cigarettes be heavily taxed? We cannot claim that smokers do not know the full extent of the damage that cigarettes can do to their health. They should take responsibility for what they are doing to themselves and pay for the treatment of smoking-related health issues if their income allows it. Their care should not be considered of equal importance to that of someone who is in bad health through no fault of their own.

Do you trust Gordon Brown with our money? Ignorant as I am, I'm relishing my last year of being free of fiscal worries. As a result, Gordon Brown is presently a figure whose policies I know little about.

Chris Kidd, 13

What's your monthly budget, and is it enough? £30. My parents put it into my bank account, which I withdraw with my bank card. If I want to withdraw more than £50, I discuss it with my mum. She thought having a bank account would help me learn to manage my money. I wanted a card to get easy access to cash. I wouldn't mind having more.

How do you spend your money? Meeting friends, playing pool, visits to the cinema. Topping up my mobile, sweets or fast food.

Are you a saver or a spendthrift? Both. Can money buy happiness? No. Sometimes I'd like a bigger house with lots of room to play sports and have a huge TV screen, but there are more important things - like Arsenal.

Do you think you should have to earn your keep? Probably. If I had to do a morning paper round, it would be a struggle. I expect I'll get a Saturday job when I'm 16.

Do you worry about money? Sometimes when I'm running a bit low, but I know Mum and Dad will help me out if I really need any extra.

Have you any financial advice for cash-strapped teens? Don't spend it as soon as you get it, and don't waste it. When you get your pocket money, think carefully about what you're going to spend it on. Do some jobs around the house for cash. Maybe do a deal with your parents for money for good school results. In my school we get merits for good work. Some kids get £1 for every merit.

If you were Gordon Brown, what would you tax to raise more money? I don't know too much about tax, but I think rich people should pay more tax. People who earn more than £1,000 a week should pay at a higher tax rate. Poorer people shouldn't pay any.

Should cigarettes be heavily taxed? Yes. Smoking makes you unfit and unhealthy and causes disease and death. It costs the Health Service a lot to look after ill patients with diseases caused by smoking. People also need help to give it up.

Do you trust Gordon Brown with our money? I trust him because he's a Scot - my dad is a Scot! I think Gordon Brown is honest and well meaning, but I don't really know much about it to be able to judge.

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