Budget 1999: Case Study: The Dual-Income Family - `It's worth little more than a couple of pounds for us'

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Ivan Whitenstall, 35, and his wife Amanda, also 35, from Whitley Bay, Tyneside. Mr Whitenstall is a market inspector, earning pounds 20,000. Mrs Whitenstall is a bank clerk, earning pounds 6,000. She has pounds 500 in a company savings plan. They have two young children, Emma, seven and Richard, two. Outgoings include pounds 366 a month mortgage, pounds 150 for childcare and pounds 170 a month car loan.

IT WAS a Budget full of mixed news for Ivan and Amanda Whitenstall, who have two young children.

Mrs Whitenstall said she was disappointed that mortgage interest relief at source was being withdrawn. "It's worth about pounds 18 a month to us. At least we'll have time to get used to it as it's not going until next year."

The family will gain pounds 416 from child tax credit when it is introduced in 2001 but they will lose their married couples allowance which is worth about pounds 280 a year.

"The money is just being taken from one place and put in another," said Mrs Whitenstall.

The family said they were not very impressed by the increases in child benefit.

"It's just a couple of pounds really," said Mrs Whitenstall who has a seven-year-old daughter, Emma, and two-year-old son, Richard.

Because the family, from Whitley Bay, Tyneside, have an average-sized family car, their road tax will increase by pounds 5 a year. They will also be affected by the increased price of petrol.

Mrs Whitenstall, who works part-time in a bank, said she was pleased about the new all-employee share scheme which will mean that she can buy shares out of her pre-tax income.

If she can hold on to the shares for the long term, she will be able to get tax-free gains.

Mrs Whitenstall added: "I don't think I'll be much better off but I don't think I'll be much worse off really.

"We're still trying to work out exactly where we will stand."

Linus Gregoriadis