Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


College girls' Fantasy Budget was close to the real thing

The names Rosalind Spencer, Emma Whiting and Suzanne Lord will probably not mean anything to the Chancellor. But perhaps he should think about recruiting them into a Treasury think-tank. The all-female team from Guthlaxton College, Wigston, Leicester, pictured here with Dawn Primarolo, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, are the winners of this year's Fantasy Budget competition organised by Bournemouth University. Their entry, sent in well before Gordon Brown stood up at the despatch box on 17 March, recommended the abolition of road tax and an increase in petrol duties, the introduction of a childcare support system and a carbon tax. And what did Mr Brown announce? Higher petrol duties, a cut in road taxes for fuel- efficient cars, tax breaks for working mums and a review of the taxation of industrial energy use. Ed Balls, the Chancellor's economic adviser, had better watch out.

Photograph: Nicola Kurtz