Budget 2014: Six Britons on whether they'll be better or worse off
Thursday 20 March 2014
Rita Young, 78, from Peterborough, said: “I was very disappointed. There wasn’t anything in there for the underprivileged. There are lots of women that live on the minimum pension, but there were only things in the Budget for people that save. Even £5,000 is a lot of money when you haven’t got any. When your pension is £113 a week the chances of being able to save are minimal.
“This Budget was for Tories and no one else. We’d like to see some decent increase on our pension; it’s the smallest in Europe, but they just don’t understand. The point is that not everyone’s got savings, you’ve got to have money to be a saver. Some of us are on only a few pounds a week, so there really wasn’t anything in there for us.
“I would like to have seen them upgrade our pensions, but we can’t expect that from a Tory government.
Verdict from accountants Blick Rothenberg Rita will neither gain nor lose money.
Rita's only benefit from the 2014 Budget, as her income is below the personal age allowance already, is that the freeze on fuel duty continues, which could have affected her expenditure on her car.
Single, no kids
George Cumming, 22, a trainee accountant from Derby, said: “Some of the Budget is good news for me, for example, the personal allowance increase.
“However, it’s only going to save about £100 a year; it’s quite deceiving. Fuel tax being frozen is quite good – I drive a lot – but it’s still ridiculously high.
“All the stuff about ISAs and saving is pointless for me and people of my generation. I can’t think of many people who come out of university with any savings.
“This Budget is quite focused on people who would vote for the Conservatives – middle-aged people and the elderly; it’s not really focused on young people.
“I don’t think George Osborne has taken into account how ordinary people are living. I feel like the beer tax cut is just them realising: ‘We’ve not given any of these other people anything.’ It’s kind of a gimmick, 1p off a pint.
“None of the parties really fill me with confidence. I don’t think I could ever vote for a Conservative government though.”
Verdict from accountants Blick Rothenberg George will be £140 better off per year
George will benefit from the increased personal allowance and he will save on national insurance contributions which will also be lower, and he will be saving a very small amount due to the reduction in the beer duty.
Luan Hall, 42, who owns the Fairies n Frogs toy shop in Bedfordshire, said: “I felt like there was a lot of hot air coming out of George Osborne. He was over-exaggerating a lot of points, speaking about why they weren’t doing things and giving people things instead of what they were doing. I was not particularly impressed, though the air ambulances getting their fuel tax-free was good.
“The personal allowance will be good for me and my husband [Jim] as we are on low wages. The fuel duty doesn’t make any difference. When I started driving petrol was 64p a litre. They really need to take a massive chunk off to make any difference but they won’t.
“Investing in small businesses is all very well but we have to pay the money back. I’m not interested in borrowing money. It will apply to people with more staff. I won’t be using it as my shop is run by me and a couple of part-timers.”
Verdict from accountants Blick Rothenberg Luan and husband Jim will be £257 better off.
The main thing for Luan and Jim is that they should look into claiming tax credits. Currently they have advised that they have not been claiming any tax credits, however, on the basis of the information they have given, they could be entitled to up to £3,567.20. In terms of the Budget's effect on the rest of their income, Jim is £136 better off for the year on his earned income as a result of the increase in the personal allowance and also the NIC threshold. Jim will feel a small pinch of £5 on his car tax and £2 on his wine consumption, but overall they are in better position.
The low-paid worker
Lindsay Martin, 28, a library customer assistant from Gloucestershire, said: “I earn less than £15,000 per year and have student debts. At the moment in terms of savings, ISAs and pensions I earn so little the only extras I have go into my moneybox.
“The positive thing about the Budget for me is the threshold for lower incomes has risen so I think I will be about £50 better off per month.
“I’m really concerned about decrease in tax at higher thresholds though: how are they going to pay for public services that have already taken a big hit?
“I know a lot of people on lower incomes will be helped. However, a lot of people working in the public – and private – sectors haven’t had a pay rise in a long time. I don’t know if this will make much of a dent considering the fact that they’ve been on same wages for years.
“I was sad to hear corporation tax is being decreased by two per cent: I thought was pretty disgusting actually and I feel quite disheartened. Each year with the Budget under George Osborne corporation tax has been lowered.
“Giving them a lower tax rate seems like a nod toward an “old boys’ club”. David Cameron said he was going to take measures against corporate tax avoidance; I don’t think he’s listened. I do definitely commend the fact that Amazon will be paying 21 per cent, though this will hit consumers not corporations.
“The Tory Government is looking at the next General Election and is trying to re-appeal to voters in the middle-class bracket. They’ve gone back to their roots to make sure they keep people voting for them. In terms of people like myself and those I see day to day I feel they’ve let us down.
“It’s too little too late. The Tories love to give tax breaks – everybody likes a tax break but it’s not enough. When you pay less tax there’s less money in the kitty for services people need.
“They throw us little titbits like these, but we’ve lost so much in the past five years, including frontline services.
“The £50 in my pocket will be lovely but it won’t solve the problem that the sector I work in will continue to be attacked. The Budget will not increase in public sector. I’m not as bad off as many other people but still feel in a precarious position.”
Verdict from accountants Blick Rothenberg Lindsay will be £138 better off.
Lindsay is going to be about £138 better off over the course of the year. The increase of the personal allowance to £10,000 has taken her out of income tax altogether, and her National Insurance contributions are lower as a result of the increase in the threshold. Finally, Lindsay can also celebrate that she will £2.24 better off in terms of alcohol duty on her usual alcohol consumption.
Ben Halford, 41, who runs manufacturer Surface Generation employing 20 people in Leicestershire, said: “They’re doing some of the things we want to see in the longer term like helping start-ups and intellectual property intensive companies, and they’re trying to create more apprentices, but at the same time it all seemed a little short term.
He’s talking a good game but I don’t feel as though they know exactly what to do. They definitely need to help us be more efficient as a society, especially when we’re competing on a global stage. The bureaucracy that we have to wade through is much more than the companies we compete with globally.
Offering to increase the amount of import and export support is good, but we also need things like a more efficient patent system and an effective banking system. There is a whole swathe of new business setting up with no bank support. We need to think bigger and better. We need to look further afield and take some of the practices from Japan and the rest of Asia and be more competitive.
They have got to fix the deficit, we all know you can’t spend more than you earn. In a way the two main parties are splitting hairs over that. It has to happen. But I was disappointed by the plan for Britain competing on a global scale. I suspect they’ve had their ears bent by bigger companies. Apprentice schemes are a big business.”
Verdict from accountants Blick Rothenberg Ben will be £157 better off.
Ben is generally better off, but is suffering slightly with higher National Insurance Contributions (NIC) as the main NIC rate is increased and will also have higher shopping bills for his wine consumption, with a slight increase in car tax.
The public sector worker
Sharon Ackers, 49, a part-time psychiatric nurse from Chipping Norton, said: “There’s nothing that’s good in there for me right now. The help for families with childcare could be helpful but that’s not until the next election and I don’t believe it will actually happen.
“I had very low expectations for this budget because I haven’t seen any benefits since the government came into power. I’ve seen my wages go down over the last four years. Increases to my pension contributions, pay freezes and now the prospect of a 1% pay increase are all very well and good, but none of that has compensated for all of the other things, like the increase in VAT that’s meant prices have risen. What’s given with one hand seems to me to be taken away with the other.
“One of the things I’d have liked to have seen is an understanding of how ordinary people live. I think I’m very fortunate, both myself and my husband are working, but the patients that I come into contact with, who have mental health problems, talk about the stress of their ATOS assessments, about the worry of their benefits being taken away, and the fact that they’re having to use food banks. I’ve never come across things like that before, I’ve never seen it as persistently as this and the government are not acknowledging it.
“People like me, the squeezed middle, we might want to do home improvements but we face a huge VAT bill because of the increase to VAT. Meanwhile, others at the higher end of the scale seem to be benefiting. The tax cuts to the billionaires makes me really cross because it’s not been rectified and has been allowed to continue.
“In the NHS we’ve had this reorganisation that nobody wanted imposed on us and then constant cost savings and pressure on trusts to save money. It feels like it’s more of the same, this lack of understanding about how ordinary people live.”
Verdict from accountants Blick Rothenberg Sharon will be £267 better off.
Based on the information we have Sharon would be £136 a year better off on her earnings. This is due to the increase in the personal allowance, so will be insurance on her salary. As we do not have details of her husband, i.e. salary etc, we are unable to comment on the additional savings on the child benefit or tax credits, which Sharon says they do not claim. She will also be £6 per year better off on the car tax and alcohol duty.
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