How was the Chancellor's speech for you?

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Indy Politics

Neil Jameson

CITIZEN ORGANISING FOUNDATION

"I welcome the extra investment in public services but note that there is more additional money [for] the defence and security industries than to health, education, and housing sectors together. The Government seems still to be keen on avoiding the extra £1bn that could be paid by the estimated 500,000 undocumented workers who are keen to work and pay taxes."

Bob Crow

RAIL, MARTITIME AND TRANSPORT UNION

"The billions wasted on a new generation of nuclear weapons and hundreds of millions to fight oil wars would be better spent on declaring war on climate change through increased investment in Britain's public transport infrastructure."

Mike Lake

DIRECTOR GENERAL, HELP THE AGED

"The evidence of failure in our social care system has grown remorselessly since the spending review began but in the three-year programme, not enough is promised to ensure decent care in older age for the poorest pensioners. On first glance, the settlement offered to local authorities will simply not be enough to fill the gaps in social care funding."

Sir Christopher Frayling

RECTOR, ROYAL COLLEGE OF ART

"The arts lobby was pitching for an increase in funding in line with inflation. In recent years, arts have flourished because of sustained investment and the Government has shown it is keen to ensure we remain world class. It's a tribute to the arts lobby that Mr Darling took their requests seriously."

Derek Simpson

GENERAL-SECRETARY, UNITE

"I welcome the commitment to raise public sector spending but its effectiveness depends entirely on how it is spent. More money needs to be spent directly on services and less on the commissioning and use of the private sector. The expansion of competing businesses and the growing PFI debts result only in bureaucracy and vast profits for the new providers."

John Sauven

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GREENPEACE

"A tax that penalises airlines for flying half-empty planes makes sense but the Government's support for the unrestrained expansion of airports seriously undermines its credibility. The Government says it wants to be a world leader in low-carbon technology and the fight against climate change but then offers a completely inadequate investment to achieve this."

Mohammed Abdul Bari

MUSLIM COUNCIL OF BRITAIN

"The current inheritance tax threshold was beginning to affect more and more middle-class families, so it is good to see the Chancellor raising that threshold. The extra money for health and education is welcomed but are there safeguards to ensure it is not squandered on bureaucrats?"

Tony Juniper

DIRECTOR, FRIENDS OF THE EARTH

"This pre-Budget report falls well short of what is required to help tackle climate change. Last month, Gordon Brown said he wanted Britain to lead in developing a low-carbon economy. This was a golden opportunity for the Chancellor to produce a range of green incentives to encourage people to go green. But yet again the Government has not delivered."

Shami Chakrabati

DIRECTOR, LIBERTY

"The Chancellor rightly offers considerable sums for anti-terror efforts by police, intelligence and government, but what of the hidden costs to our democratic values if internment is brought back for terror suspects? A better idea would be abolishing the expensive folly of identity cards, releasing billions of pounds for prosecutors in the fight against terror."

Richard Dowden

ROYAL AFRICAN SOCIETY

"The aid package is as they promised but the problem is how they spend it. There are already huge problems in spending the money in a way that is effective. The dilemma is that in the places where the need is the greatest, there is not the capacity to manage the money properly. They should have gone for the long haul rather than the short push."

Gordon Lishman

DIRECTOR, AGE CONCERN

"It's promising the government has announced a public service agreement target for tackling poverty. But it is disappointing that it has failed to bring forward the date for relinking the state pension to earnings. The value of the pension will continue to fall and pensioners will not benefit from any measures in the Pensions Bill."

Simon Woolley

DIRECTOR, OPERATION BLACK VOTE

"This cements the Government to tackling the under-representation of black female councillors, and encourages wider civic engagement from all black and minority ethnic communities. I hope this is embraced as a non-party political position because we are all affected when there are so many who are left without a voice or equality."

Oliver James

PSYCHOLOGIST

"With regards to mental health,because the majority of the money gets spent on paying the salaries of psychiatrists andcognitive behavioural therapists, rather than on prevention... the extra money will have a negligible, [or] adverse effect on people with the commonest mental disorders."

Peter Tatchell

ACTIVIST AND CAMPAIGNER

"Labour is stealing Tory ideas. There is no 'green skies' thinking. The increased threshold for inheritance tax is based on a flawed Tory idea. Taxing flights is not much better than taxing passengers. The most effective way to encourage a reduction in aircraft emissions is a tax on aviation fuel."

Kierra Box

FOUNDER, HANDS UP FOR PEACE

"There's too much about fighting for the centre ground. There's no real innovation... A lot of tinkering... but no real direction. The extra money being put into the public sector won't undo the damage of the Blair years. It's still impossible to get a dentist on the NHS. We've got systemic failures that need systemic solutions."

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