All your Budget questions answered - no matter how selfish or narrow-minded

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JUST HOW will the Budget affect me? That is the question asked by people after every Budget, and a damned selfish, narrow-minded, ungenerous question it is too, but that is neither here nor there, because today we have a panel of experts in this column to answer that very question, in other words: Just how will the Budget affect me? And our questions come from right across the social spectrum...

Dear Panel of Experts, I wonder if you can help me? I am a typical Tory ex-minister who once had a secure job under the last government, helping to sell arms to the Middle East and toadying up to the Saudi Arabian government. However, my fortunes took a tumble when I withdrew a libel action against The Guardian, and recently I have been reduced to fending off possible arrest for perjury. My income has obviously taken a bit of a tumble in all this hoo-ha. What I want to know is this: if things get any worse, and I get into bad debt problems, is there anything in the latest Budget which would help me?

Not really.

Dear Panel of Experts, I wonder if you can help me ? I am a middle-aged woman who would like to follow Gordon Brown's advice and get back to work. At present I am the companion to the Prince of Wales, who will be the next King of England, and this of course is pretty hard work in its own way as anyone who has been constant companion to the future King will testify, though only Mrs Wallis Simpson comes to mind as an example, which is perhaps not a cheering thought, but what I want to know is this: is there any succour in the recent Budget for those of us who have given up our lives to caring for and looking after middle-aged men who, through no fault of their own, are still not able to take over the job for which they have been trained since youth ?

Not really.

Dear Panel of Experts, I am the controller of a large radio network which recently decided to have a major facelift. In order to gauge the opinions of the listeners to our network, I travelled the length and breadth of Britain consulting with, talking to and even - when I had time - listening to what our listeners had to say. This of course involved an immense amount of travel, for which the money had to be found by shaving the budgets of other programmes, and I did all the travelling in an unmarked company car, no different from other cars except for a suggestion box clamped to the back. I cannot make out from the latest Budget whether I can claim for all this travel as a tax concession or a company allowance, and whether I have to submit the names and addresses of everyone I consulted, whereas it would be much easier to just put down: "Middle England". Can you advise me on this ?

Not really.

Dear Panel of Experts, I am a Newcastle United director who makes a living out of taking the punters for a ride. After the recent Budget, can I claim that ride as a legitimate travel expense ?

Not really.

Dear Panel of Experts, We are five girls who have recently made a fortune out of travelling the world as a group, making films and best-selling records, etc. However, this will not last for ever and one day we shall probably have to do some proper work, as it looks silly to go into retirement in your mid-twenties. The trouble is that we have received no training to do any proper work, and the only thing we can do really well is stand in a line, and locate the nearest microphone. Is there anything in the latest Budget which will help us retrain for real life and get back to the work which Mr Gordon Brown so much wants everyone to embrace ?

Not really.

Dear Panel of Experts, Now that PEPs and TESSAs seem to be on the way out, I am told it is a good time to invest in new schemes such as ARFURs, PIP EMMAs and LAMONTs. But what are these ?

An ARFUR is an Automatic Ring-Fenced Unit Resource. A PIP EMMA is a Private Insurance Policy Endowment Medium Managed Amount. A LAMONT is a Large Amount of Money Offloaded by the National Treasury.

Dear Panel of Experts, Yes, but have you any idea what they all actually are ?

None at all.

See you next Budget Day!

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