Budget `97: `For me, it's a rather fine Budget really'

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The Independent Online
Belinda Ackermann, 41.

Theatre designer and also teaches part-time.

Income: Around pounds 20,000 a year, though it varies.

Single, with no children.

Ms Ackermann is hardly your average small businesswoman, juggling her main career as a theatre set and costume designer with regular teaching work. She owns a two-bedroom maisonette in Leyton, east London, which she bought for pounds 63,000 in 1988, at the height of the property boom.

Her payments will increase by about pounds 106 through the Miras changes, but, she says: "pounds 100 isn't much more than the usual changes to my mortgage repayments from the building society each month."

She is worried about the political atmosphere at the moment: "There's that feeling of boom and bust again. The economy feels out of control."

And although she was very pleased Tony Blair got in, she says it's the "security of the economy in general which worries me because I run my own business". However, she feels the rather prudent Budget may have calmed these concerns.

She says: "I would happily see taxes rise if I could choose the area the money went into." If she had her way, the two main areas would be the "travesties of public transport" in cities and further education, where she says the situation is "diabolical".

A non-smoker, she spends around pounds 30 a week on drink What is interesting about her case is how, within a reasonably radical budget, she is hardly affected at all. Her overall opinion? "Rather fine really."