HOW will the budget, unveiled by Chancellor George Osborne on March 21, impact you? Email the Gazette editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
Use our at-a-glance guide to find out what it will mean for you...and then let us know!
* Extra 37p on a packet of cigarettes from 6pm tonight
* No change to existing plans on alcohol duty - meaning the duty will rise 2% above the rate of inflation, putting more than 5p on the price of a pint
* No further cuts in fuel duty
* Stamp duty on properties worth over £2 million up to 7% from midnight
* Only those with income over £60,000 to lose all child benefits
* Top rate of income tax to be reduced from 50p to 45p from April 2013
* Personal tax allowance rises by £1,100 to £9,205 from April 2013
* UK economy forecast to grow by 0.8% in 2012
* Inflation forecast to fall to 2.8% in 2012
* Extra funding for ultra-fast broadband and wifi in 10 of UK’s largest cities
* Sunday trading laws to be relaxed for eight weekends beginning July 22
* Corporation tax rate down to 24% from April 2012
* Fuel duty stability stabiliser means above-inflation rises will return only if price of oil falls below £45 ($70) a barrel
* Vehicle excise duty to rise by rate of inflation. Duty frozen for road hauliers.
* Travellers will now face, from April 1, a near 10% hike in air passenger duty.
* New duty on gaming machines at a standard rate of 20% and a lower rate for low-prize machines of 5% of net takings.
BUDGET REACTION ALREADY RECEIVED
The Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA) is unhappy that the Chancellor ignored the opportunity to defer proposed fuel duty increases at today’s Budget. SMTA Chief Executive said: “George Osborne promised tax reforms that would be fair; to go ahead with this deferred increase will mean a 4p per litre rise on pump prices bringing the diesel price to 1.50 ppl by Easter and petrol to the same price by the summer and these rises are anything but fair. All this means for household budgets is additional costs and these additional costs do not take into account the continuing rises in the price of crude oil. We find it incredible that he has chosen not to defer the increase once again as this will mean more hardship for householders and businesses alike. It will be especially hard in rural areas where a car is a necessity not a luxury.”
And Martin Sime, Chief Executive, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, said: “There is nothing in the budget that addresses the real problems facing people today – unemployment, poverty and inequality. The UK Government is investing to give tax benefits to the rich when it should be investing in other priorities such as tackling youth unemployment that could help to boost the economy and make a real difference to people.”
Also livid was Grahame Smith, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) General Secretary, who said: “The UK economy is facing a crisis of high and rising unemployment and a precipitous fall in the living standards of ordinary workers and their families. Yet the Chancellor has responded with a ‘millionaires Budget’; one that provides tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals and corporations.”
But BBA chief executive Angela Knight said: “This was a Budget for business: it was about making it more attractive for businesses to do business here in the UK. It was also about giving businesses the confidence to invest in their futures and giving their customers the confidence to spend again. Crucially it underlines the fact that bank finance continues to be available for viable businesses.”
Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, had mixed feelings, saying: “There is a lot of good news in the Budget for families who have struggled in the recession. The cuts in corporate and top rate taxes will improve the incentive to invest and innovate, meaning higher wages before tax. Then a higher personal allowance will mean they can keep more of the money they earn. Unfortunately some of the money is coming from higher taxes on pensioners; there is no relief for motorists from terribly high taxes on petrol and diesel; higher taxes on tobacco will be a boon for criminals selling dodgy cigarettes; and yet another higher rate on Stamp Duty is an unfortunate hike in an ugly tax. But overall this is a Budget that should ease the pressure on people’s living standards and allow most of them to keep more of their money.”