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Friday, 12 March, 1999, 08:50 GMT
The Budget: Your views
We asked BBC News Online users what they thought about the chancellor's Budget statement:
I am self-employed, running a small service-based business which is only a year old. I am married with a 7-month old daughter, drive a diesel car and my wife works part-time as an NHS midwife.
What has Gordon Brown done for me?
I am divorced, and have not had a pay rise for two years, nor am I getting one this year. I live alone and am paying ALL of the mortgage on my own wage along with all of the other bills connected to the running and up-keep of the property. I need a car for work as I start and finish work before and after public transport starts or finishes. I am now going to be paying more for road fund licence and petrol. On top of that I will be losing out on Miras on my home and also more taxes on my wages.
I am currently starting my own business and obviously the incentives offered to new and small businesses are welcome. On a larger scale I think people are too pre-occupied with the direct, short term effects upon their income, we need to consider the longer term implications and their effects. No one is going to be completely happy, but taken as a whole, which after all a budget should be as its aim is at 'the' economy not at 'my' economy, the budget must be welcomed.
The chancellor has announced a rise in the basic income for pensioners, PLUS an increase in the winter payment to ONE HUNDRED POUNDS.
How can he do this yet those of us who work and have children but still have an income not much better than that of a pensioner get NOTHING towards the winter heating?
Surely low income working families should be entitled too, or are children not entitled to be comfortably warm?
Giving indeed with one hand but robbing the one who has paid over and over
MIRAS and the Married Tax allowance. What is being offered to the married
people of 40-60 years? What about the family where the children have grown
up but there still is a car to be run and a mortgage to be paid?
This does not reflect a fair budget.
This is the Labour Chancellor spending the rewards of fiscal prudence under the previous Government, and the massive pensions raid of his first budget. And those who work hard, who own their own homes and make provisions for their future are suffering.
I am glad the married couples allowance has gone. Now the benefit will go to those who really need it - families with children. And why should single unmarried people may more taxes than married couples who do not have children. Well done Gordon!
A budget against the young. By abolishing married persons tax allowance and scrapping MIRAS, the Chancellor is hindering young couples making a start in life. Those starting out are now penalised for wanting a solid foundation before having children - why should they bother?
I am married with two children, my wife is a teacher and I sell networks in the City. Despite being told that this is a budget for families we have been hit again with an additional £211 a year tax bill.
The three big hits for us were Miras, married persons allowance and petrol, all of which are key to our lifestyle. We live in Basingstoke's outlying areas, which are not well serviced by public transport, and will have to find an additional £4.11 a week for petrol.
A car is not a luxury for us - it is essential. If I have a choice I will not risk my family in a small car, as Gordon would have us do.
The government says it is crying out for science teachers, yet for my wife to continue working we have to find £500 a month for childcare. In a budget where the government had such an opportunity I am disillusioned with their priorities.
I have been reading the comments most have been making. People are myopic, self-interested people. Surely it is in everyone's interests to help the poor, families, and aged. Otherwise, it will still cost, except in other ways, such as increased crime as people turn to other means of income, and higher hospital bills.
Tax is basically a discount. Think about it. Without taxes who could afford to light the streets? Flush away rubbish, build the roads, run the hospitals...need I say more?
Gordon's budget simply provides more evidence of the control freak nature of this government. £200 grant for new mothers, but only if they keep health-check appointments.
Tax credits for companies, but only if they do research and development. Tax breaks for employees, but only if they buy shares in their company.
Discount on car tax, but only if you drive a 'more efficient' car. This government wants to take our money and use it to boss us about to the detriment of us all.
Great to see sensible provision for cyclists. I'm surprised that it's been so under-reported.
12p per mile for business use - and if your employer is not enlightened enough to pay the expenses, you can claim it back as a tax allowance!
In response to McDougall's comments regarding the safety of small cars. I certainly feel safer on the outside of them when cycling in London.
I would really like to have seen some tax relief on child care. Nearly 60% of my net income goes on child care.
Gordon Brown announced lending libraries for computer software in his budget speech yesterday. Does he realise that computer software manufacturers do not licence the distribution of software by this method; in fact they sue you for doing this!
The federation against software theft (FAST) would intervene to stop distribution. A complete reassessment of software licensing would have to be undertaken by every software manufacturer world-wide for this type of licensing model to work.
The British Government has no teeth when it comes to dictating the way that the mainly American companies can distribute software. So I see this announcement as being a pipe dream only.
As a civil servant, I would like comment from the Chancellor about his announced plan to help the over 50's.
Those of us without the full term would like the option of staying on to earn more pension but we are forced into early retirement. This appears to be a double standard by this government. What is he prepared to do about it?
I'm only 15, but after listening to the budget and studying it in economics I think it is quite good. I have one problem with it - it seems as though bringing the price of petrol up, is only allowing the more fortunate people to be able to afford cars.
This is very unfair as people with more money won't really notice it, but the people who have to economise will have big problems with this.
Playing with your budget model shows just how much single people and higher income families have to lose for poorer families to get just a few quid!
And the economy went downhill to boot! I recommend visitors have a go, seems like reducing the tax burden works better.
What has the chancellor done for the haulage industry? More and more hauliers are looking to register vehicles abroad because of the highest fuel and excise duties in Europe.
We now have harmonisation on truck weights with the 11.5tonne drive axle and 40tonne weight limit, but we have not seen the new duty levels that where promised when this was introduced in January.
As a higher rate taxpayer, I expect to be some tens of pounds a month worse off. Families on low incomes will be better off. Good. It's what I voted for in May 1997.
Does the lower vehicle excise duty extend to motorcycles? It should do, bikes do a lot less damage to the road surface, use less petrol and create less CO2 and cause a lot less congestion on our roads - causing less costs to business.
Why do people continue to complain about rises in fuel and cigs - all parties have made it clear they will do that well into the future.
As for married people complaining they are subsidising children, just stop and think for five seconds - why should non-married (single, divorced, widowed etc) people subsidise your marriage?
I own a mini Cooper. It has a 1.3lt engine. It takes up less space than most cars on the road and does 51mpg better than most 1.1lt cars. It has a catalyst, so why isn't it included in this new road 'green' tax?
With the state of the road and public transport infrastructure in rural Britain, it would be nice/naive to think that the extra billion or two that is being raised from yet more revenues from the motorist will be going to help cure these problems.
Instead of paying for wallpaper, antique toilets and drinks parties, for a government that appears to be highly hypocritical, Mr Two Jags Prescott!
What a blow against marriage. I thought many of the Cabinet claimed to be Christians! The Budget seems headline stuff - the reality is the money taken from pension funds and other sneaky ways to fund the headlines - I'd rather pay more upfront to help the poor and disadvantaged, not lose it by stealth!
I think that he is buttering up the people of Scotland in preparation for the Scottish elections. But it is welcomed!
Oh goody - another con job. When is the Great British Public going to wise up to the fact that headline grabbing income tax cuts make damn all difference when indirect taxation has gone through the roof? Let's get it into perspective, shall we?
The 10p basic tax rate saves you a maximum of £150 per annum. The increases in petrol, diesel and everything else as a result will swallow up any benefit, and then some.
But we'll all go on about how great it is that more money is being spent without income tax going up instead of facing the reality that we've been shafted again.
Green budget? I don't think so.
How has the budget helped me and my family? I am a student with no grant, on benefit with two small children (not entitled to full benefit). I have a month to go till I finish yet the government want me to fall quietly through a black hole for a short while.
I always thought that people with children (or kids as it would now seem popular to describe them) were aided by the child allowance. But now they are helped twice, once by the new tax break and also by the increased allowance. Why should married couples who choose not to have children pay for others who do? Yet again under a Labour government it is the middle classes who pay for all.
I believe that the definition of a "small" car is 1.1 litres. Has the Chancellor ever tried taking a family of 4 on holiday for two weeks, with luggage, in a "small" car, also regarding safety, have you ever noticed how close to the back of the car children are in a "small" car, they are more vulnerable to injury in a rear end shunt.
Yes - help those worse off with the new 10p income tax rate. But what on earth is going on with the old Conservative headline-grabber of reducing the basic rate to 22p? Surely the money spent on this is better directed to spending more - yes, even more - on the health service and schools.
Isn't this what New Labour should really be about?
The withdrawal of the married tax allowance and it's replacement with a family tax credit that then does not apply to higher rate taxpayers is grossly unfair to those who work hard to increase their families prosperity, and as such come to fall into the higher rate tax band.
Well thank you for a budget that hits me in the pocket for
From looking at what the budget has done, I am worse off for being a single independent woman, owning my own house and my own car. Getting rid of MIRAS will affect me greatly, especially since I decided to opt for a fixed rate mortgage to be sure I would be able to afford to pay it.
One thing is for sure, I doubt very much if I will be voting for Labour again in the future, I think I will take my chances with one of the other parties, maybe they will be more considerate to single people!
Great budget, I'm delighted to see the pensioners get the increase/fuel allowance that they have been awarded. It also seems fair to small businesses and families. Most importantly it caters for those families who are not the stereotypical family unit. For once I'm glad to pay tax when
it is going towards education, health and pensioners!
I was thinking of getting married next year, have now decided it's not worth it. I love my partner, but financially what gain will there be? You are forced into having kids to get help!!!! There will be an increase in pregnancy rates now you see!!!!!
At long last we are beginning to invest in IT. I do hope they realise, that it isn't just schools that need a good network, it's the whole country.
It's no surprise that petrol duty has risen again. Unlike VAT, fuel tax doesn't appear on a till receipt. Until last year, I was unaware that over 80% of the cost of petrol is tax. Not only is the ordinary motorist stung but stung most badly in those parts of the country where lower petrol costs should be encouraged. Petrol prices will continue to remain much lower in big cities such as London where there is competition between the garages and ample public transport alternatives.
In rural areas though, drivers with no transport alternative experience high fuel taxes and higher petrol prices as the oil companies charge what they like. The final irony is that this won't matter to MPs as illustrated last year when one Welsh minister was revealed to have claimed nearly £200 for a return journey by car between London and his constituency. Maybe we should ask that fuel tax is earmarked for specific improvements to the roads and public transport - not to subsidise the travel of our elected representatives to such a ridiculous degree.
The increase in tobacco tax is immoral and will encourage smuggling as cigarettes on the Continent are half the price.
And what about the most economical and viable form of motorised transport, the motorcycle?
With regard to this extra money for IT in schools - we have had none since last year and of the £49K we needed we only got £7000 which only allowed us to install ISDN by cabling it ourselves and linking what few Pentiums we have to the Internet. Most of our100 PCs are still 386's. The best machines are limited in number and are only P166's. We have some very creative plans but have been told that there is no money in next years budget for new computer equipment. Cut the chat - let's have real money that will make a real difference. As for computers being lent to teachers, I have just spent £1200 of my own money to buy the machine I am using now. It is a Pll 350 and is way ahead of what we can afford in school. This seems to be pie in the sky again. Lets have action!
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