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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 March 2005, 18:59 GMT
UK voters' panel: Chris Li
In the run up to the general election we will be asking a panel of UK voters to share their views, in text and video, ahead of the expected poll in May. Here, in the first instalment, three of the panel give their reaction to Chancellor Gordon Brown's Budget.

Chris Li:
Bournemouth

Watch Chris's views

Gary Watson:
Peterborough

Watch Gary's views

Philippa Bartlett:
Rothwell, Northants

Watch Philippa's views

Chris Li

MEET THE PANEL
Chris Li
Name: Chris Li
Age: 26
Lives: Bournemouth
Works: Sales
Current voting intention: Labour
In 10 words or less:
"Graduate, family man, political activist"

Generally speaking, this is a good Budget.

It covers people no matter how young or old they are.

I am so pleased that the government knows who the key voters are - working families and pensioners are the ones who will get them re-elected.

Gordon Brown not only increased their benefits, but also allocated lots of money for schools.

The news that pensioners will get a 200 council tax refund was the biggest surprise.

However, although I expected before the Budget that Labour would give away some sweeteners to voters, I don't feel I have personally benefited.

As an unmarried individual, I don't think I will be better off with this Budget.

The chancellor decided to increase the tax credit rather than the personal allowance. I am upset about this.

By increasing the stamp duty tax threshold to 120,000, it will put me in a better position when I am going to buy my first house. But 120,000 seems too little to help.

However my family, who own a small business, will be happy about the cutting of red tape.

No matter who is in power, they will always give away pre-election incentives, and tax afterwards. I am not surprised that Labour has done the same thing.

I am confident that the Labour Party has the best skills to manage our economy. I think I will vote for Labour again.


Send us your comments on Chris's views using the form below.

Your comments:

While I don't begrudge the pensioners their one-off council tax rebate, although according to the BBC's Money Box programme on Radio 4 not all of them will receive it. I feel this does nothing for others on fixed incomes, the disabled and their carers for example. It also doesn't rectify the fundamental anomaly within the system. Namely that this tax, though it affects income, bears no relation to an individual's ability to pay. A local income tax is the only fair long term solution.
Dave, England

Where do all these pensioners who pay 1,500-2,000 in council tax live? I have lived in two of the highest council tax areas in the UK and never paid more than 1,000 for a two-bed house. By definition they must own larger than average homes worth large sums of money. If they are broke, maybe they should move into something smaller and more manageable and reduce council tax and heating bills at the same time. The pensioners' council tax rebate should be means tested to prevent rich old people from benefiting from hard working young people's taxes, only so they can pass on their vast wealth to their own children and grandchildren.
Sarah, Liverpool, UK

I agree with Chris on most of his comments and may I remind everyone that whilst Labour has and no doubt will make mistakes let's have a memory quiz and see if you get the link before I get to the end. Who was a minister at the time of the following: Poll tax, black Wednesday - caused by financial mismanagement, record high rates of interest, dismantling of the NHS? Need I go on? The answer of course is Michael Howard. Remember while things are not brilliant for everyone right now, just think how bad it was and just how bad it could be if the Tories got back in again. No matter who gets in taxes will go up one way or another. Better the devil you know than what has been.
Peter, Keighley, England

To the pensioners who feel let down by Labour: The Conservatives propose a bigger state pension by linking it to earnings and a 500 continual council tax rebate. Along with sound policies in other areas, they are the only party we can trust in government.
Rob S, Beds, UK

The best skills to manage the economy? You mean borrowing to dangerous levels, allowing nose-bleed levels of inflation in essential utilities, public transport and council tax; encouraging lethal levels of house price inflation; presiding over minimal share price growth while other countries prosper; destroying the best pension system in the world; and fostering a dependency culture? I'd say Brown has achieved all of these admirably.
Andrew, London, UK

Working families and pensioners hold the vote? Try the group called the 'Baby Boomers', that is to say those of us born in 1945/1946. I think the government will be finding that out on election day.
NGC, Daventry, England

As one half of a pensioner couple I am furious at the way Brown patronises us
Joanne M Anderson, London, UK
As one half of a pensioner couple I am furious at the way Brown patronises us. We pay over 2,000 PA council tax, ever larger fuel bills, even our newspaper bill rises inexorably. Then we are patronisingly handed back some of our taxes (a small sweetener) for "winter fuel, council tax, TV licence" when what we really want is to keep more of our own cash in the first place. All pensioners are not poor old people keeping warm by a one bar electric fire, as portrayed in the media, but busy energetic people going about their daily lives the same as the rest of the population, having contributed a great deal to the economy in the past. We do not want to live off paltry handouts.
Joanne M Anderson, London, UK

He may be upset about the tax credit scheme, but you can bet that it will be deducted penny for penny off another tax credit thereby meaning no gain at all. Pensioners are not going to be thrilled at 200 off council tax when council tax is sometimes 1500 or more. It is far too expensive to live in Britain under Labour, no wonder people are leaving in droves.
Kris Westerman, Penistone, South Yorks, UK

Chris should know that voting Labour will not make the blindest difference in his constituency. It is a Conservative/Lib Dem marginal and a vote for Labour will allow the Conservatives to increase their power base.
Jonathan, London

Chris demonstrates the doublethink necessary to support Labour's discredited policies. He states, correctly "they will always give away pre-election incentives, and tax afterwards" and admits that this was the intent of Brown's Budget. How then, can he claim "this is a good Budget"? Chris has agreed that Brown will take the money away, if he is returned on May 6th.
BF, London, UK

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