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real lives Tuesday, 9 March, 1999, 20:23 GMT
Pensioners: Innovative Budget
Retired teachers Geoffrey and Ailsa Boyson describe themselves as "reasonably comfortably-off".

And the chancellor's grand plan has made them approximatedly 2 a week better off, according to BBC News Online's Ready Reckoner.

Mr Boyson, however, says he would have been happy just to break even, and is concerned that high earners "got off lightly".

He said: "People on low incomes have benefitted, and that is what should be happening.

"But I think if you earn in excess of a sum like 80,000, then 50p in the pound tax is not unreasonable.

Shift away from direct taxation

"And if these people don't like it and don't want to stay in the country when they are taxed that way, then they are free to go abroad."

He was impressed, though, with the increase in the state pension, and the tax reductions for the elderly.

Less impressive, he said, was what he saw as a gradual shift away from direct taxation, to indirect taxation.

He said he still believed that pay as you earn is the fairest form of taxation.

He was also disappointed that public transport had not been mentioned.

He said: "I would like to know that the extra tax on petrol, for example, would go straight into public transport.

Public transport

"I think the public in general support the idea of ring-fenced taxes, where they know where money is going to.

"We are not against increases in petrol tax, and welcome the reduction in road tax for smaller cars - but we would also have welcomed higher taxes for bigger cars."

Investment in technology for schools, was warmly welcomed by the couple.

Although Mr Boyson says he does not know a great deal about computers, he thinks it is "only right" that the people who teach youngsters about them should have one at home.

And he said that the announcement of money for books in schools was a "great boon".

"I feel overall that this Budget is very innovative, certainly unlike anything we have seen in recent years.

"And although I have spoken about its negative aspects, I feel there is a lot of good in it, and definitely the government is on the right tracks."

See also:

26 Feb 99 | real lives
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