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Wednesday, March 10, 1999 Published at 08:45 GMT


The Budget: Your views

Read what you said during and immediately after the Budget statement:

This budget does nothing for the long term unemployed and those who cannot work but are below pensionable age. The increase in fuel costs will hit the disabled, who need to use cars particularly in rural areas. The increase in indirect taxes will also hit those on low incomes.
Tom Healey, UK


Once again fuel prices have been hit again. Many of us in rural communities require private cars to get to work. I myself have to travel 60 miles a day in a round trip to get to work and back. It is IMPOSSIBLE for me to use public transport in this area as it is not possible to get a bus/train at the time I have to go to work. What I would like to see is some kind of tax break to alleviate those who have no choice but to use private cars.
Chris Norton, Lincolnshire, UK


Why should I pay for other people's children? If people choose to have children they should be prepared to pay for them themselves, not rely on handouts from those that choose not to !
Mark Watson, UK


I am impressed with the help being offered to the over 50s, But some of those have genuine illnesses. If they resume work and then become ill again how is it going to pay them if they then on claiming long term sickness benefit find that they no longer can claim earnings related benefit (abolished now I believe) worth 30 to 40 a week to some people. A disincentive to some people I would have thought!
Sue Cartag


How does this budget help the poor, when the tax threshold has apparently gone down from 4,195 to 1,500, albeit at a starting rate of 10p in the pound?
Fiona Sinclair, Scotland


The chancellor made a lot of noise in his speech about computers and the information age, and the UK making the use of this information as they do in the USA. Can the government not do anything about making the local calls to Internet service providers free, as they are in the USA?
Rob Watson, England


I have a chronic illness and fast approaching my 50th birthday. I would love to work again but my health keeps me mainly housebound. I have a top of the range computer(not paid for yet) and I am teaching myself many ways of using it. Can I be helped to get some work from home under the new over 50's initiative and will I be able to keep up the hours? Can I be trained? I am thrilled at the help my single parent (not her fault, husband deserted her) daughter with 2 children will get, she deserves it, she works hard and has difficulty affording childminding whilst she works. Great increase in fuel payments for pensioners. At last the government is beginning to look a little like a change of government rather than more of the same.
Sue Gilbert, England


I think that it is outrageous to take money from married couples, just because they don't have children. What the government say and what they do, just does not add up!
Christopher Blay, UK


A fabulous example of a Tory budget. Lady Thatcher should be proud.
D E Frye, USA


The 10p tax rate is good news for me, and I think the money for science research is welcome and long overdue. The raise in petrol is linked with the 5% accelerator, and I really think 4p a litre is ok, after all the greater environment is also important.

If people wish to drive gas guzzling cars, fine, but they do have to pay the price. My car falls within the capacity for a reduction in car tax, so that is a good touch. Overall a reasonable budget, I think people who thought this budget would give them big increases are misguided
Mark Lowe, UK


I bought a car at the beginning of the year because of the price rise in the public transport. And they now rise the price of fuel as well. What do they expect me to do? Walk?
Miss Lui, UK


We are a working family with four children, two cars and a mortgage and according to your ready reckoner we will be 3.20 worse off per week. A budget for families, what a load of rubbish!

Why do all the tax increases (petrol, road tax, duty on tobacco etc.) take effect immediately and all the reductions are at least 12 months away?

The 10 pence basic tax is on such a small amount that it is nothing more than a gimmick to make us think that we are getting something. It is about time that we were given some meaningful tax reductions rather than the fiddling around with figures that successive chancellors seem to do.
David Cropp, England


My job as a service engineer requires me to travel around 20000 miles every year. Why should I be penalised via my tax code for having a car. The car is really a required tool, does the government really expect me to use public transport.
Alan Hill, UK


Presumably the abolition of the 20% tax band will result in an increase to 23% in the tax paid on interest from building society savings accounts?
Peter Bridgens, UK


Why not abolish the road fund licence altogether and raise the same revenue by increasing the tax on petrol?. There would be no administration charges, no dodging of payment, and the bigger the vehicle and the more you used it, the more you would pay.
Paul, UK


Well done Gordon, another winner - keep it up!!!
Jackie Kelly, England


I am a single mother studying a degree at university. My student grant is barely enough to cover my expenses, even with help with nursery costs for my small child.

I am unable to work in the vacations, as part-time work doesn't earn me enough money to cover the full nursery fees, which I have to pay outside of term time.

I feel thoroughly discouraged that, even though I am learning new skills which will enable me to find a decent job (and pay loads more tax), I am barely 2 a week better off - and still have no help getting paid (and taxed!) work in the summer.
Rowan Fothergill, England


Increasing the duty on ultra low sulphur diesel at a faster rate than on unleaded petrol will increase global warming by discouraging people from switching to more fuel efficient cars.
Rob Scott, UK


Great Budget, please can we borrow your PM for a few years!
Matthew Ball, New Zealand


Taking effect this April is the ending of PEPs to be replaced by ISAs. In effect, by virtue of the fact that a lower limit will be allowed for ISAs than PEPs, this is yet another tax. As has been said , it is what was not said this time that is significant; the tax take is still much larger than when Labour came to power.
Bruce Adams, UK


Seems a well thought budget. Increase the tax burden this year with a carrot of a reduction next, whilst those of use who live in small villages and have no public transport (and are never going to get any due to council budget cuts) have to suffer once more. Thanks Gordon !!!
Peter Linley, UK


Increasing fuel prices again is madness. It raises the costs of all transportation including goods and is bound to be passed on to the consumer. While the US currently enjoys a price war the UK (an oil producer!) get to pay 3 a gallon. Will it stop us using cars? No, not whilst public transport is vastly more expensive and inconvenient. Think again Mr Brown.
Alan Lawn, England


Why am I a young married woman, who has tried to sort herself financially, before having a family, bothering?
Sarah Flett, UK


Why has the government set a rise in the price of car fuel for the whole of the UK, when the Northern Ireland population have to rely on their cars, much as the people in the north of England? How would it propose that we get to shops or schools from the rural areas?
Ken McClay, Northern Ireland


As usual, single people who choose not to get married and not to have children are discriminated against. Why should a single, childless male have to pay more tax than a married man with children?
Andrew Kelly, UK


Why not more incentives for people to use two wheel transport, mopeds, motorcycles etc this will cut emissions and traffic problems especially in the city, give more secure free parking for two wheelers.
Philip Hill, UK


With the 17.5 pence increase in the price of 20 cigarettes, they will now cost 3.70 here in the UK. In Spain, they cost about 1.50 a packet. When I go there in May I will bring back about 300 packets for my personal use. A saving to me of about 660. The main gainers of this tax increase will be the treasuries of mainland Europe.
Peter Cupchunas, UK


I would like to thank the Chancellor for not increasing tax on alcohol this side of the millennium, I for one will be taking full advantage of that on December 31st! Cheers!
Philip Wales, UK


I think that it is extremely unfair that the present government and previous governments have consistently tried to alienate smokers by putting ridiculous tax hikes on the price of cigarettes. This is not only unfair but will also encourage the already enormous illegal trade in tobacco products. Perhaps the chancellor has been cautious in tax increases on alcoholic drinks this budget for precisely that reason. Coupled with the abolishment of duty free it will soon be more sensible for smokers to go across the channel to buy their cigarettes - isn't it obvious what the results of over taxation on these products will be?
Dan Morgan, UK


Is Gordon Brown trying to turn us into single people who go out drinking every night? According to the fall in marriage allowance and the level of alcohol duty staying as it is, it certainly seems that way. Pity he couldn't have lowered the price of cigarettes. It would have been a perfect budget all round for me!!
Neil Groves, England


As a pensioner aged 61 with husband aged 64, my pension on my contributions, his not due till September this year, our car gets him to his part-time work and us to the supermarket, doctor, dentist and optician and long distance visits to our children. We are still looking for the promised help for rural transport our nearest bus stop is 3 miles away, all above facilities are 7 miles away as is the railway station.
Joan Morris, UK


As always the motorist is hit again and again. This will cause higher costs for people who have no choice but to use cars. Too much tax/duty is placed on Petrol/Diesel and not enough put back into the transport infrastructure of roads/rail and public transport.
Mike Gipson, England


Much as I feared! ... Married people with no kids who have to drive some way to work will be funding all these other non-sensical benefits! As if they're aren't enough kids in the world already?! Last time that I vote for a Labour Government - they just don't represent me anymore!
Alan Playford, England


More bad news! Perhaps Gordon should clarify what exactly he means by a "small" car - my car is small in comparison to the Governments' chauffeur driven cars...does that mean I qualify?!
Richard Smart, England


Why do the treasury still penalise diesel car drivers? They produce 20% less CO2 and use 30% less fuel. Encouraging the use of modern diesels on low sulphur fuels at the cost of inefficient petrol cars makes sense. Oh, and what's the definition of a "small car"?
Peter Redpath, Scotland


The IMF has praised the Labour Government for its tightening of fiscal policy supporting monetary policy. Will the Chancellor's Budget allow the Bank of England to continue to deliver Labour's policy of low interest rates?
Tony Gray, UK


Whilst I am pleased to see the new tax rate of 10%, although I do feel that the band should be wider. But my main concern is when will he get round to increasing the tax rate on high earners, coupled with a reduction in VAT.
Adam Keys, UK


In view of the reduction in mortgage rates and the subsequent reduction in rates to savers, why didn't the Chancellor help savers by reducing the rate of interest paid on savings in Building Societies to 10 per cent from 20 per cent?
John Came, England


What is the point of reducing the married couples allowance and increasing family allowances as an incentive to those with children? What is the incentive to get married? Won't there be more people in the country UNMARRIED WITH CHILDREN??? I think it is outrageous!
Karen Tully, UK


A forward looking and dynamic budget. The allocation of extra money to families with children at long last recognises that the future of the country lies within strong family units; additionally, benefits for pensioners rewards them for their services to this country.
John Curnow, married with 2 children and one slightly above average income.


What happened to the promised benefits to married couples without children? Mr Brown has given help to people with children (even the higher earners who don't need it). My husband and I are unable to have children, and feel even more punished than we did before. We don't mind losing our MCA to needy families but not to others. Perhaps he could help couples saving for IVF.
Sarah Sandersson, UK


I welcome the abolition of MIRAS as it distorts the housing market. However, I would have welcomed more funding for social housing and community regeneration projects.
Kevin Gulliver, UK


How does the Chancellor square all those fine words about children and families with the Governments plans for the financing of university students?
Chris McGee, England


It's quite disappointing that your analysis of the effects of the budget on people is restricted to people with children or OAP's. If you don't have children, what is the effect on us? Why is it we are always missed out?

I am a student with a mortgage and a wife on low income but there was nothing in the budget to help us, even though I am learning IT which the chancellor wants to encourage.
Alex Middleton, UK


For those of us at the bottom end of the housing market, MIRAS meant that we could afford to buy our own property (like the rest of the normal population), keep our head above water and retain our dignity. Now I guess I'll just have to learn to swim and grovel. Thanks a lot.
Elizabeth Coldwell, UK


What about families with children over 16 who have to support them through further and higher education? University fees and the loss of grants makes it very difficult, even for middle income families.
Martin Rodger, UK


As a respectful married father of two I'd say "What is this doing for me?" I already pay 40% on income and now have to pay more duty on my new 765,000 home.
Paul Walton, UK


Married couple's tax allowance to be replaced with new children's tax credit. How does this affect childless married couples. Am I going to pay more tax because we are unable to have children?
David Mcleod, Scotland


Owing to the governments pledge to increase duty on tobacco, my only hope is that the smugglers continue to operate. As a consumer of tobacco, I find it ironic, though not amusingly so, that while simultaneously condemning the prices that British consumers must deal with (twice that of America I think was the figure quoted), the government can increase the prices of tobacco which is already more than twice that paid in Europe!
Scally, UK


The 10p in the pound tax rate for the first 1,500 is the same for the self-employed as everyone else. Once again the Chancellor has failed to distinguish between the self-employed business sector (with its commitment to long-term investment in its businesses and the implications of employing people) and an employee who can, effectively, take the money and spend it without similar obligations.
Dr Bernard Juby, UK


The help to small businesses is particularly welcome, especially to those that have been suffering due to the strong pound.
Mike Chambers, UK


As a rural car user in Devon, this latest hike in fuel prices is very painful. There is no scope for reducing mileage, and public transport will only put additional burdens on passengers. For an 8 mile journey by bus, we have to pay 2.65 each way at the moment. Each increase in diesel prices will worsen the situation.

We are already paying over the odds for our fuel in comparison to the South-East and our wages are some of the lowest in the country. Is there no chance that the Government will recognise that support needs to be given to rural areas?
Peter Gristwood, UK


OK so fuel is going up, and a drop in tax for small cars, but what is the exact definition of a "small car"?
James Barrowcliffe, UK


Does burning a gallon of fuel to propel a car cause more pollution than burning a gallon of heating oil to heat a house or office? If they want to be "green" then the differential between vehicle fuel and domestic heating-fuel needs to be levelled out.
Pete Morgan-Lucas, UK


Why, yet again is the tax on derv increased by more than on petrol? It must get worse every year and by its very nature, with goods carried by road, must lead to greater production/delivery costs.
John Brett, UK


It's all very well cutting road tax on trucks, but it will be more than swallowed up by the increase in petrol. Can't the Chancellor start some kind of tax back scheme for hard pushed lorry drivers.
Martin Moth, Isle of Wight


The Chancellor has cut the rate of tax for small business to 10p, but many small businesses are not limited companies, so they will not benefit from this. If he really wants to help small business he should reduce tax for the sole trader or partnership.
Carole Wilcock, England


As director of a knowledge management software house. I welcome this particular budget with open arms. Fostering such ideas and embracing new technology is all very well, but who will act as guru's to the chancellor's requirements. From personal experience I can assure you that the UK does not have the expertise to assess what is required in knowledge management or not.
Jamie Renton, Scotland


Making going to work more financially attractive would be far more beneficial to the country than encouraging procreation.
Tony Lawrence, UK


Too little too late! Those of us whose families are nearly grown up will now be (like our parents before us) left to think of the struggle we had; while we wait to be cheated out of our pension rights!
Mr J Douglas, England


I couldn't believe the presentation - those who have worked so hard yet who are not retired have suffered greatly. This seems very unfair when they refer to married people and family why should those who have stayed together and worked so hard to bring up children over the last 20 years have to pay again again again.
Catherine O'Kane, UK


As soon as Gordon Brown started is speech we here the words we will make work pay. I am getting a bit fed up with this saying. I am disabled retired by the Government from Civil Service job. Due to my illness I will never be able to work again. Yet we keep hearing work will pay

If this is so who is going to employ me? What job will I do?

There is nothing in the budget which helps me or other disabled people. We are also being made to jump through hoops to get benefits. I have to use my motability car because I live in the country so putting the price of petrol up does not help as well.
Michael J Roberts


It's time this government woke up to reality. They try to cover up their tax increases by bringing in meaningless tax incentives like the 10pence lower bracket and increasing the married person tax burden by reducing the allowance and removing MIRAS. This has a severe effect on all the lower earnings people trying to improve their lot.
Ted Theis, UK


New 10 pence tax rates for new small businesses is excellent - A budget for new business!
Ratesh Dhir, Company Director


The starting rate of 10p for business is a welcome break for the small companies.
Jason Digby, UK


I fully welcome all of the Chancellor's plans as they support British innovation and offer great incentives for people to work and create wealth. Progressive proposals, which reward hard work and particularly help those starting companies and providing jobs for others. Getting computers into schools and being at the front of the information age can also only be good news for Britain.
David Connolly, UK


By increasing yet again the petrol duty, the Chancellor has hit the pensioner again. As a pensioner I cannot afford expensive holidays overseas, instead I take my holidays in the UK by using my caravan, this keeps money in the UK and not overseas.

Similarly a small car is of no use in towing a caravan and I will gain no benefit from the reduction in vehicle tax, nor can I afford a new car.
Richard Bates, UK


When taxation of cigarettes has reached a point whereby the majority of smokers have been (financially) forced to stop smoking, where will the chancellor look to raise the same level of income?
John Wootten, England


I hope the term 'small cars' recognises the inherently better fuel efficiency of diesel engines, and realises that a 1800cc diesel for example is more economical than a 1600cc petrol. How will the chancellor avoid a flood of 'souped up' turbocharged, 24 valve twin spark etc. etc small engine cars, which will in fact end up using more fuel than the larger engine ones he hopes to replace?
Geoff Stainton, UK


OK petrol is up maybe to encourage us to use public transport? Where do I find a bus to take me to work for 5am each day! Mid Cornwall has a dire public transport system and before we here leave our cars/motor cycles at home this service would need a complete overhaul.
Mike Lambe, UK


I do 17760 miles per year to and from work, which is in a rural area not served by public transport. When is the chancellor going to admit that the only reason for raising fuel duty is to bolster treasury coffers, NOT get more people off the roads! 4p a litre for someone in my position equates to 112 per year!
Darren Wheeler, UK


The budget news from Mr Brown today is seen as a great boost to the community of today's small companies and can only be seen as an even greater boost to tomorrow's.
John Martin, England


How can the Chancellor justify such a high economic growth forecast when 1999's forecast was reduced from 1.5 -2% (in 1997) to 1-1.5% in 1998?
Ross Folland, UK


Good news on Corporation Tax but what about us non-incorporated, self-employed small businesses?
Dr Bernard Juby, England


Last year this Government stuffed the film industry by turning travel and accommodation costs within the UK into taxable benefits. What EXACTLY does Gordon Brown's latest 'incentive' offer our moviemakers?
Cllr. John Sharp, England






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