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banner Monday, 8 April, 2002, 10:47 GMT 11:47 UK
Tristan Ashby, public service worker
Tristan Ashby, public sector worker
Watch video verdict

Tristan Ashby is 30, and is office manager for the Retained Firefighters' Union at their headquarters at Attleborough, in Norfolk.

His wife Kelly has a part time job as a police officer in Norwich, so between them they have plenty of experience of employment in the public sector.

The couple have a 22-month-old daughter, Elizabeth and say that education and the health service are important Budget priorities for them.


My budget verdict


posted by Tristan | 1820 BST | Send your comments

I'm in two minds about the outcome of Gordon Brown's 2002 budget.

With a 22-month old daughter I'm pleased to see more money has been allocated to education and health and that the public should have to pay for improvements.

Despite having to pay increased National Insurance contribution I'm pleased to be better off, mostly thanks to additional child tax credits.

On the whole I'm not unhappy about the budget changes, despite a general view that the chancellor has "given with one hand and taken with the other".

"We all expected National Insurance to go up and the whole budget was pretty much as I expected.

Tristan Ashby and daughter Elizabeth
Tristan is happy with NHS funding

An extra four pounds per week in National Insurance benefits will make no real difference to me.

I'm happy he's made more money available to the NHS. But the way he's doing it could have been different.

Why did he not put more tax on things that people have a choice over, like wine or beer, and get tax that way?

And as for cutting tax on bingo that seems to be a bit irrelevant really.

But it's not just a case of throwing money at the health service. As a public sector worker, I've seen a lot of wasted resources and funds need to be well allocated.

My wife Kelly is a part-time police officer and between us we have plenty of experience of employment in the public sector.

The people on the ground should be asked how funds will be best used. We see them wasted every day and this needs to be resolved.

I am also quietly pleased on other issues.

Locally brewed beer will be about 14 pence cheaper after duty on local brew was halved. And with car and petrol taxes frozen, this two-car family will still be motoring.


National insurance
posted by Tristan | 1642 BST | Send your comments

I don't really mind paying tax for the health service but he's given tax cuts with one hand and taken them away with the other.

But to be honest, on the National Insurance rise, I won't really notice the extra sum coming from my wages.

I would have rather they'd taken the tax from areas where you have a choice - like buying beer etc.

Who cares about bingo! If you play that then you have more money than you know what to do with!

I'm glad about the freeze on petrol duty though.


Child tax credit
posted by Tristan | 1620 BST | Send your comments

The additional child tax credits sound good. But is that really what he wants to concentrate on? What about education?

As for reduced tax on local beers - that sounds like a good thing but it depends on the rest of the Budget.

What if he took tax away from elsewhere? It doesn't really make much sense.


NHS funding
posted by Tristan | 1520 BST | Send your comments

My only thoughts at the moment are - how come it's taken five years to work out that the health service needs more money?

There are other ways of finding money but if it's got to be through taxation then that's probably the fairest way.


Your comments

The rise in National Insurance is both reasonable and fair. The benefits that my family and I will gain from improved public services will far outweigh the couple of hundred pounds I will lose per year. I am concerned about the impact of increased payroll costs on small employers particularly in the voluntary sector. I work for a small housing charity and its budget is already precarious. Hopefully funders will take this into account so that vital jobs and services are not lost. The increase in cigs will stiffen my resolve to give them up. The decrease in prices for small brewery ales will allow me some comfort when I give up the fags. The freeze on petrol duty is welcome. The car is a necessity and this will help my family's budget considerably.
Ken Little, UK


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