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Tuesday, 13 March, 2001, 12:14 GMT
What do you think of the Budget?

The BBC's economics reporter Dharshini David answered a selection of questions on the Budget in a live webcast on Thursday.

To watch coverage of the forum, select the link below:


Chancellor Gordon Brown has delivered what is almost certainly his last Budget before the general election - but how was it for you?

He billed his speech as the Budget for families, pensioners and savers, and there were other sweeteners as polling day looms.

Childcare tax credit rises, there is more for pensioners, a new deal for lone parents and the 10p band of income tax goes up to the first £1,880.

More for hospitals and schools, the duty frozen on beer and spirits, unleaded petrol down 2p per litre and betting duty abolished. But cigarettes up 6p.

The 52-minute speech drew roars of approval from the Labour benches, although Conservative leader William Hague said what Mr Brown had given with one hand he had "already taken away with the other".

But what about outside the House? Are you better or worse off? Was it a measured Budget or a clear play for votes? We want your views now on what Mr Brown has announced.

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

He has done nothing to get rid of the hideous amount of red tape that is slowly destroying many businesses and the country. It's yet another broken promise from Mr Tony "we'll tell you what you want to hear then do the exact opposite" Blair and his Labour party.
Steve Mac, UK

Another winner from the most successful post-war Chancellor. It keeps the economy on an upward curve maintaining high employment and low inflation. As an individual I could say that Gordon hasn't done much for me! But this is not the point. The Budget is there to benefit the country and the economy as a whole and this it most certainly does.
John Hart, Wales

It was something of a non-event

Nick Johnson, England
It was something of a non-event. He gave a bit, he took at bit more, he twiddled the rules and added a few layers of complexity. He needs to do something worthwhile to get my vote - I'd rather see Portillo's vision than Brown's.
Nick Johnson, England

I work hard, I pay taxes, I gain nothing. All this Budget has done for me is make me consider moving out of the UK. Oh and by the way Gordon, if I go I take 20 jobs with me!
Tony McGurk, UK

Overall, a general move towards a Social Chapter European-style protectionism. Well done for increased maternity benefits - they really reflect the needs of continuously changing social attitudes. I do not understand why smokers are being continuously punished - cigarettes in England are now the most expensive in the world! Any reason for this? Good move to increase expenditure with respect to the NHS, although this sector seems to need a bit more - possibly a restructuring towards a more economically self-sustaining system with insurance premiums based on individual income. Generally a good budget with some definite changes in attitude towards answering demands of the broader population.
Joanna Tatarowska, UK

Mr Brown announces that the budget is one for families. We all know that betting is the destroyer of many families and is as addictive as hard drugs. Mr Brown then reduces tax on gambling to 0% thus encouraging it. A budget for the family? I think not!
Stephen McCoull, England

I think the Chancellor deserves credit for this budget, although, taxes on tobacco should have been increased!

Vincent Cushnahan

The Chancellor has managed to target most people with some sort of gain however small it may be, and that will propably be enough to see Labour win a second term. My biggest concern with the latest budget is that we may experience a "baby-boom" with the added monetary incentives that will be available for having a child. I appreciate that this is intended to reduce child poverty, which is an excellent ideal, but in reality it's a payment for, and an incentive to, have a baby. Surely, with the worlds population increasing at it's current rate we should be making efforts to level off that growth rather than encourage it's increase? Furthermore, I think it encourages younger women to get themselves pregnant so that they are eligible for council funded housing.
Richard Hawke, UK

I think the Chancellor deserves credit for this budget, although, taxes on tobacco should have been increased!
Vincent Cushnahan, UK

We should be encouraging responsible parenting

Sheila Cunliffe, UK
How long will it be before people wake up to the realisation that our continuing increase in population results in more demand for hospitals, transport, social care etc? It has been decades since we have needed to encourage people to have more children by giving them financial incentives. So why are we increasing this subsidy at the same time as the NHS, our education system, public transport, pensioners, social housing and many other areas are still crying out for funding? We should be encouraging responsible parenting and helping those people who are living in poverty not subsidising people with children earning a more than adequate wage with the taxes of those who earn much less.
Sheila Cunliffe, UK

I can't understand all these people moaning that couples without children are suffering. They themselves were children once, surely?
Gerard Shaw, UK

I was expecting more for pensioners, i.e. free TV licenses. Never mind. It was a good budget. Thank you Gordon.
Edgar Lange, Middlesex

As a single man, no kids with above average income I have not benefited from this budget. However, on the whole it is well balanced - paying back more of the national debt than starting a spending spree. The only issue I have is with the £1000 baby bonus. I am all for supporting families and agree that this is a priority. However this sends out the wrong message to young single parents. It would have been far better to have put the money towards crèches for working mothers and increasing the married couple's tax allowance!
Iain, UK

While I think it is only right that the chancellor tries to help the worst off, I wish he would stop being anti the self employed.
Mark, Berlin

I have two children - the youngest will be 16 on March 27th and we will therefore miss out on the new tax credit. She will still be at school for the next two years and our other child is about to start university. Why does this tax credit stop at 16? We are about to embark upon the most expensive period of their lives. What happened to all Mr Blair's promises to help 'Middle England'?
Moira Cameron, UK

When is the government going to see the vital importance of reducing our carbon dioxide emissions and make it a key priority - especially in formulating the budget?
Frances Mortimer, England

Mid-50s, single, two-thirds average income, no car. Budget? What Budget?
R.Gallard, Uk

Why does the new maternity benefit not start until 2002?

Alison Manning, United Kingdom
Why does the new maternity benefit not start until 2002, what is the point of it being in a 2001 budget. I am currently on maternity leave and work for accountants, I thought the issues in this budget were supposed to be for 2001, not 2002 and 2003 its not good to me now and I will not change my vote to Labour, he has done me no favours.
Alison Manning, United Kingdom

As regards car tax, the Chancellor seems to have forgotten that diesel-engined cars tend to have larger engines (larger than the 1500cc threshold) yet produce less CO2 and use less fuel than an average 1100cc petrol engined car. So why is the lower car tax band not available to us? Of course if the new car tax system, which is dependant on CO2 rather than engine size, had been made retrospective, all would be well. But I'd have to buy a new car (my present one is a mere 18 months old) to reap that benefit.
Martin, England

I am 42. Divorced and paying extensive maintenance payments and rightly so for which I get no form of tax relief. I am in middle management. Four the last 4 years I like have been taxed, taxed and taxed again and yes the pips are starting to go. When will the burden be taken away from the middle wage earners who loose the greater percentage of the incomes compared to any other sectors.
James Costello, England

Repaying £34 billion of debt, without putting taxes up in this budget, suggests he's skimmed off too much previously.
Ken, UK

My partner and myself are saving to buy a house of our own. We are currently not married, have no children and earn approx £25,000 between us (before tax). We intend to have children in the next few years. Looking at this budget, I should start popping them out now!
Sharon, UK

It also rankles that the government talks of helping children from poorer families get to/through university. Surely that must be us

Jenny Hole, G.B
My husband and I earn between us about £15,ooo per year. We both work full-time and my husband is self-employed. We have two children, except for your purposes they are not children, as the youngest will be 16 on 4th April, and the elder is 19. So, although these will be the most expensive years for us, with further and higher education to pay for, we get no financial help and no tax allowances. I think that the 'child friendly' policies are great. I just wish we could benefit from them! It also rankles that the government talks of helping children from poorer families get to/through university. Surely that must be us? How exactly are we being helped? I don't see it. And yes, on my earnings of £7,500 I am a taxpayer.
Jenny Hole, G.B

I am not a pensioner, so I get no fuel allowance or free TV. I can't have kids, so no goodies there. I can't work, so no tax benefits. I'm one of the forgotten few, through no fault of my own I am housebound and severely disabled.
Sue Evans, UK

I would like to see the threshold for the upper tax band expanded in line with the increase in wages. More and more people are falling into this band every year, sooner or later it will be the majority of people. This is not an effective way to redistribute income.
Bob, England

Nice to see they are so committed to high tech small businesses. So committed that they introduced the crippling stealth tax under IR35 in the last budget and have done nothing to redress this unbelievable injustice in this one. If you're really interested Mr Brown/Ms Primarolo then give small IT consultancies a level playing field against your friends in the big boy companies.
John Wilkings, England

I think Gordon Brown introduced a well balanced budget. However, I feel he should have taxed the large oil companies more
Graham Davison, United Kingdom

I hope the replies on this page are not a true reflection of society in general. It's all me, me, me. I earn £50k + and I will gain nothing from this budget. But then I don't need it nearly as much as some of the poorer members of society. Well done Gordon Brown a sensible budget, but once the election is won can we have a budget focussed on raising more revenue for public services?
Mark Davies, UK

The budget is good, balanced and without flashy special effects. As most developed western nations, we are dying out. Stimulating people to have children and provide for them better is a responsible measure. The voluntarily childless who complain about paying for other people's children should realise that those children will one day be paying tax that will provide part of their pensions. I just wish he'd increased the tax on tobacco three to five times.
Sam Crayle, UK

I have completed your ready reckoner and found that I will be £1.36 worse off. However I believe paying off national debt & maintaining a steady investment programme in our public services are a good course of action. I am a floating voter and prefer what Labour have currently planned and offer.
Rod Davis, England

Giving the benefit of the doubt, it does make sense to take 34 billion pounds to pay off some of the National debt, and then use the interest saved, to invest in the future growth of the country - as long as they do this.
Phil W , UK

The reduction to 10p respects employee long-term capital gains is ok for small growing companies but for example BT and many other blue-chips it is no more than a perk and should be taxable as such.
Robert, England

Over to you Mr Hague!

Dennis Peacock, Evesham, Worcs
Families, families, families. What about the single, working people and the married couples without children paying a large amount of money into the Government coffers? I assume that Messrs Brown and Blair are not interested in our votes from this section of the community. Over to you Mr Hague!
Dennis Peacock, Evesham, Worcs

I cannot see anything in the Budget yet that says we will be following the lead of Scotland and abolishing charges for care of the elderly. Why should people work hard all of their lives to have something to leave their descendants if it is going to be robbed by the Government? I will not be wasting my petrol again to vote. Not for any government.
Richard Twyning, England

In watching the Budget I found no cause for optimism for students. Why didn't he follow the Scottish Parliament and abolish tuition fees? If, as he says, children are our future then he should invest in them!
Mark Lishman, England

As a £40,000 earner, with a wife who stays at home and looks after our 2 year old son I am not impressed. I see no benefit at all.
Nigel Smith, UK

With all the figures that are argued back and forth, it very difficult for the public to know who to believe. Shouldn't we have an independent person in the House who has the true figures at hand (possibly on a computer database)and who can say at the time who is telling the truth? This goes for Budget day especially but at is relevant at all times of the year.
Becki Williams, England

Why does every budget have to revolve around families? How about some benefit for single home owners. Just because we choose not to have children do we have to pay for everybody elses?
Claire, UK

As a single man, no kids with above average income I have not benefited from this budget. However, on the whole it is well balanced - paying back more of the national debt than starting a spending spree. The only issue I have is with the £1,000 baby bonus - I am all for supporting families and agree that this is a priority, however this sends out the wrong message to young single parents. It would have been far better to have put the money towards creches for working mothers and increasing the married couples tax allowance!
Iain, UK

Sounds like a great budget especialy for families. Maybe it's time to move back to the UK.
Peter Metcalfe, Canada

It makes me so angry that we are not classed as a valid family unit because we have no children - for genuine reasons. It seems that to benefit from this Budget I should retire and breed as fast as I can.
Jon Winfield, UK

The chancellor - laden with a massive budget surplus, and preparing for an election - was widely expected to ditch that old Scottish puritan look and buy us all a round. Many members of his own party and the Lib Dems were urging increased spending on public services, help for farmers, higher public sector wages and, well, as nice a summer as government money can buy. The Tories were asking for all the above and a good dose of tax cuts. The problem for party animal chancellors is they usually give the economy a nasty hangover with higher inflation, higher interest rates and - if you really crack open the champagne - an asset price bubble as well.

The problem for party animal chancellors is they usually give the economy a nasty hangover

David Watts, UK
So Brown did well to resist the temptation of popularity and only blow half of his budget surplus. As everybody knows high spending and low taxes should be kept for a rainy day as a counterbalance to the economic cycle. The chancellor may have learned that you can't please all the people all of the time, but he has yet to learn that he ought to strive to please none of the people most of the time.
David Watts, UK

Oh well done Gordon, another wasted opportunity. I guess I would say that as I'm trying to run a small business and I keep hearing New Labour tell everyone how great they are and how much they support small business, but what have they done to help? As far as I can see, it's absolutely nothing over the past four years. Just additional red tape and stealth taxes. I'd like to see a Britain when people were genuinely encouraged by the State to take risks and build Businesses, which after all will provide employment for many and hence taxes to pay for everything. At the moment I feel that it's almost necessary to apologise for running a small business and the ever increasing burden or red tape is not helping.
Steve Jones, UK

For me the single most startling action of the Chancellor is...the repayment of £34 billion of debt within the past year. This against a background of higher employment, low inflation and relatively low taxes. This kind of priority, as opposed to vote-catching measures, is more likely to produce long-term sustainable prosperity than anything I have previously seen in my lifetime. I am over 50 years old. That action gets my vote! That's responsible economic management.
Keith Robotham, Ex Pat currently in Scandinavia

Why is the Chancellor so keen to reduce the national debt, and so happy to add to students debts? When he has his education and healthcare system, like when I have my degree, then is the time to pay back the debt. Paying off the debt now may stem interest payments but surely the amount not being spent on our hospitals and schools has greater value and greater consequences.
Amy L, England

As a qualified Nurse working in the NHS and a partner working in education and two small children. 9/10
Sandra, England

I agree that we should help the less well-off, but we have earned our lifestyle and we deserve to keep it.

William Anstey, Essex
Gordon Brown is punishing people for doing well in life. The extra taxes for the well off and all of the extra allowances for the less well off. I agree that we should help the less well-off, but we have earned our lifestyle and we deserve to keep it. Also he has done nothing to sort out the income tax levels. With the levels going from 25% to 40% is crippling my family because my income just falls into the 40% category and so we are worse of than people who are earning less. This government is all talk and no action.
William Anstey, Essex, England

I am a single, employed male, who drinks and smokes. And although this budget has done nothing for me, it is the first budget that I can remember where I haven't been worse off, and hasn't depressed me. So I for one will be raising a glass to Gordon Brown, and maybe next year he will do a little better.
Iain, Scotland

I would be very interested in knowing how much money, over the years, the Government has allocated to "fight the drug war" and how the 200m pounds is to be used for this cause. I totally agree with the importance of controlling/stamping out the illicit drug trade, but feel that adding extra money to this fight, is not the right solution. I would have liked some of the 200m pounds to have been used for the pensioners, schools, and the NHS.
Stephanie Maxfield, USA

Does Gordon Brown know that there are disabled people who will never be able to work? As the parent of a profoundly disabled 16 year old I have waited in vain for Labour to do anything to help my child - now or in the future. This group of people seem to be totally invisible to all and yet they are the most needy and vulnerable in our society,
Jennifer, United Kingdom

Gordon Brown has produced a blend of social conscience and financial prudence unseen for the previous 18 years of Tory mismanagement. It is not a vote-winner, it is a vote-consolidator. As a final year trainee teacher, I have seen the vast improvements in the education system, and look forward to the challenge of the future. This government is helping those who are trying to help themselves. More good news tomorrow with a reduction in interest rates I hope.
Martin O'Hara, England

As a married man 40yrs old, earning just over the national average, and no children, there seems little for me in the budget. My main areas of concern are : Look after pensioners (a few £ extra pw is an insult). No change in IHT laws. Nothing extra for prudent savers (like I try to be.) Child benefits should be means tested. Why do we give handouts to people earning £100k pa?
Simon Hayes, UK

Tax breaks for kids!............... I thought kids didn't pay Tax!
P Gardner, Cardiff, Wales

Well of course Gordon Brown has given back part of what we've paid, as the Tories complain - that's what the principle of taxation is!

Paul, UK
Well of course Gordon Brown has given back part of what we've paid, as the Tories complain - that's what the principle of taxation is! It's a very good budget, and the economy looks rosy without everything being given away before an election - this would have been short-termism which would only have increased inflation. And the free museums issue is brilliant - good on you, Gord!
Paul, UK

The Chancellor is so embarrassed by the amount of money he has already raised that he cannot spend it all or give much of it back without stoking up inflation. He is therefore going to put most of it to reducing the National Debt which will drive down gilt-edge security prices and cut the income on annuities for pensioners. Pensioners will thus end up losing more in income than they gain from any tax cuts or state pension increases.
Brian W, UK

The Government say that they are concerned about the number of deaths on the roads caused by drinking and driving and yet, once again, they have not increased the cost of alcohol. How can they justify this?
Fiona, UK

Whilst I'm very supportive of what Gordon Brown has done for the family, I have to question what future faces those children. They either go out to work at 18 (unable to afford university - despite academic ability) or they work like mad for three years (juggling part-time employment with study) to end up thousands in debt?! Why hasn't the Government done anything to help us students?
Frances Redding, England

Where is the creativity? What about regeneration of inner cities? With such a concern for child poverty why has higher education not been supported as a path to prosperity and made open to all?
Donna Hall, Scotland

It occurs to me that the Government does not give two hoots about single people, couples with NO children and married couples. We seem to be the ones worst hit yet again, by funding people with children, surely when these couples decide to have children they know the financial implications. Does it also not occur to the chancellor that the reason why smugglers have a field day with tobacco is because like a fool he keeps putting up the tax, until they start reducing the tax on cigarettes the smuggling will continue. Wake up and smell the coffee Mr Brown, come and live in the real world with the rest of us.
Andrew, England

If the budget is as disastrous as William Hague is telling us, why does he seem to be so gleeful?

Natasha, UK
If the budget is as disastrous as William Hague is telling us, why does he seem to be so gleeful? Surely if the country is on the brink of financial ruin, he should be upset and showing his genuine concern for our plight? Politicians of all parties are increasingly behaving like children trying to score points in a game.
Natasha, UK

The most benefit I have received in this budget is the reduction on fuel duty. However, this is only resetting the level of tax to what it was a few years ago. Why should I be thankful to Gordon Brown for taxing me a little bit less when he has been taking from me since the last increase. The last fuel duty increase cost me an extra £0.86per day which I have had to cope with. Are peoples memories so short? I am glad to see that William Hague brought up about VAT on glasses. When were we going to be told about that, or weren't we?
Nichola, England

This budget is cynical and disappointing. There are several groups of people completely ignored. Homosexual couples finances need serious attention- there is still no recognition of long term relationships- they are not entitles to each others pensions should one die, their incomes are considered separate for tax purposes (regardless of their domestic situation), there are no allowances made in the area of inheritance tax as there is with a married couple. It is plain to see that Mr Brown has been prudent with spending and has made only token gestures to voters, so as soon as Labour get re-elected, he can raise taxes further, and chuckle all the way to the bank. Petrol should come down by at least 10p for longer than 3 months!!!
Phil Crowson, UK

This is just the budget to remind people why they voted Labour before. It benefits ordinary people, whilst also putting more money into schools and health. Economic stability and steady growth is a prize worth keeping.
C.Stevens, UK

I can imagine what a 1000 pound baby bonus is going to encourage single mothers to do! Let's have some reward for those who have always striven to help themselves.

Avril, UK
How charitable of those who wish us to" look at society as a whole" - they can obviously afford this sentiment! I worked until I could afford to have children and support them. They've left home now and although my husband and myself work hard, we seem to get poorer every year. I'm more in tune with Nicola and DS and definitely Neil. I can imagine what a 1000 pound baby bonus is going to encourage single mothers to do! Let's have some reward for those who have always striven to help themselves.
Avril, UK

This is a very good stable budget. Despite Dimbleby's cynical attempts to make people say that its an election budget the message is clear: unlike Portillo, Gordon Brown is planning for the long term future. I would have liked to see a windfall tax on the oil producers, ringfenced for countryside redevelopment. It's a pity the BBC's coverage seemed so highly biased, the use of obviously conservative 'city' representatives, comments from Nationalists, again with a political agenda rather than an economic comment to make. How about some positive contribution from the BBC!
Nick Jay, UK

Is it only me who is sick of supporting people who bring children into this world and then have no qualms about letting the state support them and their offspring-this budget seems designed to encourage people to do this. I am 21 work full time and have no children-the only thing I have gained from this budget is a 2p cut in the price of petrol and that is only guaranteed until June. The one thing I would really like to see improved is the NHS as 2 people known to me have contracted MRSA from our local hospital recently.
E Prior, UK

I am a middle-aged, middle-income married man, no kids, mortgage, no company car. I too pay a slightly higher tax take than before .... BUT I think it's worth it to see a government who are trying to put the country back on it's feet ... not just help their friends to make more money. Since I too work in the computer industry, I would like some of the correspondents who complain so bitterly about IR35, presumably self-employed contractors, to explain why they should have the privilege of avoiding paying the same tax as everyone else. Between the tax-avoiders and the "me too" brigade lies the reason that the normal working man pays so much tax.
Andy W, UK

I think William Hague got it wrong -its not like a car this government has stealthily taken from us but a big red double decker bus! And I'm not sure we got all the wheel hubs back either!!!
Dave Brougham, UK

It seems a bit unfair to only abolish stamp duty on residential properties in inner cities - the cost of moving house is high wherever you live. In today's world you have to be prepared to live wherever there is work.
Keith Sutherland, UK

Blair was being "green" yesterday talking about the need to protect us from Climate Change, and Brown makes car driving cheaper today?

Martyn, UK
So Blair was being "green" yesterday talking about the need to protect us from Climate Change, and Brown makes car driving cheaper today? How exactly does this add up?
Martyn, UK

I think that Gordon Brown has produced a very fair, sensible budget. I am delighted he did not fall into the typical pre-election gesture of cutting income tax.
Alon Or-bach, UK

I would like to point out that again that couples with kids that live together still are not better off as the working partner gets all where as the parent at home just gets child benefit and when they go out to work the right hand will give the left hand will take .Also child care is too high to afford.
Miss Jane Forde United Kingdom

As a single, childless student, I have received nothing from any of Labour's budgets, except for £6000 in student loan debt and over £3000 to pay in tuition fees. My parents are worse off as they can't get any tax deductions for covenanted payments to me to help me get through university, even though I am classed as a dependant for assessments for tuition fees etc. It seems to me that the Government has forgotten that there are many types of people in this country other than just families with young children .
James Durrant, England

I would qualify for childcare tax credit if my partner was unemployed, but she is a full-time student and, therefore, neither of us can get any family tax credit despite having to pay £21 per day childcare. There is absolutely no help for full-time students with children so what incentive is there for mothers to better themselves by getting a degree and a decent job.
Paul Rocks, Northern Ireland

Speaking as a single, non-alcoholic, householder in an area that isn't in need of development, who like many others can't afford a new car (or tractor) - and already uses ULS petrol - what is there in this budget for me? Those of us who are single by choice are being bled dry to subsidise families, farmers, hauliers and anyone else who has shouted loudly enough recently.
Kev, UK

Thank Goodness we have a chancellor that can see beyond the next 6 months! Populist short term thinking has been the ruin of this country, but we finally seem to be making progress. Gordon Brown should be given the job for life!
Tom, UK

My husband is disabled... What has the budget done for us?

Helen Peachment, England
My husband is disabled and cannot work, turns 60 at the end of the year and has two young children. What has the budget done for us?
Helen Peachment, England

Why no mention of two wheeled transport in the budget. More and more people are using two wheels to get in and out of congested city centres, using less fuel and taking up less space . This growth should be encouraged. Car taxed reduced up to 1500cc yet no reduction for two wheeled transport.
Bob Haigh, England

The children's tax credit is a good idea, but even that has mistakes - a couple can earn up to 39k each and still qualify for the tax credit, BUT if one earner earns over 40k - then the whole family receives Nothing. That's a massive difference - i.e. if a mother goes out to work full time and earns 39k - and the father does the same - they qualify for the allowance, if the a parent stays at home and one parent earns over 40k - Hard Luck
Richard Houghton, England

This budget did nothing for me. Self-employed, male mid thirties, smoker who drives. I shall continue to buy my cigarettes illegally or on the continent. I have no children - why should I have to pay for the other peoples' kids.
Mowbray Jackson, England

I think that the Labour government has brought the country to the best shape it has ever been. For example the introduction of training programmes for the unemployed. They reduced the lower rate of income tax and brought out the minimum wage, and that may even increase to £4.10. But I would love to see the re-introduction of the student grant rather than the present student loan.
Grub, Wales

Is Mr Brown aware that this childrens' budget will create more friction in the workplace

Robert Williams, Kent
Is Mr Brown aware that this childrens' budget will create more friction in the workplace because people who do the same job will get more pay just because the have children. This is not a good environment to work in and also there is no incentive for these people to work hard and take on responsibility, because what ever they do they will still get the same money. It should have gone to hospitals schools and other departments directly not this way. I believe it encourages laziness in the workplace and teenage pregnancies.
Robert Williams, Kent

With the exception of the increase in maternity/paternity leave which is long overdue, this budget is very poor. It has done nothing for transport and after the mess this Government has made of fuel pricing etc. it is a sign that they really are an arrogant and thoughtless administration. There is also nothing for the environment and frankly the investment in education and the NHS is nothing less than that we should expect from our Government. They will pay for this not in taxes but at the ballot box.
Gavin Egan, England

I get tired of hearing about how "well" families are doing, and that there is nothing for the single person. The single person does not have the cost of a child which the budget has gone some way in helping. Having a child is a choice, and one that some people would not be able to make without financial help.
Sarah, UK

As the Chancellor said, this is a budget for the long term. In the long term, we face a demographic time bomb. There are not enough children being born to sustain my generation in old age. He could arguably have done even more to encourage working people to feel they can afford to support children. Ultimately, their children will support all those who are bleating about having to subsidise families!
Tony Darroch, UK

What a lot of whingers! I think it has been a brilliant budget. After all our priorities must be children, and the lower paid. Please let us stop living the "I'm alright Jack" society.
Valerie Knights, England

I think the focus on children and families is absolutely right and the additional money for schools and health is very welcome
Nick Allcock, England

I need to own a church on contaminated land with a shop and flat attached and Solar power it, to get anything for MY Family out of this budget

Steve, UK
I am a 49 year old contract IT worker being hit by IR35. So let's get this right Gordon, I have a son at University and no other children. To accommodate him next year, I need to own a church on contaminated land with a shop and flat attached and Solar power it, to get anything for MY Family out of this budget.
Steve, UK

As a small company employer, I think we will make sure that every woman we employ will be above child bearing age. Otherwise we will never know whether our female staff will be working with us or having another year off.
Tony Goodeve, UK

Why cut the tax on petrol when the oil companies will put it back up again in a month? Less revenue for the government, more revenue for foreign-owned oil monopolies.
Jeremy Wright, London, UK

I am 21 year old, unmarried male. I may not be getting much of a tax-break but I probably need it less than anyone else! Families, pensioners and other vulnerable groups need support - I do not! Don't see as much for the environment as I expected, though.
Jassim Ahmad, Norwich, UK

We welcome the increase in the basic rate of pay, £4.10 is still low. £5.00 for over 21's would be a wiser decision
Chris, UK

Once again, this government has done nothing to really help single people with their own homes

L Ward, UK
Once again, this government has done nothing to really help single people with their own homes. Yes the VED upper limit is welcome, but as to cutting 2p litre on fuel, come on Mr Brown, how much do you think a conversion costs for a vehicle to be able to use the low sulphur unleaded.
L Ward, UK

I can't believe that Tobacco duty has been left where it is. Why can the Chancellor not got his teeth and double or treble the tax on this foul anti-social, anti-health habit?
Steve Brereton, UK

The raising of the inheritance tax threshold is a joke, and the quoted stats that 96% of estates will therefore be tax free is not true by any stretch of the imagination.
Paul, UK

When will the people of this nation stop worrying about what the budget means to themselves and look at the bigger picture of what it does to society as a whole. As an NHS Dr a more family orientated system must be better.
Dr John Phillips, UK

The work force of the future (students) are being forced to take on student loans after student loans, I would have welcomed lowering of interest rates on the repayment of the loans. Students have a huge voice and Gordon Brown has not helped the students of England & Wales.
Shaun Dawson, Great Britain

Children are the future of the country and the ones who need our help most

Stuart Donaldson, Glasgow, Scotland
Children are the future of the country and the ones who need our help most. I do not have children but I despair at the 'What about me' culture. The comment about not repaying the national debt is crazy, surely it is common sense to repay our debts for the future good of the economy. An excellent budget. I am very pleased with it.
Stuart Donaldson, Glasgow, Scotland

His apparent obsession with the family is surely misguided if he thinks that this will sway the electorate?
Stuart Watson, UK

As a single person who has recently brought their own home, I see no benefits for me at all. I have no children so the "family drive" will not help me, and the only thing I thought I could count on - paying less road tax for a car with a bigger engine is only applicable to those who buy newer cars. Obviously it is a crime to be single without children and work in a job which does not pay you enough to buy yourself a new car.
Michelle Rhodes, England

The tight spending plans of the first two years of this government have led to an unprecedented surplus and record low debt.
Adam S. , England

Once again, the working middle classes receive absolutely nothing whilst continuing to pay punitive taxes to support tax discs on tractors!

David W, UK
Once again, the working middle classes receive absolutely nothing whilst continuing to pay punitive taxes to support tax discs on tractors! I ask you! Widening the 10p tax band doesn't even touch the extra class A NI contributions that come into force next month, an increase that was introduced by the back door and probably qualifies as another "stealth tax".
David W, UK

The abolition of tractor VED for farmers is no doubt welcome, but if this means that large movements of goods by tractors results, the environmental damage due to cars and lorries grinding along behind will be substantial. Therefore, VED for lorries used exclusivly for agricultural purposes should also be abolished.
John de Rivaz, UK

The increase in the minimum wage to £4.10 an hour is great news for low paid workers.
Cara, Huddersfield, UK

This budget is totally useless so far, unless I happen to get a windfall or wish to invest in some flunky IT Company

Matt Scott, Buckinghamshire, England

Attempting to buy a house in any of the home counties when on NHS wages is practically impossible. A reduction in stamp duties would have helped but nothing so far unless I move to London. Which isn't going to happen. This budget is totally useless so far, unless I happen to get a windfall or wish to invest in some flunky IT Company.
Matt Scott, Buckinghamshire, England

If Brown does not cut 15p a litre off of unleaded as from 6pm today the protests/blockades will be back. And if you think last time was bad this will be much much worse as we will not back down until he gives as what we rightly demand. He already has the money in the chest to be able to do this. So our advice to him is cut 15p off a litre or suffer the protestors again.
Petrol Protestor, England

Petrol Protestor makes me laugh. The recent march was rightly treated with contempt by just about everyone, and the protestors ended up looking like fools. I would like to see more duty on all forms of pollutants, and yes that includes petrol.
Nick T, UK

The following comments were posted before the Chancellor's Statement

Your survey of opinion prior to the budget is flawed in its conclusion that voters would prefer increased spending on public services over tax cuts. The figures in favour of increased spending match those who want to see MIRAS and Married Couples allowances return - which are in effect tax cuts. In reality, people want to see reduced taxes as well as increased spending on public services. Whilst Gordon Brown may pass the budget off as reducing tax, we all know the burden of taxation on individuals and business has increased well beyond the small hand outs we are likely to get today.
Peter Harper, UK

Baby bonus? Ridiculous

Nicola Dann, England
Baby bonus?! Ridiculous - I think those people prudent enough not to burden the government with more children should be awarded accordingly. I am for a no-baby bonus!
Nicola Dann, England

Myself and my fiance are about to have our first child, I am hoping that there is something in the budget for new families. I am a Marketing Manager and earn in excess of 20K annum.
Jonathon Brindley, England

Now it has come to light that we have been overtaxed, Brown should return the money he has confiscated to the people who paid it out. This is the only chancellor I can remember who has deprived the workers of so much of their hard earned cash for so little. So many people now pay tax at 40% and many have so-called 'negative' tax codes.
Dave Pring, UK

I think fuel is too high ,it's a total disgrace compared with other countries. Cigarettes are grossly over priced.
Craig Everett, England

We are not taxed particularly highly in Britain and if people want quality public services then they should expect to pay for them, instead of demanding more tax cuts

Paul Terry, England
Comments such as "I have no children so have no need for schools" and "I am paying X thousand pounds a year in tax to subsidise others" indicate how selfish our society is becoming We are not taxed particularly highly in Britain and if people want quality public services then they should expect to pay for them, instead of demanding more tax cuts.
Paul Terry, England

Generally I'm pro high taxation (on a sliding scale). But it does upset me that I am paying tax to provide for today's pensioners, whilst simultaneously having to sort out my own private pension and investments to save-guard my old age. Paying twice, in other words.

Despite the clammering for lower fuel duties, I think he should leave them alone. How about some more pragmatic decisions, like dropping Capital Gain tax income from share options? This government and the previous one encouraged small investors, how about some breaks for them? Maybe allowing some of the profits to be pushed into personal pensions without penalty?
Stuart H, UK

Thank you to everyone who's noticed the appalling state Higher Education is in - perhaps the Government will do something if they realise there's votes in it for them. However, the most useful thing the Government could do is not scrapping tuition fees or reintroducing the grant (although it's welcome to do this as well), but to start funding Universities to a decent level. Being a student myself, I can assure you that Universities are currently doing everything they can to pass its costs on to students.
CNS, Durham, England

I think the tax surplus should be used to improve schools and transport (particularly renationalising and re-investing in the railways), abolish student tuition fees and bail out the farmers. This'll do for a start.
Keith, UK

It is sure to be a pre-election farce which sees the majority of the country better off until Labour are voted into power again

Jason, UK
I don't think it matters what Mr Brown does this afternoon because it is sure to be a pre-election farce which sees the majority of the country better off until Labour are voted into power again. Next time round we'll see more indirect taxation to recoup some of the benefits we are sure to receive this year. Am I a cynic? No, just a realist.
Jason, UK

Gordon Brown could nationalise the top 150 monopolies and bring them under democratic workers control. But he won't.
MJ Brierley, UK

Julian is correct, whilst not self employed I work for a company I own, and since the introduction of IR35 am now having to pay over 50% tax (inc. NI) on earnings. Whilst some of the postings on here seem to indicate I should be glad to pay this amount, I look at it a different way. Why should I work five days a week when after Wednesday lunchtime I am no longer working for myself! The sooner we get rid of sliding scales of tax the more even the contributions will be and the more incentive to work longer, harder or smarter, as it is I now no longer try to work overtime or extra hours as it is just not worth it.
Russ, UK

There appears to be a lot of selfish requests from individuals as to what the Chancellor should do. I voted him into office and from what I can see of it, he has done a fine job and we have got away from the live now pay later system, that existed under the Tories, we many Tory voters actually lost everything they had worked for all their lives.
Derek,ex-pat, Brazil

It seems that those who have the most whinge the most. Nobody likes paying taxes but I doubt Gareth et al would be complaining if they or a member of their families fell on hard times and the state was there to bail them out. I for one would like to see the cost of motoring (and goods transport) increased so that motorists (myself included) can appreciate the real costs of their love affair with petrol. If the costs of pollution and accidents were factored into the costs of fuel perhaps we would start to think a little bit more about our lifestyle choices.
Dave, UK

Give us our money back Gordon! You're one of the major contributors to "rip-off Britain". You've charged us too much - now it's payback time.
Alex Davies,

I think its time to balance a few things out. The motorist pays for most things - how about either removing the Road Tax and keeping the Petrol duty as is - or Keeping the Road Tax and removing the Petrol duty. The children's tax credit is a joke - a couple can earn up to 39k each and still receive a Tax Credit - that is 78k for the family. Whilst if one member earns over 40k then the family receives Nothing. I was always led to believe the VAT was a tax on luxury goods - so why is VAT charged on FUEL. And why do we pay TAX on insurance - we have to buy law have Car insurance.
Richard, England

I would like to see the re-introduction of the married couples' allowance and less perks for single mothers, who choose to be so (i.e. never married), penalised unless they work. Why should I spend 40 years of my life working to subsidise those who have a number of children to different fathers, or those who opt for a stay-at-home comfortable life. I would much rather see my money going to help proper families, pensioners, the disabled and most important, the health service.

Well, I'm going to get nothing - I'm a software graduate who's on a reasonable income, living with my girl friend - starting up a reasonably successful internet based company - exactly what the Labour government hate. I wish that GB would put the money somewhere decent (like transport, health, education) rather than to people who are on the dole.
Bill, UK

I am a middle class nurse, married with no children yet. The budget gives me absolutely nothing, but takes away anything I do get little by little every year. When will the people who earn money and have a good education behind them actually be rewarded? It seems all the money goes to single parents, the unemployed and people that really cannot be bothered to go out and earn a decent living for themselves. It makes me so angry - why did I bother getting 19 years of education behind me?
Julie Dobson, UK

I would like Gordon Brown to publicly state that the IR35 was a mistake and to remove it. Only then will I return home to continue passing on my computer skills to the new generation.
Peter Morris (in exile), New Zealand

I am married, six months pregnant with twins and both myself and my husband work.I resent the fact that had I been single, pregnant and unemployed I would have been entitled to a whole host of benefits whereas now I am entitled to virtually nothing. I am disgusted that I am trapped in a system that rewards an undeserving section of the community and fails decent hard working families. We've worked hard and paid our taxes. Why is it then that I am sick with worry over how we are going to cope if I cannot combine working with motherhood? Why are my countless thousands paid in tax helping other mothers instead of me?
Jacqueline Lewis, UK

I am on a state pension, I do not feel poor, eat well and lead a good life. One priority should be the children and young people, they are our future. First bring back free school milk,supply hot dinners at schools, encourage more teachers to teach in state schools, give financial help to young people who would like to stay on in education but cannot afford it. Look after our children and the future will look after itself.
Elizabeth O, England

I feel like I'm working hard for nothing

Alex Roebuck, England
I am married and we have an 18 month old baby. My wife works part-time. I used to be self-employed, but now work fulltime. So far this year I have paid £16,000 in tax and NI (not including 'the hidden tax', employer's NI) and I feel like I've been mugged. Every single tax measure this Government introduces costs my family more money and gives us nothing. Why should we, as a totally self-sufficient, traditional married family, subsidise the rest of the country? I feel like I'm working hard for nothing.
Alex Roebuck, England

I'd like to see tax removed from insurance. Insurance is essential today more than ever and should not be liable to any type of VAT.
Ennio, UK

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