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EDITIONS
 Tuesday, 23 April, 2002, 09:24 GMT 10:24 UK
Budget 2002: Your reaction?
Chancellor Gordon Brown has set out the government's plans to raise taxes to boost spending on the National Health Service in his Budget speech to the House of Commons.

The chancellor confirmed that an increase in spending on the NHS would be partly funded by a 1% rise in National Insurance contributions on all earnings above 4,600.

Duties on beer, spirits and wine will be frozen, while a pack of 20 cigarettes will increase by six pence. Fuel duties are also frozen.

Mr Brown said the extra money for the NHS would come hand-in-hand with more scrutiny of how it was spent.

Has the government hit the right note with this year's Budget? What are the implications for you?

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


Your reaction

What about defence spending?

Jon, UK
What about defence spending? With the UK disbanding the Sea Harrier, forces stretched to the limits and the world at war with terrorism, surely now is the time to spend.
Jon, UK

I think that the responses here show that the chancellor couldn't win no matter what he did. The choice is "Pay up, or shut up"
David Phillips, Wales, UK

Diabolical is all that comes to mind. Spend my money wisely and I'm happy to pay more tax, but keep pushing it higher without anything to show - I'll restructure offshore and become tax exempt.
anonymous, UK

There is a group of pensioners for whom the rises in allowances etc. means nothing. My mother had cancer and a stroke last year. As a result she had to go in to long term care at a nursing home. She was required by the state to sell her house in order to pay the fees. The state will only allow a person to retain ?18, 500 and so any increases in pension etc are automatically taken to pay fees. Will the chancellor ever close this loophole as it is strange that those who have saved during their working lives are punished both in respect of having to use all their capital, and also in that fees are about 30% higher for those who have to pay their own fees rather than those paid for by the local social services.
S Bethell, IK

I am naturally delighted that health is recognised as a priority programme and feel that 1% on NI is a small price to pay (compared to private insurance premiums for equivalent cover). However, I am concerned that the government has failed to attach similar priorities to defence. We have seen the down declaration of another Tornado squadron, the recently announced decimation of the Royal Navy Sea Harrier force and the loss of three major warships. Despite this, the prime minister continues to pedal his presidential aspirations by attempting to keep up with America in the deployment of forces as a global policeman. The military is already stretched to breaking point and without investment comparable to other public services, something will have to go!
Roger John, Wales

Well I for one will be doing a major 'I told you so' speech tonight to my friends who insisted on voting Labour. At least I have a right to moan about the NI rise because I didn't vote for them!
Jo, UK

Throwing good money at an outdated product or service will not make it more efficient

David Finch, England
Spending without a clear plan will lead to tears and waste. Throwing good money at an outdated product or service will not make it more efficient. You change your car for a new one when it becomes too expensive to maintain - you don't just keep paying the ever increasing bills. The centralisation that Labour loves will result in bad spending. Let's have a proper plan please and let's spend our money wisely.
David Finch, England

The only way I can square this is to say that we must now have a two-speed NHS. Workers, who pay for the service, should get treated speedily and first. The unemployed, and pensioners who have failed to save, have plenty of spare time should wait to be fitted into any remaining slots.
Brian M, UK

It is always the genuine people who are penalised in this country. Nobody ever asked the public what we thought about spending ridiculous amounts of money on building a dome. What about all the money that has been wasted and is still being wasted? I grudge every penny that has been spent on that disaster. If that money had been put to better use then maybe we wouldn't have to have this increase on NHS contributions and all our services wouldn't be in such a mess. I also think it is about time we took a stronger stance on all the illegal immigrants or asylum seekers if that is what you want to call them and send them back and not be a soft touch. So many are risking their lives trying to get into the UK because we are a complete joke and give them far too much. As for Tony Blair, he thinks he can sort out the world - what about sorting the UK out first?
Isla, United Kingdom

Mr Brown was right about one thing. We need to make fundamental choices about the NHS. And we make that choice at the next election. I personally will choose to vote them out of power, and to date I've been a life-long Labour voter.
C. Clarke, UK

If you want the services you have to pay for them. Whatever the Tories say you can't trust them with public transport or health services. They got them into the mess in the first place
Mick, U K

Why are we increasing taxies? There are enough of them about already!
Rasher, Wales

What about the police? The mayor of New York spent money on the NYPD, on better training and better technology, and slashed the crime rate, exactly what the police over here want. If we get taxed more for the police and crime is reduced, maybe we can save more money on our Insurance!
Alex, Reading

Why should I have to pay for the poor to enjoy a life of smoking, drinking, gambling, and making babies?

Steven, Newcastle
As usual, Labour have seen fit to punish the hard working (sorry, "wealthy") amongst us, whilst rewarding the spoilt "working" class. Why should I have to pay for the poor to enjoy a life of smoking, drinking, gambling, and making babies? Perhaps Tony should encourage the useless in society to look after themselves by cancelling all state benefits?
Steven, Newcastle

Absolutely support more spending on NHS through higher taxation
Steve Trigg, UK

Why tax our hard earned incomes to fund a badly managed NHS Service? How can we, the general public, be assured that our additional taxes are improving the NHS? We need good management skills to improve the NHS Service, not a huge cash injection. More and more companies are working smarter, why can't the Government?
Carole Bean, Brighton, UK

Increase in taxes to throw good money after bad, just to make a popular statement. There are many things you could do to the NHS to improve performance, throwing money at an inefficient process probably isn't the best one. It's not just about how much money you spend, you have to use it wisely as well. I think this is the true face of Labour starting to show!
Jim Graham, England

So now we will have more lies and spin that income tax has not been increased. Instead we are being shafted by a bunch of self serving incompetents. I hope that everyone who voted for them has finally woken up to see what a bunch of charlatans they really are! No matter how much money they raise (even though figures from the NAO show they don't even spend what they've got now) the NHS will not improve unless it is reformed. It doesn't need more money it needs to be run better - for clinical need not waiting list headlines. We no longer have an NHS anyway - otherwise you wouldn't have a different health service in Scotland.
John, UK

When I started work I was in the lowest tax bracket. Through hard work and determination, I'm now, 10 years later, in the highest tax bracket. I am also married, own my own property and have no children. The current government have taken away my married person's allowance, my mortgage tax break is gone, they are punishing me for not having children (thus, as previously commented, costing less re education, health care and taking no maternity leave), and are taxing me at the highest rate on money I earned through sheer hard work. Perhaps a game of bingo would make me feel better...
Kelly, Middlesex

What exactly is the point of working for a living again?

Alex Keenleyside, England
I've just looked at my finances for this month and seen how much direct tax I've paid and estimated (fairly accurately) how much indirect tax I've paid. I've just now discovered I'm to pay more tax. Now what exactly is the point of working for a living again?
Alex Keenleyside, England

This budget is encouraging people to remain unemployed and for the hard workers to pay for them! What happened to the rewards for working hard? It is discouraging ambitious people who want to get on and be rewarded financially!
James , UK, London

It's all well and good throwing more money at the NHS, but appointing yet another layer of inspectors is a waste of money. What is needed are simple economies of scale. Why is there no central body to buy in bulk what each of trusts currently buys themselves at inflated prices? No commercial venture would last under these conditions. Also - for first time buyers like myself facing the prospect of paying ?90k for a shoebox in Manchester, then another ?1000 to Gordon to line his pockets, it's criminal.
Lawrence Salvoni, Cheshire

Finally, the government reveals its true form, as an old fashioned, redistributive, high tax and high spend socialist administration. After the years of spin, deception and pretending to be 'New' Labour, the truth is finally here: this government believes it knows better what to do with our money than we do. It won't work of course. In five years time, the NHS won't be any better than the Third World health service it is at the moment. It will just be more expensive, because the problems in the NHS are not down to money, they are down to bad management and over-centralisation. There is one good thing to come out of this budget. Maybe, now Labour has admitted that it can't resist taking our money off us, people will begin to see that there is an alternative to the Labour party and politics can become normal again.
James Griffith, UK

I don't have any kids and I've never been in hospital in my life and yet I'm being taxed out of existence for both schools and the NHS.
Oscar Liddle, Britain

Single childless citizens should get a rebate for saving the state money

CB, UK
I am a single man. I have no children to draw child support, health services, education or the judiciary. How many thousands of pounds will this save the state? So why do I have to pay more to support all those who do make the financial choice to breed? I feel that single childless citizens should get a rebate for saving the state money, not pay more for being responsible.
CB, UK

We have a two tier health service in this country, and therefore there must be a percentage split between the number of operations carried out privately and via the NHS. Surely, then, the only reasonable measure of success of the tax increases announced today is a shift in these percentages away from private and towards the NHS.
Andy C, UK

To improve the NHS the government should freeze its budget for the next five years. Then it would start looking at ways of becoming more efficient and delivering what it is meant to. There is one administration person for every five clinical positions in the NHS. Where else do you see this? It is over-managed and needs to be more answerable to those who use it, like companies in the private sector are. Deliver the right goods and services or go bust. We buy our food and water from private companies, what difference does it make with health services. You are dead without the first two, can you imagine if the government ran our supermarkets!
Richard, UK

Here we go again. Another round of massive tax increases by a government that wants to pump billions of pounds into failing bureaucratic public services. What is so wrong with private sector investment? Why can't the public have a choice instead of mugging the taxpayers of their hard earned cash? This budget will be the downfall of Tony Blair and the end of New Labour.
C J Beaven, Stevenage, UK

It's good to see Gordon Brown following the message of the Lib Dems by targeting extra taxes for NHS. But this government still totally misses the point. They are still failing to hit the fat cats of society who really wouldn't notice a higher tax rate. Why hasn't Brown hit those earning 100k plus? He could have phased in NI to hit those at this level higher. Why hasn't he done as the Scots did - abolish student loans/fees? The cost of university doesn't bother the rich and the poor are also likely to incur no higher education costs. And why doesn't he abolish care home costs for the elderly. As a Scot he will reap the benefits of more caring policies towards all, north of the border, whilst he is happy to impose more and more costs on middle income earners in England.
Rod Eumorfopoulos, Great Britain

Well yet again this government makes us pay more for delivering less. The over optimism of his economy's performance is very dangerous indeed. If the UK does not meet the chancellor's prediction, then where will the money come from? Either he will borrow more or tax more. From today, this budget's tax hike is only the start.
Graham Palmer, UK

NHS! I'm sick of hearing about the NHS. Is that all anyone thinks about in the UK nowadays. It's about time that people realised that the NHS should be an emergency service only, or for those below a certain income. Everyone else should pay via insurance. I bet if the math were done, the tax savings would outweigh the insurance premiums! The NHS was a nice idea, but has become impossible to maintain. What happens if this is not enough? Do we continue to raise tax indefinitely, just to make it work?
Mark Q, UK

Is an increase in NI contributions actually going to make any difference to the NHS? We don't actually get anything for NI as it is, and I'm sure the government can inject cash from elsewhere - the Dome springs to mind...
Richard Harrison, Scotland

Is it not about time those people without children had a tax break, we cost less for education and health, but get no family, child care tax relief and take no maternity leave.
Andrew, Wales

Why increase NI contributions across the board when you hit poorer earners. The earnings cap should be changed to get increased funds from those earning more. All that has been given has been taken away!
Andy, London, UK

The cuts in rates are very welcome for those companies making small profits.

Martin Robinson, Scotland
I believe that the changes proposed by the chancellor so far will stimulate investment in the economy. From a corporate tax point of view the cuts in rates are very welcome for those companies making small profits. I hope that the chancellor increases income tax on high earners to compensate.
Martin Robinson, Scotland

Stop your bleating "David". IR35 was a necessary introduction to close a tax loophole exploited by highly paid so called "self-employed" IT workers. If income had been honestly declared rather than manipulated to minimise your contribution to the public purse then no IR35 would have been needed. On the budget, the main hit to business is the 1% employers NI contribution - sadly a genuine tax on jobs - and, as IDS pointed out, more than off-setting the drops in corporation tax. It was rather sad that IDS was given the opportunity to say something accurately critical.
Stuart, UK

As more and more give-aways were announced for families with children it became increasingly obvious who was going to pay for it all - single people without kids who go out and work for a living! A 1% rise in NI, without any of the tax allowances being given to parents, means an increase in my tax bill of 350 per year. My only crime is not to have had children!
David, East Sussex,

Why can't the government acknowledge the growing trend in singles in the country? It's about time middle-income singles got a tax break and not an increase!!
Andrew, England

It's a good idea to raise income tax to help the NHS, but why simply create an across the board rise? Surely that immediately affects those who are on the lowest levels of income. Now would have been the time to increase higher rates too, say 45% over 75,000. Why not be bold and brave? Pathetic.
Jackie Collins, Scotland

I like the bit about 'financial incentives' for hospitals. One assumes that this would be along the lines of living patients good, dead patients bad? Well, lets just hope they don't apply this to hospices then, or they will certainly not benefit...!
Liz, UK

Some of us earn reasonable salaries but have to use a lot of fuel in travelling to work - how about some tax allowances for that? Also, I have never understood why we are taxed on our private medical benefit - surely we are paying towards the NHS but not using it most of the time?
Christine Hurst, UK

There is a political smell coming from Mr Brown

Philip , UK
The Budget is nothing more than an attack on the middle classes and a vote loser for Labour. There are no guarantees that any more investment will be spent wisely. The massively inefficient NHS will continue to waste money like nothing else. Red tape suffocates the ability of the NHS to function properly and Labour see the other way out of this is to use taxes to paper over the cracks of inefficiency. There is a political smell coming from Mr Brown that will only serve to hinder rather than fix the NHS.
Philip, UK

I think the increased duty on cigarettes is unfair especially when alcohol stays untouched. It's not smokers who are filling up casualty wards on a Friday and Saturday night.
D, Manchester

It costs a lot more to mend something than to break it. We had 18 years of the Tories destroying every public service they could get their hands on, and now it falls to my generation to foot the bill and put it all back together. I'm not ecstatic about having to pay tax, but that's what it's going to take.
Jim, England

I'm a bit worried about the projected increase in spending on the NHS over the next five years. Are we looking at increases in income tax over the next three to four years too? Has the government started so they'll finish?"
U Smylie, UK

At last! A government willing to stand up and be honest

Sean, Halifax, UK
At last! A government willing to stand up and be honest - more investment in the NHS and other public services can only come through higher taxes. This is a Budget that will benefit the sick and the less well off. I am happy to pay the extra.
Sean, Halifax, UK

I totally disagree with a tax increase to help sort out the government's mismanagement of our contributions. If they stop giving money away to every Tom, Dick and Harry then a tax rise wouldn't be needed.
Paul, London, UK

I notice some clever wording regarding vehicle excise duty. The "lowest polluting" motorbikes will have duty lowered, and duty is frozen for lorries, vans and cars. Reading between the lines, this means that duty for most bikes is likely to rise, despite the fact that even large bikes contribute less to congestion and no more to greenhouse gas output than cars. How does the chancellor square this with his green policies?
Mike Holden, England

There's nothing for carers of aged parents or disabled adults

Jayne, UK
For people with children, especially working families, yet again this is a great Budget. There's absolutely nothing though for carers of people other than children ie those people who have to care for aged parents or disabled adults. And 3 a week for pensioners? Wow! That might just buy them a couple of loaves of bread and some fish!
Jayne, UK

With almost everyone expressing concern at increased taxation and some people commenting on the fact that to have a better health service we need to spend more money, let me make one point only. In Scotland we have much higher investment in the NHS than those south of the border (one of the highest in Europe) and it doesn't make one jot of difference, what we need is someone who can spend the funds wisely and not wastefully.
Alasdair MacIntosh, Edinburgh, Scotland

Gordon Brown really should have gone further with taxes

Geoff Dale, UK
I have to say I'm quite amazed and pleased at Gordon Brown! For the last few weeks there has been such huge debate over tax increases to pay for the NHS investment. It seemed that NI limits would be stripped and the higher earners suffering the most. I think 1% across the board is definitely fair, but I cannot see it providing enough additional reserves to make a real change to the NHS. Gordon Brown really should have gone further with taxes but I won't complain, I was expecting a bigger wedge taken from my income!!
Geoff Dale, UK

We were supposed to have elected a Labour government yet they increase taxes in a way that will affect average workers earning under 30k whilst those on larger salaries will notice it less. Income tax is the fairest form of taxation but they don't have the bottle to use it.
Nigel Johnson, UK

Why don't the government produce a paper showing where the revenue from tax and national insurance is spent? My local government does this and it explains fully where my money is spent!
John Dagnall, England

By failing to increase stamp duty allowances by house price inflation over the last five years, Labour has inflicted yet another stealth tax on us. Note that this will affect badly off people, ie those who pay between 60,000-100,000 for properties.
David Farmbrough, England

Please can I have a tax credit to offset the costs of my 19-year-old undergraduate who I support out of my income? I'm now in tax terms a 'single person' but I'm not and can't someone, somewhere recognise my additional responsibilities?
Jean, UK

Another Budget...yawn! I couldn't care less

Iain Alexander, UK
Another Budget...yawn! I couldn't care less. I can't do anything about past Budgets, I can't affect a change to future Budgets and anyone who thinks that voting in an election is affecting future Budgets is a bit naive! Taxes go up, public services go down, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. That's life in this country - it's been that way for the 30 years I've been alive and probably will continue thus for ever more! Don't get stressed about it all, it's just boring politics again!
Iain Alexander, UK

Excellent! A Budget which balances the needs of the economy with the needs of the country. Sensible and innovative business taxation, combined with personal tax increases that won't scare the horses! Gordon Brown has shown it is possible to maintain the impetus for growth in the country and combine it with a pragmatic approach to getting the resources we need into public services. This will lead Britain successfully up the world rankings in all the key areas, into the euro and result in a third Labour victory!
Paul Steven, Edinburgh, Scotland

The chancellor's reduction in duty for small breweries is wonderful news

Steve Downing, UK
The chancellor's reduction in duty for small breweries is wonderful news. Many of these breweries suffer from unfair competition from the bigger breweries and from illegal imports. They have to pay duty up front before getting their cash back from the customer and this hits small brewers' cash flow very hard. Also the increase in duty on alcopops is timely as it is these drinks that tend to lead to binge drinking and subsequent rowdiness and crime. Not all alcohol is the same or has the same effect!
Steve Downing, UK

Every Budget is the same. The single person without any children has to give money to people who do have them. We take less out of the system than anyone but get no tax credit for it. My taxes will go towards paying childcare costs for people with nearly three times my income. Give single people rewards for being responsible and not having children they can't afford.
Alex May, England

Taking all of the different taxes into account, many of us are paying about half of our income to the government. This is wrong. The government should cut spending in other areas to help finance the NHS; civil servant's index linked guaranteed final salary pensions would be a start.
Brendon, UK

Where are the representatives of the disability community in your panel?

Alison Lewis, UK
We are not going to benefit in any way from this Budget. Our care allowance has risen in line with the cost of living, but care costs have risen more than that. We get no help towards heating costs unlike the over-60s and bear in mind that many over-60s are still in full-time employment and spend a large proportion of the day in heated offices. Any income from savings has fallen through the floor, and we cannot fund the cost of maintaining our own homes, a gardener or cleaner cost more than 10 per hour, a decorator 70 plus a day and many of us cannot carry out these jobs ourselves because of our disabilities. Where are the representatives of the disability community in your panel? A very disappointing Budget yet again.
Alison Lewis, UK

So much for helping small businesses! IR35 anyone? I would like to invest in the future of my company but cannot due to this stupid legislation. Now I have extra employer and employee NI to pay as well. I'm seriously considering taking my skills and experience abroad.
George, UK

As a small business owner I am pleased with this Budget. The freeze on most excise duties is welcome. The small increase on cigarettes is not as bad as most people were expecting. I am already seeing a favourable reaction from customers coming into my shop. I think people ought to stop whingeing and realise things could be a lot worse!
Ken Robinson, Whitley Bay, UK

With our NHS failing despite spending being up 30% since 1997, we can be sure that today's extra billions will drain away down the same sluice.
Ben, UK

It's single people paying for families

Steve Scott, UK
Once again it's single people paying for families. Thanks to the national insurance hike, I will be 17 a month worse off - I barely have sufficient income to scrape by as it is. It's just not fair.
Steve Scott, UK

The chancellor said: "It is right that everyone who benefits from the insurance provided by the NHS... should make a fair contribution." So how about some tax relief for those of us who have private health care and therefore free up NHS resources?
Mark Whitehouse, UK

It costs a lot more to mend something than to break it. We had 18 years of the Tories destroying every public service they could get their hands on and now it falls to my generation to foot the bill and put it all back together. I'm not ecstatic about having to pay tax, but that's what it's going to take.
Jim, England

I'm a student and it's certainly going to cause problems for me

Gareth Goble, N. Ireland
I'm a student out on placement for a year out, I'm already having to shell out on fees, and now with a 1% increase in national insurance, it's certainly going to cause more problems for me and many others like me.
Gareth Goble, N. Ireland

The usual story, tax the middle income earners. The big earners won't notice and the really rich aren't domiciled here anyway. It's just us poor suckers in the middle who get clobbered as usual. Why not save the NHS money by ensuring that everyone who turns up for treatment has to prove they are entitled to it? Why do we have to pay when we go abroad and those who come here seem to get treated free of charge?
Karen Wood, England

There's a group of pensioners for whom the rises in allowances mean nothing

S Bethell, UK
There's a group of pensioners for whom the rises in allowances mean nothing. My mother had cancer and a stroke last year. As a result she had to go in to long-term care at a nursing home. She was required by the state to sell her house in order to pay the fees. The state will only allow a person to retain 18,500 and so any increases in pension etc are automatically taken to pay fees. Will the chancellor ever close this loophole? It's strange that those who have saved during their working lives are punished both in respect of having to use all their capital, and also in that fees are about 30% higher for those who have to pay their own fees rather than those paid for by the local social services.
S Bethell, UK

I am genuinely pleased that taxes have been raised to pay for improvements in public services; most people now realise that they have to be paid for. However why oh why do it via NI contributions? Someone earning 30k per year pays the same as someone paying 300k per year, is this fair?
Andrew Cooper, UK

I'm lucky enough to have private health care through my employer so one of the few ways I can benefit from higher taxes is through dental care. However, all the practices in my area are refusing to take any more NHS patients, preferring to line their pockets by charging whatever they want to easy targets. I therefore seem to be getting nothing for my money. Am I a whinger?
Chris Kinsey, England

We will all be better off with better health to enjoy a better life. Only the dispassionate and self-centred will be worried.
Sinclair Budd, UK

I thought this was an excellent, forward-looking Budget

James, UK
In direct contradiction to all the curmudgeons on this page I thought this was an excellent, forward-looking Budget. It is clear that Mr Brown has tried to provide incentives for small businesses, encourage research and development and invested heavily in our young. That deserves to pay off in the future. As for the NHS, Mr Brown is right. It doesn't matter if you use the NHS much or not. The fact is funding it through taxation spreads the risk fairly throughout society ensuring that no one is left without care if and when they need it.
James, UK

This tax robbery is becoming an outrage. Even more is being taken from me in taxes to fund further waste and incompetence. My hard pressed, hard working, wealth creating (middle class?) family and I already feel at the rear of the queue with regard to any services from this country - we can't even get our kids into decent schools and have had to go private. I've already reduced my expenses and pension contributions to make ends meet - now I'll have to stop them. This government is forcing me into a future poverty to fund public service worker pensions. After all that's where most of the taxes will go - not improving NHS and education - but spiralling public sector staff costs.
Martin Lewis , UK

Well the spin-doctors have done it again. Having spent the last week preparing us for large increases in indirect taxation, via national insurance, we have now only had slight increases, so we are all now supposed to feel good about! Spin wins again!
Paul Baker, Shropshire

Once again, the Budget has done nothing to help single parent fathers.

Duncan Stevens, UK
Once again, the Budget has done nothing to help single parent fathers. I am a middle-income earner, who looks after my children for half the time and pays maintenance for them. Yet all tax breaks go to the person receiving child benefit. Gordon: explain to me why you are not supporting fathers who take their responsibilities on board?
Duncan Stevens, UK

It's great news if you are in business (quel surprise) or if you have kids. The increase in funding for the NHS is welcome but will it really make a difference? It's not such great news for the single who are on (relatively) low wages, living in London. We'll have to pay more in NI and still not be able to afford housing! Let's hope that the government realises that we are the future and help us out next time.
Emma, London UK

This Budget appears a victory for the poorer members of society

Ed Whittaker, UK
When will people realise that if they want better services, they are going to have to pay for them like the rest of Europe. This money is not (all) going into some big black hole or feeding fat cats. Remember the classic Monty Python sketch about what did government do for them? As for some of the comments from mid-earners about how even more of their money is being taken, be thankful you earn what you do. This Budget appears a victory for the poorer members of society. Reducing taxation on small brewery beers will finally help out rural pubs and small brewers fight back against the big multinationals.
Ed Whittaker, UK

Once again the government have thrown handouts, funded by the tax from the pockets of the middle income earners, at the usual 'can't work, won't work' brigade.
Frank, England

Seems like a reasonably sensible set of measures, of course you can never please the British population, who always want something for nothing, but this may at least go some way towards starting an improvement of the NHS, which will be useful, despite all the petty whingeing that will result. Mr Brown describes increasing national insurance as fair. However, he seems to forget that there is a ceiling on contributions and the average tax burden for higher earners is less than for low earners. Can this really be considered fair? Maybe Mr Brown should consider removing the ceiling next time.
Rob Rowlands, UK

The chancellor should capture some votes from the most important - and disillusioned - section of the electorate

Oliver Parish, London, UK
I can't see how increasing the duty on cigarettes is going to achieve the stated aim of stamping out the smuggling of tobacco into the UK to get around extortionate duty rates. I don't see how many people will be better off - I'm a graduate working in the civil service in London on a wage of 15,000 p.a. and can barely afford to get by, never mind pay more NI. I didn't see any benefits or breaks for young working people (I'm 22), just more tax and a lower standard of living. Surely the chancellor should be wooing the up and coming generation to capture some votes from the most important - and disillusioned - section of the electorate.
Oliver Parish, London, UK

I agree completely with David, North Wales. It always amazes me that the people who complain about the lack of improvement in services are the first to complain when the taxes rise. I personally am happy to see a rise providing that it's used to improve services and not to increase bureaucracy. Relative to many of the other countries in Europe we actually pay quite low tax - something that shows in our healthcare and transport infrastructure! I was speaking to a guy from Berlin on a training course a couple of weeks ago and he was telling me that their basic rate of taxation is 40%, so we're not as badly off as people think.
Mark Powell, UK

I'm livid that Gordon Brown has taken an extra 50 a year in NI contributions to help shore up the most hare-brained healthcare system in the world. Why should I pay to help de-fur the arteries of people who smoke and eat to excess, then expect free point-of-supply healthcare?
Steve, UK

We spend most of our time complaining about the NHS being bad and rail being bad. But when someone comes up with the suggestion that we pay for it all with increased taxes we complain about this too. France and Germany pump billions more into their health services and transportation and they get what they pay for. Britain, being in the top five of industrialised nations, should be paying higher taxes to fund the kind of services that we should have. Something to actually be proud of - but I would add that Germany is looking to the UK in order to change the way it manages its health service. Bottom line - more taxes to fund a change to the country's services.
David, North Wales

David from North Wales: The difference between the countries you mentioned and our beloved UK is that their tax money actually goes to their public services. All we get are promises, so people do have a right to complain and be sceptic.
Tommy, England

Once again the government is afraid to tax the smokers too highly for fear of loss of revenue. I wonder how much it costs the NHS to treat smokers when they get ill.
Martyn Ellis, UK

I think that the chancellor has missed an opportunity to ensure that same sex couples obtain equal treatment with married persons. My partner and I will continue to lobby for these changes and hope that our common voice will be heard in the future. In particular we would like to see exempt transfers under capital gains and inheritance tax extended from married couples to same sex couples.
Iain Lawrie, Scotland

The changes will stimulate investment in the economy

Martin Robinson, Scotland
I believe that the changes proposed by the chancellor so far will stimulate investment in the economy. From a corporate tax point of view the cuts in rates are very welcome for those companies making small profits. I hope that the chancellor increases income tax on high earners to compensate.
Martin Robinson, Scotland

Truly massive rises in health spending, all to be funded by taxes. But why should we believe that a monopolistic nationalised industry is the best way to deliver health care, when we don't believe it's the best way to provide electricity, or telephones, or indeed almost any of the other things we used to use nationalised monopolies for? Haven't things in Gordon Brown's world moved on a bit since 1948?
Andrew Lilico, UK

It's interesting how Mr Brown often announces 'good news' items twice in his Budgets. He announces things that will take effect one year from now then re-announces them next year, thus getting two good news headlines. Very clever!
David Farmbrough, England

This is a smokescreen

David, England
People will view the Budget as good for small businesses. This is a smokescreen. There is a very uncertain tax climate for small businesses in the UK with the universally condemned IR35 stealth tax creating great uncertainly in the tax burden. The Revenue are taking in excess of three months to judge whether a company is hit by IR35. Nothing in this Budget will soften this damage and the subsequent damage to the grass roots small companies it affects.
David, England

Looks like a good Budget that will do a lot for small business. Not that many small businesspeople will care - they are obsessed with IR35 which, in case anyone doesn't know, closed a loophole that allowed people to set themselves up as companies, whilst carrying on doing the same job as before and therefore avoiding paying tax. That was patently unfair and was therefore addressed - much to their chagrin.
Jake Parker, London, UK

Is an increase in NI contributions actually going to make any difference to the NHS? We don't actually get anything for NI as it is, and I'm sure the government can inject cash from elsewhere - the Dome springs to mind...
Richard Harrison, Scotland

This Budget has been far less controversial than the doom and gloom cynics wanted. Three cheers for the chancellor! Can we please drop this obsession with the Dome? It was built with Lottery money, not tax. And in any case, 600m is a drop in the ocean as far as NHS requirements are concerned. If you want the service, stump up the cash and shut up!
Jeff, UK

Why increase NI contributions across the board when you hit poorer earners? The earnings cap should be changed to get increased funds from those earning more. All that has been given has been taken away!
Andy, London, UK

Time to think about leaving this overtaxed country

Caroline, UK
Yet again small IT service companies are stuffed. Not only do we get hit with IR35 where all the company income is counted as personal salary, now we have to pay another 1% employees AND another 1% employers' NI. Double whammy, especially if like me you aren't married and don't want children. Time to think about leaving this overtaxed country I think.
Caroline, UK

To Brogan, the middle income, no children non-smoker with private health care, who will be worse off. Thank you for demonstrating that system works, and the money is coming from where it should
Jayne, France, ex of England

So this is a Budget for everyone is it? I strongly disagree with that statement. I am a middle income earner, not self employed or owner of a small business, no children, I pay for private health care and don't smoke. I will be in the group that will be worst off as usual. I'm glad that all of those who voted for Labour are starting to see exactly how they treat the main earners of this country. I'm proud to say that I wasn't one of them and never will be.
Brogan, UK

Whether we like it or not services cost money. For too long people have been conned into thinking that we can have decent services without paying for them. The only way to have world-class hospitals for all is to have an NHS funded from general taxation. The same is true of decent transport services and schools. I'm glad that a New Labour chancellor has finally got the courage to make people who can afford to pay more for better services pay more. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the same people posting comments complaining about possible tax rises also moan about the state of the railways etc. Cough up or shut up. An extra 150 a year is a small price to pay for a health service, railways, schools that work!
Christopher Conlon, UK

When will they stop giving in to big business and use some common sense?

Ian Ball, UK
Well big business is paying increasingly high wage increases to the bosses (averaging 20% last year) while keeping general pay rises low so they give the businesses tax breaks and take away our pay rises in tax. When will they stop giving in to big business and use some common sense?
Ian Ball, UK

Why are we paying higher taxes when the Government are wasting 30 million on an empty Dome?
Jill, UK

Why the hell should bingo be tax-exempt? Why should amateur sports clubs get tax breaks? An extra 25 a year for single people on low incomes? Wow big deal!
Phil, UK

Thank-you for the extra cash for old people, this will help me out greatly.
Martin Hodgson, Hampshire

Stop complaining about tax increases, if we want the services provided by the government then we have to pay for them!

Richard Williams, South Wales
Stop complaining about tax increases, if we want the services provided by the government then we have to pay for them! I have been waiting for a knee reconstruction operation since 1995, if I have to pay more taxes to improve the NHS then so be it, at one point in our lives we will all need the it. How would you feel if the service you expected was not there due to under funding? If you smoke you are quite happy spending a fortune to kill yourself but begrudge paying the extra few quid a month to one day save your life. What a mad world!
Richard Williams, South Wales

I don't care what Gordon Brown does in today's budget - just leave Jersey alone. If he wants to secure a veto on European withholding tax, let him secure it without using us as a sacrificial beast. If he needs to raise taxes to run his country, why doesn't he come and see how Jersey can operate with such low taxes and with an overall surplus.
Andy Le Seelleur, Jersey CI

I see that of those who have voted in the poll on this site, 61% are against raising taxes. I bet 100% would like to see improved services! I would prefer to see taxes raised even higher, it's the only way to improve services and begin to decrease the ever widening gap between the rich and the poor. Although it would be nice to know exactly how these extra funds were to be spent. Not that I don't trust Gordon and his mates!
Gary Butler, London UK

I think just increasing the NI would not help. In the end what NHS requires is doctors and nurses. If everybody wants to become either Beckham or Victoria then even increasing NI would not help. The NHS has 20,000 nurses who are registered and not working. So what the NHS requires is a sound policy and not just burdening middle class people with increased NI.
John, UK

Is it not about time those people without children had a tax break? We cost less for education and health, but get no family, child care tax relief and take no maternity leave.
Andrew, Wales

I'm annoyed that companies will get tax credit for innovation

Tim Booth, UK
This is a Budget that benefits the corporate world primarily, which proves the governments priorities. I am annoyed that companies will get a tax credit for innovation - what about a tax credit for recycling, conservation, and environmental protection? These are far more important. I welcome more investment in the NHS, unfortunately it will probably turn out insufficient once again. I would be happy with justified tax rises for better public services, sadly the government is unwilling to commit to this.
Tim Booth, UK

Tim Booth: companies may not get tax credits for being environmentally friendly, but they certainly do get stiff penalties imposed for being environmentally unfriendly, so that particular area is already covered. And I'm afraid your comment that "innovation is not important" is just plain stupid. One of the main reasons that British industry has fallen behind that of other countries, particularly US and Japan, is a lack of innovation. However, in order to be innovative you do have to be able to think for yourself, which is something you're clearly incapable of.
Simon Moore, UK

Are we really 'well within criteria for membership of euro'? How come most economists assess that sterling will have to be devalued from between 15 - 30%? Perhaps we are converging towards the criteria because of government policy over the last 5-10 years. However the British people were not given a referendum to decide these policies. How can we dismiss dictators around the globe as 'undemocratic' when our national economic and legal policies are set from an unelected body in Europe?
A Wood, Newcastle

What I've seen so far says single pensioners are getting an "extra 400 a year" - then told that the increase is 3 a week. Surely a 400 per year is about 7.70 a week?
Chris Cox, UK

I'm glad to see that bingo tax is being exempt. Why don't we encourage more gambling? Maybe we could allow under 18s to gamble their lives away at no extra cost? This government impresses me less and less as time goes on.
Andy, London, UK

Didn't Labour say they couldn't reduce fuel tax because "That's what we are going to use to improve the NHS"? Or are we supposed to just forget about that?
Mark, London, UK

More cash from UK citizens isn't the answer

Ian Leach, Preston
What more does the Labour government want from us? More cash from UK citizens isn't the answer. Rather than filling already bulging pockets, the government should look at its own hierarchy, rank and file and get that in order first. This country is subject to the most horrendous mismanagement.
Ian Leach, Preston, UK

In view of the amount of public money spent on the dome project I think it is disgraceful to expect the British public to have to be liable to prop up the NHS with an increase in NI when the wasted money on the dome could have been used towards it.
Dave Hall, Camberley, Surrey, UK

I would suppose that I am classed as a middle earner on 40,000 pa. This entitles me to 40% taxation. Great. Does the government honestly believe that I, and those like me, consider ourselves well off? If they do, they're totally out of touch with the country that they govern. We elected this government for two reasons: we needed a change, and we were sick of the ineffectual, sleazy government of the Tories. What a mistake we've made. The 'New Socialists' have done nothing except stealthily pick our pockets every six months.
Mike Clarke, UK

Dear Mike Clarke, You earn more than double the national average: you are well off. Stop deluding yourself.
Dan, UK

Mike Clarke - you're on two and a half times my salary and my family can manage on what I earn. Stop whinging.
Deb, Manchester, England

Mike Clarke: You try living on 15,000pa, like some of us have to, then you'll see that actually, you are well off. You can afford to pay more tax than us lower earners and therefore should pay more. Simple economics.
Dave James, UK

Maybe Gordon should reduce spending in other areas. Spending money sending British troops to foreign countries makes Tony look good but can we really afford it?
Jonathan Taylor, UK

In Finland, the national health service is partly funded by small fees

Mari Martiskainen, UK
In Finland, the national health service is partly funded by small fees. When you go to your GP, you pay 5 for the first three visits. National insurance goes from the salary, but with the health service, one only pays extra when using it. Perhaps the UK should consider something like this.
Mari Martiskainen, UK

Any policy that encourages companies to use renewable energy sources is welcome. Hopefully the exemption of these fuels announced today will see them become one of the main methods of generating electricity in the UK.
Mike Edwards, Cardiff

Yet again we end up paying more taxes that will go straight into the black hole that the government calls public services. This lousy government has a total disregard for our hard-earned money and I'm wondering how far they can tax us before people say "enough is enough" and refuse to let the government continue wasting money like this. Just think about it - we pay more than half our income to the government either via VAT, duties or income tax and what do we get in return? Answer: Almost nothing!
Steve Chalmers, Birmingham, UK

What is given in one hand, is taken away in another, no-one ever is richer from a budget.
Klayr, Norwich, UK

I would be satisfied if we know where the money was going. However improvements to NHS is a must but is it really going to the NHS or the big fat cats?
Anthony, UK

Watch out! Here comes the spin - none of the "progress to date" is attributable to the Labour regime which is conceited enough to claim credit from effects of global market economy forces.
Simon Hibberd, Portsmouth

 VOTE RESULTS
The Budget: Has the chancellor got it right?

Yes
 43.20% 

No
 56.80% 

25637 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion


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