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Last Updated: Monday, 22 March, 2004, 22:18 GMT
Budget 2004: Your reaction
Chancellor Gordon Brown has delivered his Budget statement to the House of Commons.

Mr Brown revealed that the UK was enjoying its longest period of economic growth since the industrial revolution.

He also backed the Barker Review, published earlier on Wednesday, which recommended spending 1.5bn on doubling the production of low-cost housing.

The chancellor also unveiled plans to relocate 20,000 civil servants from London to the regions, saving an estimated 2bn over 15 years.

What did you think of Budget 2004?

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

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

So last year the chancellor decided to encourage small business via supposed tax breaks. This year he has decided to tax them to make up for it. All those people who have set up small companies in the past 12 months must be feeling a little bit like they've been duped.
Paul, United Kingdom

A disgraceful budget, clearly aimed at benefiting the higher end of society
Andy, Leeds, UK
Still no reductions or changes for single men and women. I am the vast sum of 13p a week better off, but that doesn't take into account other inflation-busting stealth taxes that I have to pay. A disgraceful budget, clearly aimed at benefiting the higher end of society, (again).
Andy, Leeds, UK

At last someone has had the common sense to begin to get the civil service out of London. If banks can operate their call centres from India, then surely the civil service could be just as efficient operating from Inverness. The figures need to be higher though to have a real impact on housing demands in the South East and restore some common sense to house prices. Still, it should at least spread the employment opportunities around a bit.
Alec Wood, Hartlepool, UK

My council tax bill arrived today with a 13% (25.00 per month) hike on last year. Your tax calculator suggests I will not gain from this budget. I work (very hard) for the DWP delivering expensive Government policy! - and my reward for doing so? A threat of redundancy. Not a great day so far. Roll on tomorrow and the next general election!
Wendy Newhouse, Plymouth UK

Disgusted. I have recently retired and my husband forced to retire, through ill health. We will gain nothing towards our 1,500 Council Tax Bill and to wait until 70 and then to get 100 is a slap in the face. We have lived in this house for 37 years and have paid out and paid out for years on this never ending and escalating farce.
Christina Reid, Falkirk, Scotland

Why does everyone want something out of the government, directly?
Kieran, Sheffield
Why does everyone want something out of the government, directly? I think this government has a responsibility to look after the most vulnerable in society before anyone else, and this includes pensioners. If you don't need helping, why should the government help you? I'm in favour of this budget, if you don't smoke or drink too much, or use a car (all things which are real blights on society and should be taxed), you're fine. If you want to indulge, fine, but expect to pay for it. If you think you never get anything out of our taxes, don't forget the only reason this country exists as a country is because of government and the rule of law... and that is something worth paying for.
Kieran, Sheffield

Why is the responsible section of society who works hard, puts effort into their education and waits until they can afford children before breeding expected to subsidise those who think nothing of having one child after another without the funds to support them usually producing juvenile delinquents, those who put no effort into their education and wonder why they are only artificially worth the minimum wage or are just plain lazy. Get all this lot acting in a responsible manner and the tax bill wouldn't be so crippling.
Lynn Fellows, UK

If New Labour's public service "improvements" were demonstrable anywhere other than on paper, I'd be prepared to swallow the big tax hikes we all know are coming if they win a third term. As it stands, thanks to Gordon's "prudence", about 3,000 extra of my annual income disappears off to the Treasury compared to in 1997, and for precious little in return. Sorry Gordon, you don't fool me, and word on the street is, you don't fool many others these days either.
Dan, Yateley, UK

I am happy to pay a small increase in tax if it means I can get medical treatment and other services that are vital. What is loosing my vote is having no hope at all of ever having a home of my own, while more and more people get cheap to run 2nd homes they hardy use and property developers buy all the property 1st time buyers used to purchase, then charge so much rent for the houses that single people like me can only afford to rent 1 room to live in, despite having a reasonable job.
Kerry, Somerset

After the election, up go the taxes
Craig Ward, UK
Why spend so much money on the NHS and education when they have made hardly any reforms to the system? Both areas are becoming a huge black hole. Keep putting money in and we will stop complaining. But this is a joke. Just watch after the election, up go the taxes. God help us if Labour get in again!!
Craig Ward, UK

The budget was predictable - designed with the election in mind. Terrific, bring it on! I can't wait to feel that ballot paper in my hand - goodnight Tony, goodnight Gordon and good riddance.
R.C. Robjohn, UK

I can't remember a single budget (of ANY party) that left me better off, so I think they should stop having budgets.
Phil, UK

I work in the Inland Revenue. I have read all the postings here. From what I have seen all postees here are hard working, honest people. But what about those who do not wish to contribute to society? Those who think tax is for other people to pay? My job is to catch those people and "encourage" them to comply. My department is already stretched to the max. So here's a question for all honest, working people? How would you feel if the frontline of the Revenue is decimated so much fly by nights actually do get away with it?
Anonymous, UK

I can't believe that people are still calling for massive rises on tobacco. Don't people realise that if GB raises the levy it will mean even less revenue for the government as more people but it off the black market. One trip to Spain on holiday buys me a years supply of cigarettes at less than half the UK price and if it's split between me and my wife it is completely legal.... No tax for GB off me until the levy is reduced to the rates in Europe.
Kev, Cheshire

Yet another fudge to give the buy-to-let brigade more tax incentives. The solution to the housing crisis is not to build more homes, it's to stop people from owning more than a set limit of properties. It cannot be right for someone to own 20 properties or more. It basically fuels prices up and forces people to rent. The Chancellor is now actively encouraging this. Solution - limit people from owning more than 5 homes. Then watch property prices reach a more realistic level.
Andrew Kinge, Winchester, England

I happen to work for the Dept for Work & Pensions, the department that has brought unemployment levels to the lowest level for decades, that has brought help to the most disadvantaged of society. If this is how the government rewards the hard work of its own staff, then don't expect any more commitment from the already hard pressed staff. This is akin to being stabbed in the back. If this had happened to manufacturing or service industries it would be declared a disaster. Getting rid of a few [40K!] staff doesn't appear to cause Gordon Brown much concern!
Wes, Sheffield, UK

The last thing the Chancellor wants is to let more people out of the tax net
Andrew, York, England
Gordon Brown doesn't have any interest in helping people onto the property ladder - while they are renting he gets not only their income tax but also tax on the landlord's income. Then when they have saved up enough deposit - savings interest taxed and ISA allowances cut - he gets the stamp duty - frozen - on their house purchase. But homeowners don't pay any tax on their housing asset, even when they sell it. The last thing the Chancellor wants is to let more people out of the tax net.
Andrew, York, England

I work for the DWP - Mr Brown wants us to do MORE with 28% LESS staff? What a joke and a kick in the teeth to many dedicated staff.
A Civil Servant, Hamilton, UK

As someone who works full time for NHS in a clerical and admin position. I am still living below the poverty line and see no improvement in my situation from this budget or through the Agenda for Change in NHS. I wonder where all the money is going.

Delighted to hear of plans to relocate jobs to the regions - given difficulties with recruiting and retaining staff in the London area this is long overdue. It will be interesting to see how many of the jobs cut from the Civil Service will be carried out by non-civil service staff paid at lower rates but via employer organisations which overall will charge much more to have the same level of work carried out.
John, Glasgow, Scotland

This is yet another example of New Labour attacking civil servants, many of whom are low paid already and on benefits. New Labour have already imposed below-inflation pay settlements on some parts of the Civil Service, hit civil servants' pensions and made it easier to sack them if they're legitimately off sick. Now it wants to take their jobs away and make the rest work harder to cover the same amount of work. I've always voted Labour, but never ever again, I'm sick of the "best of two evils"
Mark Edwards, Taunton, UK

This is very election-geared, isn't it? But perhaps it's the best solution to the problem of millions of people who whinge and whine about below-par public services, yet aren't prepared to pay a scrap more tax. We NEED improved services. At present we're lagging behind most of Europe. And how anyone can complain about extra tax on fags and booze...both cause serious problems health-wise and much of the police's time is spent dealing with alcohol-related incidents. More tax on spirits, fags, wine and beer next time please (and yes I do drink, but at least I'm honest enough to accept it isn't essential and usually does more harm than good)
Claire, Sheffield

I am very alarmed of the new high taxation of company vans
J.R., Derby
I am one of the many dedicated NHS employees nationally to loose my job next week due to this government's policies on privatisation. Although I have managed to secure a position with the new private company I will have no local depot and will have to work with my van from home, the depot being some 35 miles away the other side of Derby. I am very alarmed therefore on the new high taxation of company vans considering we have been put in this awkward position and considering our low wage and the importance of our job supporting the nursing staff and delivering medical supplies and equipment to patients to enable them to be at home and out of hospital. We will now have to offer a 24 hour call out service (for little reward) and this is impossible without the vehicle.
J.R., Derby

I think the Chancellor has really copped out and taken the soft option as far as duty on tobacco products go. He really should put the duty on a packet of 20 up to 10 with duty on other tobacco products at a corresponding level.
Brennig Jones, Bath, England

I think we should all be given an individual say as to where our money goes. Mine definitely wouldn't be going toward increasing defence spending (this being a misnomer anyway - it should be offence spending, and the bombing of Iraq certainly was offensive), and towards bring our country's health and education services back up to the standards they used to be at and accessible to all.
Dixie, England

I don't believe the changes the Chancellor makes are ever motivated by what is right for the country. With only 14 months till the next election, his budget looks like an attempt to placate particular groups whose votes Labour is seeking. The people who are really in need just get overlooked and forgotten.
ML, London, England

I don't earn enough to be in the 40% tax band, but my tax bill will increase by 40 per week
Liisa, Bedfordshire
I wish my tax bill had just gone up by pennies. I don't mind the tax on cigarettes, I don't smoke. I don't mind the tax on Alcohol, I don't really drink. I can live with no change on the income tax allowance. I shan't worry to much about Stamp duty because I can't afford to move. The tax on diesel is ok, I work from home and train in to London. But I am a owner- manager of a small business. I don't earn enough to be in the 40% tax band, but my tax bill will increase by just under 40 per week. Guess how I feel, watch my ballot paper.
Liisa, Bedfordshire

I read all the comments on this topic and can't believe all the whinging and whining. People want the public services, but they want someone else to pay for them. In countries like France they have better services but they have to pay a lot more tax than in the UK to get them. After 18 years of not so benign neglect by the Tories it will take time and money i.e. taxation to rectify 18 years of cost cutting.
Andrew, Woking, UK

I haven't seen any indication that Mr Brown has taken action to recover allowances and tax breaks previously paid to companies who now close down their operations and move overseas for cheap labour. I believe it is essential that businesses that move operations overseas purely for labour costs when the service they are providing is entirely UK domestic, should be hit with very large tax recovery bills, to recover what has been allowed in earlier years.
Iain Steven, Bridge of Weir, Scotland

It aims to maintain growth, whilst keeping taxation low
Glyn Jones, Werkhoven, Holland
This is the most sensible budget for many years. It aims to maintain growth, whilst keeping taxation low. More is needed for education and health, but if the British people want that, then they will have to pay the sort of tax we do in The Netherlands.
Glyn Jones, Werkhoven, Holland

Linda Hutchinson (below) asks how the DWP will operate a service with 30,000 fewer staff. Under the Tory government Peter Lilley got rid of 20,000. The service deteriorated so they recruited 20,000. I think history will repeat itself and removing 30% of the workforce will prove to be an election gimmick.

I incorporated last year and it has been challenging enough with all the red tape and associated costs. Now next year I have to pay an additional 19% of tax in line with other companies. Does the Chancellor not understand that a lot of small companies are just one man bands? Can we be compared with larger companies? It is ridiculous - so much for entrepreneurship.
Mauro, Bagshot, Surrey

I'm pleased about the 100 one-off payment for over 70's as one full week of my present state pension goes to council tax every month. This will help a bit.
Emily Bonar, Glasgow, Scotland

The Civil Servants he is getting rid of are those created by Labour
Babajoy, Rugby, England
The Civil Servants he is getting rid of are those created by Labour and were not needed anyway. As a pensioner, the extra 100 will be swallowed up not only in Council Tax, but in the general cost of living. Roll on the next Election, can't wait to see the back of Gordon, Tony and the rest.
Babajoy, Rugby, England

I cannot believe the complaint from one of your interviewees about drinkers being "hit". 1p on a pint is only an extra 7 a year if you drink a full 28 units of alcohol each week.
Andrew Macaulay, Bath, UK

The Chancellor has said that he will freeze the excise duty on spirits. However you should ask him by how much the alcohol trade warned him that duty stamps, also announced in the budget, would increase the cost of a bottle of spirits when they are introduced.
Chris Lonergan, Stockport, England

I am a pensioner who has not yet reached 70. So what help has Brown given us? I suffered under Thatcher's reign with companies going bust taking our pensions with them. I managed another job which will give me 700 pension. So I have that, plus 5000 state pension plus 200 heating allowance plus 10 Christmas 'bonus' and 32 worth of bus tokens. Total 5942. Council tax 1500 leaves me with 4442, 85 a week. Because I have managed to gather just more than 16,000 savings, I am excluded from any pension credit or other help. Who do I vote for next time? Come back the Loony Party, you will probably do better.
Ginger, UK

As a member of the civil service I might not even have a job when I go back into work tomorrow
John, London
Well as a member of the civil service I might not even have a job when I go back into work tomorrow. Not only can I not buy my own property but the poor wages I get as a civil servant means I can't rent a place anywhere safe or pleasant. So this budget could see me out of a job and out of a home. Thanks Mr Brown would you like to pop over and dig the knife in any deeper?
John, London

He's done it again. The media, including yourselves, are reporting a 100 payment to pensioners over 70 yrs. of age. Payment is per household NOT per pensioner. I will get 50 not 100. (Exactly the same mis reporting occured when the winter fuel payment was increased) I am happy to get the 50 payment but PLEASE report the facts not the spin.
ken knight, Cheshire

It's wonderful news that film makers are to receive direct tax relief. They will now have more money to make crappy films. Residents of inner city sink estates will be dancing in the street.
Keith, Hornsea UK

Thanks, Gordon. I started up my own IT business in the education sector 18 months ago. As a result of Gordon's cunning plan to close the 'tax loophole' that he opened 2 years ago, I will now be paying 25% more tax over the next financial year, so I can't afford to take on an employee. But Labour's good for business, don't forget! I am furious. Yet more money pumped into the NHS without reforms. Taxes on businesses. Brown has plunged us yet further into debt - and for what? A clear run at the premiership?
Russell Long, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK

I was surprised and whole heartedly pleased, to hear of the proposed reforms in the civil service
Simon James, Liverpool, UK

I congratulate Gordon Brown on his budget. With what's likely to be just 18 months before the next general election, I was expecting the budget to be 'low key'. However, I was surprised and whole heartedly pleased, to hear of the proposed reforms in the civil service. Having worked in the civil service myself, I found it to be extremely bureaucratic and financially wasteful in many areas. The money saved from the announced reform will be better spent on further improvements to front line public services. This country has changed for the better since 1997 (even if a little slow even for my liking) but the 'cost saving' initiatives being dreamt up by the Conservatives are an agenda to slash huge sums of money in public expenditure - we saw this happen between 1979-1997. I do not want to see it happen again.
Simon James, Liverpool, UK

The Chancellor is giving 100 a year to all those over 70 to help with their Council Tax, regardless of whether they pay this tax or not. Might it not have been a better idea to target those pensioners that actually do, this would have enabled the Chancellor to increase the amount to help the people that need it.
Susan Wood, Melton Mowbray

Right direction, but didn't go far enough. Well done on continued NHS and education increases. But why Uni fees whilst defence (aggression) increases?
Steve Usher, Bangor

As a computer consultant, I feel completely gutted that Gordon has taken away yet more incentives (and money!) from me in the form of the dividend taxation. Contractors work without job security, pension schemes, medical/sick pay and now we can't even be classed as businesses anymore. I'm seriously considering moving to Australia, where hard-working individuals (who are the ones generating the tax!) are actually not being hit every single budget!
Chris Benton, Redhill, UK

This is clearly a pre-election budget
Duncan, Taunton, Somerset
I share the same sentiment as Richard Lindsay. I too run a small business, but find it ever more difficult to run it without the uncertainty this government generates. We need a simpler tax system that both promotes wealth generation and is transparent to all. Imposing tax on dividends on 'close companies' (a definition plucked out of the air) just diminishes the point of going into business - to take the risk and be rewarded for it. If I succeed, I will no doubt create more jobs and therefore increase the tax take for the chancellor in the long term. This is clearly a pre-election budget. It borrows money so that it need not impose obvious tax burdens on the majority, but I am sure that I and people like me will have to pay next year.
Duncan, Taunton, Somerset

I'm delighted the chancellor closed the loopholes on small businesses. This was just a way for the self employed to avoid paying the taxes that I can't avoid. Next he needs to close (or enforce) the loopholes of paying their wives a salary. If we had less or no avoidance by some groups the tax rates for the majority can be kept down.
James, Hampshire

Well all I have got say is thank goodness I live somewhere else. I am in the process of emigrating to Australia with my family where the system is a little fairer for IT contractors. This government is forcing people to leave the country or work abroad as the only means to provide for their families. This budget again underlines the chancellor's underhand tactics to remove small businesses first with IR35 and now with not being able to talk to your accountant concerning your tax without the Inland revenue being told. This is absolutely disgraceful behaviour from a party which says they are for small business and enterprise.
Ray Sutton, Australia

The Chancellor bangs on about tax avoidance. The truth is that it is the extra complexity he has introduced into the tax system which has enabled people to avoid tax. Whilst I'm at it let me mention the arbitrary application of tax law, for example measures aimed at small businesses. What ever happened to the Lawsonian principles of tax being low, broadly based and compulsory? Lawson raised more tax with lower rates. Gordon Brown is going in the other direction. No surprise we have such a huge deficit.
Patrick Hall, UK

Finally the Government have got a grip on all those non-important civil servants that suck out all the money. The money that will be saved will be huge, and therefore public services will actually start getting better, rather than the money going to bureaucracy. People should realise that if we want to have better services, we have to start paying for them more. You pay for what you get!
Tom Bazan, Trowbridge, UK

I agree it was a boring budget, but from my point of view as a long term renter wanting to buy a house, he seemed to singularly fail to register the one major potential disaster for our economy, the bubble in house prices. The clamours for stamp duty increases are a shot in the wrong direction and I'm glad he didn't succumb, but if he thinks that simple promising to build a few more houses in the far future will sort out house prices, he is mistaken. A house price crash will be a disaster for our "personal borrowing" economy, but without it, the financial divide grows ever wider ever faster!
Christopher Cook, Wimborne, Dorset

As a non-smoking, light drinker who uses public transport, I'm happy with the budget again
Phill Adams, Leeds, UK
As a non-smoking, light drinker who uses public transport, I'm happy with the budget again. The only thing I was slightly upset to see was that Mr Brown didn't announce a special measure that he was replacing Tony.
Phill Adams, Leeds, UK

I'm glad Mr Brown isn't running my household. I'd be considering phoning a debt management company. Why can't he live within his and our means?
Roger Evans, Bristol, UK

I resent a rise in money going to defense as I did not support the war in Iraq and I don't see why I should be paying for it. They seem to be able to pull money out of thin air for defense but not for eductaion and the NHS.
Cat, Cambridge, UK

A bit of a something and nothing budget where nobody really gets anything but we all pay more.
John Farrier, Northampton, England

Yet again more stealth taxes! He may have left income tax alone, but allowances are unchanged with inflation. Just more Labour spin.
Russell Dixon, Basildon

Anybody who works hard to earn a good wage is now paying more tax than ever before
Jon S, Wirral, UK
Well Prudence, you have done it again. A little from here, a little from there. Not enough to cause a riot on the streets but the lack of adjustments in personal allowances means that anybody who works hard to earn a good wage is now paying more tax than ever before. The sooner the General Election comes the better. There must be a better way than this.
Jon S, Wirral, UK

Using the calculator I am better off by the massive sum of 85p which of course is totally swallowed up by council tax and other rises and as I work for DWP have a 1 in four chance of losing my job. Thanks for nothing, Mr Brown
Steve Entwistle, Middlewich, Cheshire

So there are going to be 30000 fewer staff at the Department for Work and Pensions. It is already impossible to get through to them by telephone as they are understaffed. With the closure of caller offices, how will they manage to offer a service with 30000 fewer staff and an aging population?
Linda Hutchinson, Wisbech, Cambs

The Chancellor has done nothing to improve the quality of life for low/middle income earners. If I could claim benefit and sit at home with my daughter, I'm sure I'd be better off than working 35 hours a week and paying 120 in nursery fees - child tax credit of 4 makes a big dent in that!
Vicki, Bolton, UK

A total waste of time - he has done nothing at all to help companies or to stimulate business. Red tape continues to drown small companies. Where are the incentives to invest in the future of UK business?
Janet Eastwood, Wirral, Merseyside

If things are going as well as he makes out - why didn't we see some tax cuts?
Steve Robson, New Milton, Hampshire

I wonder when we will have to pay for all this?
Kevin, Wallington, Surrey
What a surprise. Massive increases in spending but not much in the way of tax rises. I wonder when we will have to pay for all this? After the next election of course.
Kevin, Wallington, Surrey

It doesn't take a genius to realise that more houses need to be built, but what is low-cost housing? Is there such a thing? And will it ever exist or is this simply another promise that the government won't keep...
Carl, UK

Having just had a pay rise, and now the implications of the budget I used the BBC calculator to see how this affected me. I am actually 46p a week better off. That is until I factor in increased council tax and water charges. Then I become worse off than I was before my pay rise. Well what did I expect?
Angela, UK

I would still like to see more done for those of us who live in London who are renting, and unable to raise a deposit to buy a house, but could afford the monthly payments on a mortgage. As my husband works for London Underground we cannot move out of London, but he is not classed as a 'key worker' and therefore not eligible for this 'affordable housing' everyone keeps talking about. There's no point building affordable housing if it's still much too expensive for most people who are just starting on the property ladder.
Tracy, Northolt, Middlesex

There is nothing to benefit myself and my children in this budget. I am a lone parent, with a full time job, and yet week by week I struggle to make ends meet. The increases in council tax and rents are ridiculous. I pay the same amount of council tax as someone earning 4 times as much as me. Something has to be wrong.
Ann, London

Using the BBC budget calculator, I will be no worse off than I was yesterday. So that makes me happy. Anything extra is just a bonus.
Lee Bumstead, Farnborough, Hampshire

Company dividends now have to pay 19% tax. Surely all company owners will withdraw capital in their business before 5 April and there will be no capital in grow businesses. Do owners drawing dividends get a tax credit on their dividends?
Dawn Nellemose, Surrey

Where is the help for first time buyers to get on the property market? Surely Mr Brown could have increased the threshold you start paying stamp duty to a more realistic level compared to today's house prices!
Andrew Carr, Chorley, Lancashire

A real kick in the teeth for us small businesses
Andy Karr, Kent
Great. A real kick in the teeth for us small businesses. Is he in cloud cuckoo land when he alleged that we didn't sink money into investment - my business won't run without it! My margins are tiny, and now I have to wrestle with a leap from 0% on dividends to 19%. Now I have extra accountancy costs to deal with, lost time - AND the tax. Guess what Gordon - no vote from me next year.
Andy Karr, Kent

I would be interested to know if wealthy pensioners on fat company pensions will be entitled to the 100 council tax "help".
Adrian Boliston, Taunton

I was surprised by the relatively small increase in duty on alcohol given the highly publicised problems associated with binge drinking. A higher tax cost would surely have some impact on reducing the costs of policing and enable the more efficient use of NHS resources.
Paul, Sutton Coldfield

Civil service departments are to make cost savings of 5% by 2008. Most commercial organisations and many education establishments have had to make far bigger savings in a single year. It is a laughable target and shows how out of touch the gGovernment is with the real world.
Oliver Courtney, Bampton, Devon

Can't believe he's frozen stamp duty! We've just paid 59,000 for a two bed back to back in a not-so-brilliant part of Leeds. We couldn't afford to go over 60,000, but you have to pay that to live anywhere decent, or buy a family-sized home. Absolute waste of time.
Carolyne Meadmore, Leeds, England

If Mr Brown wants to gain control of house prices surely increasing tax on rental income would help? It would discourage the rich from buying up all the property to rent out and falsely inflating property prices. This should then reduce house prices and allow more people to buy their own property.
Dave, Sheffield, UK

I am sure that my 70 year old father who is currently spending 3 weeks in Malta will be delighted with the extra 100 he is to be given. Why are these extra payments not means tested when all children's tax credits and working tax credits are?
Debbie, Newcastle

A positive budget
Laura, Sheffield
I think this can be seen as a positive budget and congratulate Mr Brown on increasing expenditure in vital areas such as health and education.
Laura, Sheffield

Nothing done to encourage venture capitalists and banks to increase their support for start ups and small high technology companies. The lack of the availability of equity capital is the biggest problem the UK has in terms of being able to compete globally.
Dick W, Insch, Scotland

Isn't it ironic how the government is putting more money into education yet at the same time taking it away by introducing top-up fees.
Mukesh, Wolverhampton

I'm very suspicious. The content of the budget speech must be the most boring in years. Gordon appeared to have almost nothing to say. However, we have got into a routine where the bad news is "hidden" in the finance bill. When that comes out, I expect we'll see tax thresholds and allowances frozen or moved by less than inflation, bringing yet more of us into the higher rate tax band. Also, beware some "minor" change to the new "additional" NI rate - it wasn't until the finance bill came out before that we realised it was 1% of all income.
Ian, UK

Well what did we all expect? As per usual me and my family are worse off. It seems that no matter how hard you work in this country, this government is always round the corner ready to take it off you.
Carl Evans, Llandudno, Wales

Stamp duty thresholds have gone up in line with house prices. With the annual increase in house prices already greater than the equivalent increase in my income, I could have done with some help on this front.
Sameer, London

All this does is punish people earning a little above average
Fletcher, Poole, UK
Disappointed. Yet again the threshold for the top rate of tax has remained at the same unfair level. All this does is punish people earning a little above average, while the fat cats' accountants enable them to pay less than the very worst off.
Fletcher, Poole, UK

Another moderate budget from the man that can do no wrong. I'm a little concerned at the level of borrowing, but if the economy continues to grow as Mr Brown predicts we'll be fine. Next year I'd like to see a little more done to curb house inflation, which I believe is the biggest problem this country now faces.
Laurence Archer, Kingston, Surrey

Well, what has he actually done here to help the average taxpayer? The only thing that really applies to me is the INCREASE on tobacco. What a surprise. When is the next election?
Chris, Oxford

Great!! Just started a small business - Gordon has just taken 2500 out of my wallet!!
Gary Blackman, Market Harborough

Typical budget. Take without giving and STILL not increasing personal tax allowances!
Brian Tull, Blackburn, England

Oh look, another 10% for the NHS. Does this mean the ranks of management will be swelling by 10% or will the money go towards improving services?
Sarah, Northumberland

Missed opportunities and more waste of our taxes.
John, UK

Freezing of stamp duty will mean more and more people paying a whopping 4% on very moderate houses. This is a huge stealth tax.
Jon Cooper, UK


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