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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 April, 2005, 15:22 GMT 16:22 UK
Are the chancellor's plans affordable?
Gordon Brown delivers his budget speech in the House of Commons
Gordon Brown has insisted that his spending plans are "affordable" despite opposition claims he would have to raise taxes if Labour wins the next election.

In Wednesday's Budget, the chancellor doubled the level at which homebuyers pay stamp duty, unveiled a rise in child tax credit as well as a 200 council tax refund for over-65s.

The Tories claim that Mr Brown faces a 'black hole' in public finances and the Lib Dems say that the council tax rebate is merely a one-off payment.

However, in an interview with BBC Radio 4's Today programme, the chancellor insisted he would "take no risks with the stability of the economy".

Are the chancellor's proposals affordable? Or will he have to raise taxes? What does the Budget mean for you? Send us your comments.

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments

Gareth Watkins from Baker Tilly answered your questions and discussed the reaction to Budget 2005 on BBC News 24


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we received:

Why penalise married people with children who want to return to work? By giving 2000 to single parents it will encourage more illegitimate, undisciplined children into society.
Linda Patmios, London

This does nothing to address the failure of the centralised tax and spend government billions have been spent with little effect. Time for a change
G Hall, Newcastle

Thanks very much for nothing Gordon
John Ashley, Teddington, Middlesex
Thanks very much for nothing Gordon. When are the middle income population to see a return on all the extra tax they have paid?
John Ashley, Teddington, Middlesex

Mr. Brown has helped me with council tax, my single parent daughter with her child and house buying. It is on top of winter fuel and pension credit. I am happy.
Shafiq A Khan, Doncaster

Precisely why should single parents be given a 2,000 return to work bonus? Why should they be given an incentive to choose a lifestyle that will simply make many more stressed?
Tim Cooper, Sheffield

Good for families, I like the tax breaks. Families, in particular working families need all the help they can get. I am astounded by comments from people complaining that they as individuals are treated less favourably than those with children. When will these people realise that the children are the next generation of taxpayers that will be feeding the selfish individuals in their nursing homes after they have had an easy 'child free' life.
Andrew, Loughborough

My partner and I would be better off if neither of us worked and had 12 kids
Jo, Romford, Essex
It makes absolutely no difference to me. I still cannot afford to buy a house in Essex. My partner and I would be better off if neither of us worked and had 12 kids.
Jo, Romford, Essex

Well, according the BBC's tax calculator, me and my husband are 10p a week better off. Wooohoooo, have to remember not to spend it all at once, Thanks Gordon!
Pennie Forthem, Uckfield, East Sussex

Labour should be encouraging companies to invest and remain in the UK. There are countless companies in the UK that are moving their operations to Eastern Europe - mainly because we are part of this retched Euro-party, and partly because Labour are more interested in attracting the voting masses - which are usually claiming benefits. Tut tut Mr Brown, there won't be many workers left soon!
James Murphy, Dorset

This government is riding on the back of the tough and unpopular economic decisions made by the Tories, which started the current economic upturn. Labour jumped on the bandwagon and are now just "fine tuning" this. By all means tax, but let's see more money invested to buy back the railways, form an integrated transport system, and stop the gridlock on the roads.
Phil W, UK

The issue is not are these plans affordable. The main issue is why are we continuing to pump money into public services that do not improve in proportion to the spending. There is too much mismanagement within our services, especially the NHS, that need to be resolved before we continue to throw money at the problems.
Graeme McGregor, Aberdeen

The usual Brown con - when examined showing that it takes more than it gives. He did not say that the 200 Council tax refund (at 61 I will not get it) would be from central public funds. Does this mean that local authorities have to pay back with the inevitable cut in local services?
Peggy Reeves, Christchurch

This budget is like all Labour budgets - tax those who earn and hand out to those who don't. After a Labour election win, just watch taxes rise, by fair means or foul - open or stealth. Fuel tax is 300%, he might well generously freeze it - for now.
Rod Theobald, Rochdale, UK

Give Labour credit for doing it better than anyone before
Dave Deacon, Liverpool, England
Greed rules here - want, want, want... He cannot please you all. But we have the best consistent economic climate for generations and you still moan. Put the Tories in and watch the recessions begin - again... Of course the Budget will have an eye to the forthcoming election. What Chancellor would not? Thing is, we have a sound economy with very low inflation. Enjoy it. Give Labour credit for doing it better than anyone before.
Dave Deacon, Liverpool, England

If this chancellor really was fiscally prudent as he so often claims he would publish full accounts like the major companies do so we could all see how well he is spending our money! If he did this instead of giving with one hand and taking back twice as much as soon as we turn our backs people might trust him. This budget does nothing for the accountability or transparency of government. Ask yourself would you buy a used car from this chancellor?
Adam, Boston, USA

This chancellor has raised extra revenue mostly by stealth and his attack on With Profits Policies in this budget is yet another example. He started off the disastrous fall in Company Pension Funds by abolishing the tax refunds to them on dividends several years ago. It is not just the stock market fall which caused these short falls. Gordon Brown was the person who started off the whole situation. Amazingly no one seems to hold him to account for it!
Ken, Beccles, Suffolk

Beware of this chancellor! It's not what he says in the budget speech, but rather what he doesn't say, as the relevant extra fine detail is all but hidden in the small print of the budget document for publication at a later date.
David, UK

This is a well tried chancellor who has kept this country stable for over nine years. I lost my house in the last Conservative government; have people forgotten the interest rate hikes then? I wish I had the same chance then as people have now, at least they are not watching rates going up by 1,2,and 3per cent!
Sean Cronin, Crewe

When will Gordon realise this cursory rise in stamp duty is out of date before it even comes into force
Paul, Poole
As a first time buyer in the south I have just spent 140k. You can't buy much for less than this. When will Gordon realise this cursory rise in stamp duty is out of date before it even comes into force! A vote winner that will not win many votes.
Paul, Poole

Personally, I'm ecstatic about the budget - I'm just about to buy a house that falls under the 120k threshold, so I no longer have to find the 1000+ that I was going to struggle to pay. It's certainly made house buying much more accessible for my partner and I.
RB, Warwick

I don't see how raising the stamp duty limit will make homes more affordable. Surely the 1000 or so saved will only encourage buyers to bid higher thus absorbing any saving. The only people who will benefit will be the sellers who will gain an extra 1000 on their sales price.
Daniel Meadowcroft, Stockport, England

As a hard working single person of 47 on a low income trying to keep a roof over my head, the Budget has done nothing for me. Maybe I should have another child. Then when he/she leaves school it will be time for me to collect my pension. That seems the only way I shall benefit from this budget.
Dale, Nottingham

Why are the comments so negative? Gordon Brown's economic policy has given people more jobs with a higher wage; funded drastic health and education improvements; and has made Britain a strong economic force again. It seems to me that the phrase 'we've never had it so good' is very appropriate!
Tony, Sheffield

Freezing indirect taxes again is just a gimmick to get votes
Nigel, Sussex, England
Who is Gordon Brown trying to kid? This Budget has little to do with the general economy, but everything to do with the general election and a third Labour term in office. It is all very well helping pensioners with their council tax bills, but what about working families on low incomes. Freezing indirect taxes again is just a gimmick to get votes. Watch what happens to them if they win, God help us.
Nigel, Sussex, England

Again only pensioners with little or no savings are being helped by pension credit. Those of us who worked and saved for our retirement lose out. If I had my life again I would be a dosser!
Mrs G Wilson, Blackburn, England

Is it any wonder people of my age (26) don't vote? There was absolutely nothing in that budget that would help struggling students - its always elderly people that get the assistance which as much as I don't begrudge it, there are other members of society too.
Nina, West Wales

Good for pensioners but no change for me. Stamp Duty change is of no significance in Hertfordshire!
Adrian Mansell, St. Albans UK

Mr Brown has abandoned hope of impressing the working voter
Andy, Cannock, UK
It looks like Mr Brown has abandoned hope of impressing the working voter, disillusioned with the Labour Government, and is targeting the sizeable pensioner population. Sadly, it might just work. As for the 120k marker for stamp duty, how on Earth does this deter the buy-to-let vultures who buy "cheap" houses sub 120k and therefore again crushing the hopes of the first-time buyer?
Andy, Cannock, UK

The Chancellor is the best thing, perhaps the only good thing about this Government. Over 12 years of growth and dwindling unemployment is testament to the quality of Mr Brown's judgement. Unfortunately supporting the US in Iraq by massaging intelligence, and threatening to move Mr. Brown after the election leaves very little to recommend New Labour in the election. Well done Gordon, I wish your colleagues had as much vision!
Tony Franks, Bangor, Wales

Oh yes, the pension crisis affecting all of us workers, whether we have children or not. Of course Mr Brown would prefer us not to remember the 4bn tax income per year he swiped from pensions in his very first budget. The first of very many tax hikes we have had to bear during the last two terms from these expert spin doctors.
Steve, Croydon, England

We should all see it for what it really is, a pre-election bribe
Adam Lawler, London, UK
We should all see it for what it really is - a pre-election bribe aimed at diverting attention from the choices this government has made by taking this country to war. If we all remember this, we should be able to see that this bribe was not thought through, and that we will all eventually pay for it out of our pockets.
Adam Lawler, London, UK

This is a bold budget and one that, for primary schools, has been long overdue. At last a Government has set its sights on the future - its legacy - on not on the day to day.
Anthony David, London

Mr Brown obviously doesn't think much to his fellow countrymen. He is blatantly offering a quick fix solution, which can easily be changed should Labour win the next election. Oh and thank you Mr Brown for saving me 1000 on Stamp Duty but how am I to actually afford a house of that price anyhow?
James, Cardiff, Wales

Inheritance tax makes me feel sick. Why is it that a person who has worked and paid income tax all their life then has to have that money stolen by the government when they die? This is so disgusting that I can't believe the government get away with it.
Jonathan Yong, Glasgow, Scotland

Why do I have to subsidize people with no family and financial planning?
TG, Uxbridge, UK
I am on a very good salary at 55K a year because I work hard and studied hard in the past. What is my reward? Paying 16750 in direct taxation and more on indirect. That is my reward from Gordon Brown. Why do I have to give 49% of my earning on direct and indirect taxes? What do I get back? Why do I have to subsidize people with no family and financial planning?
TG, Uxbridge, UK

Mr Brown has listened to the pensioners on the issue of Council Tax but he has not listened to the overall need to raise the basic pension to 105 per week on a permanent basis. He is quite willing to give 17 year olds 75 to stay in education but does he realise this is what the pensioners have to live on permanently. If he can give this away then he can afford to raise the pensions to a decent liveable income. I think the pensioners would have welcomed this much more instead of a one off payment of 200 towards their Council Tax bill.
Linda Banks, Stoke on Trent Staffordshire

What about students? Bring back the grant I say. Many students go on to get good jobs after they have graduated, and the money is put back into the country through income tax anyway. I also object to the extra support given to families. My partner and I do not intend to have children, and also both work very hard. Where do we benefit? All we do is pay for everyone else!
Gemma, Cheltenham

The OAPs get the rebates because they are expected to vote
Alan, Worcester
To all these people complaining that there is nothing in the budget for them, I would urge them to vote. Why should the parties make people under 30 better off when they believe that they don't vote? The OAPs get the rebates because they are expected to vote. You can vote and moan but you can't moan if you don't vote.
Alan, Worcester

How can Gordon Brown promise free bus travel when, since the de-regulation of buses, the Government has no control/involvement in running and charging for them. Or is this just another way of getting public money into the coffers of the Government's favourite private companies. Just like with the railways. Oops, they are the same companies in most cases, aren't they????
Steve Tymms, Welwyn Garden City, UK

He's done it again. Given with one hand and clawed twice as much back with the other. You have to hand it to Gordon Brown. He certainly knows how to pick a pocket or two. How long are the British public going to put up with it? Probably for another term at least, because most are so easily fooled.
Allen Hanley, Stoke, UK

He is going to save money by moving 7800 civil service jobs out of London. Would these 7800 be part of the 100,000+ that have been artificially created by Labour bureaucracy, and that are costing the taxpayer millions of pounds and increasing the already huge shortfall in the future pension budget?
Teena, England

After listening to GB talk after the budget it made me sick to hear the phrase 'hard working families' at least 6 times. Not one mention of the 'hard working single people' who are also helping the economy but get nothing in the budget for them.
Peter Ward, Wallsend

How is it that council tax and winter fuel concessions for pensioners do not kick in until the age of 65?
John and Pat, Haverfordwest
Women statistically earn less and retire on smaller pensions than men. How is it that council tax and the winter fuel concessions for pensioners does not kick in until the age of 65? This will adversely affect retired women in the 60-65 age bracket especially those on their own? Isn't this discrimination?
John and Pat, Haverfordwest

Once more, former British residents of the UK now living in Commonwealth countries are stuck with pensions that have never been increased since they retired - e.g. I retired 19 years ago, so my pension remains at the 1986 level. If I lived in the US or any number of other foreign countries, my pension would rise the way increases are made to UK pensioners!
John Murray, Seabright, Canada

Affordable maybe, but headline-grabbing and therefore blatant electioneering, certainly. Luckily, the "grey vote" he seems to have aimed one measure at consists of people who have seen all this before and are probably the least easily-fooled part of the electorate.
David Hazel, Fareham, UK

Has anyone else detected regional discrimination in the raising of the stamp duty threshold? Surely this favours people in the North of England, and does nothing for anyone looking to get on the ladder who lives in the South East.
Anthony Green, Bracknell

How much of our money has the government wasted (and continues to waste) on our illegal war in Iraq? The NHS hospital where I work is 7million overspent and facing savage cut backs, which will affect patient care. We would have more than enough to spend if Mr Blair wasn't spending it on his military adventures with George Bush.
Barry, Bedford

The tax breaks that Brown offered are not here to stay
Will Harris, London
The biggest issue for me is that the budget has been funded by bringing forward the tax receipts from oil, but this can only have a one-off effect. This surely confirms that the tax breaks that Brown offered are not here to stay but are one-off election pledges and that further tax rises will be needed.
Will Harris, London

Surely the people of this country are not daft enough to think we're not going to be taxed even more after the election to pay for all this.
James, UK

Who cares about budgets any more? There are now so many different ways in which tax is levied in this country that it is impossible to see the link between working hard and gaining the reward. I hate the whole tax system and all its complexities.
Alistair Laing, Inverbervie

The usual Brown style of bombarding the layman with quickly delivered and incomprehensible statistics, whilst furthering his own political aims, and disguising the hidden costs behind his package of measures.
Richard Thorpe, Banbury, Oxon

There won't be any economy except that run by media studies and psychology graduates!
John, St Andrews
Education and the knowledge economy? Applications to study computing at UK universities are in free-fall and departmental closures will not be far behind. We've lost Engineering, Science, Modern Languages and now Computing. There won't be any economy except that run by media studies and psychology graduates!
John, St Andrews

I have a pension and I work. I think the pension should not count towards my personal tax allowance, I have already earned that. I do not want a bus pass as I don't have a bus I can use. How about a petrol voucher? I have bad hips and have to use my car.
Jane Parkins, High Wycombe, Bucks

Could someone explain what use is free buses when our village does not have a bus service or any other type of public transport?
Jo, Hampshire

Yet again, there is absolutely nothing here for the single person. As for the extra benefits for the aged - shouldn't this be means-tested? There are pensioners out there who already don't know what to do with their heating allowance and are financing holidays with it or lavishing gifts on grandchildren.
Gwen, Anglesey, Wales

Buy-to-let people edging first time buyers out of the market yet again
Helen Bulled, Exeter, Devon
I think that doubling the stamp duty threshold is only going to lead to a short term speculative boost for houses priced under 120,000. Buy-to-let people edging first time buyers out of the market yet again. This when we were just beginning to hope for a decent reduction in house prices. What a stupid, narrow-minded policy that will probably lead to a short term rise in house prices in some areas.
Helen Bulled, Exeter, Devon

What use is free bus travel to those who rely on a metro rail system or underground? Do those on council tax benefit and not paying council tax get the 200 as well? Lots of devil in the detail taking the gloss off the headlines.
Rob Kerss, Wallsend, England

I am a married with 3 children all in full time education. I work full time and my earnings are only 11,500 per year as my husband looks after the children so I would like to know exactly how much we are going to have and to have the tax credits explained more clearly. But I am slightly pleased that he has helped the pensioners, though he could have done more.
Jan, Leeds, West Yorkshire

To be or not to be a pensioner... I am a woman of 61 years of age and therefore entitled to a state old age pension and a free bus pass (in my part of the country the buses are few and far between). But I am not a pensioner when it comes to a 200 reduction on the poll tax!
Brenda Black, Cumbria, England

We have seen nothing but increase and increase
Ted Theis, Chapel-en-le-Frith
The chancellor has ignored the voters aged between 55 and 65 yet again. We have seen nothing but increase and increase since this government has been in power. We have had our married allowance removed, we have had our mortgage allowance removed, we have had increased fuel charges... We have had increases in taxes by increased NI contributions, we have had increases in council tax bills. It's time this government looked after all the people, not just young families.
Ted Theis, Chapel-en-le-Frith

Stamp duty at 120,000 means it makes sense for a family to buy two homes next door to each other to live in rather than just one. Seriously, yet another budget whereby working (married) people without families subsidise other people's children.
Michael Lever, Ledbury, Herefordshire

Young people in the south of the country are struggling more than anywhere else in Britain to get onto the property ladder. How does raising the threshold to 120,000 help them?
Lynne Johnson, Wimbledon, England

To be honest, I don't think it's going to affect me at all. I don't some, I don't drink much, I'm not a pensioner and I don't have a young family. Inheritance tax planning is all in place and I have no intention of moving home. So, for me, a non-event. It most certainly will not influence my vote at the coming election.
Terry, Epsom, Surrey, England

I am a full time carer, having ceased paid employment in order to care for my wife who is blind, wheelchair-bound and incontinent. We live on her disability allowances, my carers' allowance and income support, which is reduced in response to every raise in her allowances. I see nothing in this budget that either compensates for our enforced collapse of life hopes or provides for any dignity or self- worth.
Chris Lund, Coventry, West Midlands

A budget to try to turn the minds of the northern families, those who have been abandoning Labour. There is nothing in this at all for those of us who work hard in the south, or indeed anywhere else where house prices dictate the extra hours worked.
Ian, Epsom, Surrey

My husband and I have 2 jobs each in order to enjoy the kind of lifestyle my taxes supplement for the people on Benefits. The only thing we have to look forward to is higher rates of tax after the election. I think those claiming benefits should do community work. They should earn their money like the rest of us.
Tracy, Barnsley, South Yorkshire

They take more, more, more and never give anything back
Nick, Brighton
They will smash us with the council tax re-evaluation due to the false high house prices they engineered. They have helped themselves to billions of people's pensions and we having nothing to show for all our tax we already pay. They take more, more, more and never give anything back. Not in currency and not in effort. What a scandalous group of people.
Nick, Brighton

Don't people have short memories? Other than one small blip this government has done more for Senior Citizens than the Tories ever did. Not just this year but each year they have been in office. This is in no way a one off bribe for the Senior Citizens - think about winter fuel, free TV licences and all the other items now available. My parents were worried when Labour first gained power, but they see the benefits of a caring government and are pleased with what has been provided for them. If the Tories got back in these benefits would be swept aside and all they would get would be a state pension increased, yes, but the sum total would be less than they now get under Labour. Well done Mr Brown keep up the good work.
Nigel Greensitt, Salford, UK

Gordon Brown has had an impeccable record as Chancellor of Exchequer, whether it is lowering the level of poverty in Britain, or in increasing public expenditure. Although people are claiming that the budget "has done nothing for them", does it not reflect Labour's previous successful changes and shows that the party are not electioneering but are catering towards the stability of the country?
Alasdair, London

I would have really liked to see some incentive to save introduced
Justin Rowles, Southampton, UK
My problem is that I can't see any reason in this budget for anyone to save. Bearing in mind the tax on pension dividends since 1997 (which is really going to bite in thirty years' time) I would have really liked to see some incentive to save introduced, but no, just the same old means testing idiocy that means saving for a rainy day is money wasted. Brown is betting the farm - our farm - on the next ten years.
Justin Rowles, Southampton, UK

All these people whining that they can't buy a house in the South East for 120,000. No-one is forcing you to live down there, and the only reason house prices in the area are so high is that you're collectively stupid enough to pay them.
Jen, Manchester, UK

Never mind the pensioners - what about measures to help young people get a foothold on the housing market?
Ann Tomlinson, Ashford, Middlesex

We cannot all expect giveaways but if Labour listened to the Tories on waste and bureaucracy there could be vast savings and with better services (hospitals, schools and police). As for "cutting debt in poor countries," this is not the answer as many are run by corrupt officials and politicians. Give interest holidays and assistance with agriculture, storage and distribution. Give medical aid and help with education, but not money. Actually do the building for them, but with British companies.
Michael, Plymouth, UK

Stamp duty isn't keeping me out of the housing market - prices are
Nick, Nottingham, UK
Surely increasing the stamp duty threshold will increase property speculation, thus raising house prices still further? Stamp duty isn't keeping me out of the housing market - prices are.
Nick, Nottingham, UK

After the stealth taxes applied by this government you would think they would have plenty of money with which to buy votes, but it seems that this budget has offered very little by way of compensation for what has been taken away in the first place.
Lee Tomkins, Somerset, England

As a renter in London, it is brilliant to see Gordon help me so much. I can't wait to find a nice little flat for less that 120k and avoid the stamp duty!
Martin, London

My wife and I work equally hard, if not harder, than the low income families, that Gordon Brown likes to trumpet, in order to attain a comfortable standard of living. People like us get nothing now and it will be us that will have to pay after the election when the deficits pile up. It sickens me that the government is now resorting to paying people to go out to work. Why not just stop benefits and force people back to work?
Dan Brown, Rainham, Kent

The Southeast will continue to support the other regions
Greg, London, UK
As usual, the Southeast will continue to support the other regions without any relief or consideration. I'm a first time buyer and my stamp duty bill is 9300. On a planet with 6 billion people, why is the government so intent encouraging population growth and, furthermore, why do I have to pay for it?
Greg, London, UK

What a bunch of self-interested whingers you all are. I am sick of people saying "well there's nothing in it for me". He has to raise funds by whatever means he deems to be equitable in order to meet public expenditure. If the electorate want lower taxes they can vote for a party that promises it, but they will have to accept cuts in public services that will inevitably accompany them
Clive Andrews, Worcester, UK

Many disabled people are again ignored in the budget. They are charged over and above council tax for services for amounts well in excess of inflation rates - but their benefits only rise in relation to inflation
Laurence Walsh, Sheffield, UK

How can it be that further education students can expect to receive up to 75 per week when university students get a loan of around 4000, out of which they must pay for their accommodation (approx. 75/week), food, and for many students their 1150 fees?
Jon, Essex

A budget that will get the working class people voting for a third Labour term and will appeal to the young to start the housing market up and will enable families to have a better lifestyle. Pensioners will be really pleased and with Petrol taxes being frozen he will help the voters to turn to Labour as the Government of the people
Devaney, Leeds

A 200 rebate on council tax is nothing when the council tax will probably increase by that much anyway
Rob, Droitwich Spa
Michael Howard hits the nail on the head. Brown has always been a "how to get money out of the public quietly" type of chancellor. Labour have finally lost it. Pensions should have gone up in line with inflation. A 200 rebate on council tax is nothing when the council tax will probably increase by that much anyway. Does he think we are stupid?
Rob, Droitwich Spa

So, no recognition of the fact that the flat rate stamp duty is one of the unfairest taxes of all time. Raising the 1% limit to 120,000 is canny - it barely reduces the income coming into the Treasury. However it doesn't help anyone living in the South East or London, unless they want to live in a garage. Many of the so called "hard working families" living the in south east are looking at 250k plus for a simple 2 or 3 bed - why is this still at the 3% rate?
Phil Knox, London, UK

The highest tax burden in 25 years and Brown still oozes self-adoration! This government will keep increasing taxes and wasting it. That is their philosophy - their only problem is that they think they spend it wisely.
John Lloyd, Anglesea, Wales

I'm 27, single and own my own house. I work hard and run my own small business in my spare time. And what do I get out of this budget? Nothing! I'm sorely tempted to quit work entirely and start claiming benefits. I might actually be able to save a bit then!
Iain Hicken, Swindon, UK

There's nothing in the budget to encourage green initiatives
Ken Walton, Lancaster, UK
Brown is banging on to the G8 about the need to make the environment integral to the economy, and yet there's nothing in the budget to encourage green initiatives and discourage the polluters. Labour seems very keen to talk about the environment, but reluctant to actually do anything about it.
Ken Walton, Lancaster, UK

So Brown is raising income tax allowances in line with "inflation". Is this going to be the real rate of inflation as expressed by the old retail price index or his new inflation rate that excludes housing costs. If it's the latter, then we are looking at yet another tax increase.
Paul Cossey, London

With duty on fags and booze going even higher I'm considering leaving my job in investment banking and becoming a smuggler instead. It just got even more lucrative.
Jonny, England

The pension payments in this country are the lowest in Europe - it is about time everyone had a reasonable increase. I could not afford to pay a full stamp and so received a pension of 2 a week! Also the tax level should be raised so an average person doing overtime, for example, should not have to be hit by 40% tax. It is a struggle to live in this Country - I am in the process, like so many others, of moving out of this country to spend my retirement abroad.
Maureen O'Brien, London England

That the old and the less well off are targeted is to be welcomed
Bob Richardson, Welwyn
Yes, it is an election winning budget and I am so glad its not the sort of pre-election massive giveaway that some Chancellors have imprudently bribed the electorate with in the past. That the old and the less well off are targeted is to be welcomed. A strong economy and a strong Chancellor. Keep up the good work!
Bob Richardson, Welwyn

I'd like to know where in the South east you can buy a house for under 120k! I just feel this Budget is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode taxes skyward in 2006/7.
Tom, Gillingham

Brown's done it again! A budget that makes sense. It is not perfect but accusation of 'vote buying' will not stick.
Beruk Berhane, Eastbourne

Mr Brown had not given pensioners 200 rebate he has only given it to households with 2 over-65s. The budget only helps non-savers
Mr A Mellish, Retford England

Already it starts; ME, ME, ME! "It (the budget) did nothing for me, it was unfair to me, I paid my stamp I should get more." Politics is about managing scarce resources and this chancellor has been better than most at this balancing act.
Richard, Camden

All he has done is move the goalposts
Simon, London
Why can't the stamp duty tax be linked to average house prices? Mr Brown has again failed to confront the problem of houses just over the stamp duty limit... all he has done is move the goalposts.
Simon, London

A 75 per week bribe to go to school after the age of 16, followed by 4,000 per year that you have to pay to go to university. Mind you, it keeps the unemployment figures down.
Adrian Mugridge, Chester, UK

I'm not directly affected by the Budget itself as I am a carer for my grandparents, but doing a quick calculation I reckon that my grandparents will be 4 a week better off (due entirely to the council tax refund) which as I read as a one off payment.
Harry Hayfield, Ffos-y-ffin, Wales

I am a single person on a wage of 15000. What will this budget do for me? Nothing. As usual. I can't afford a house on my income so stamp duty doesn't bother me and I've got no kids. The only thing that changes is it's now slightly more expensive for me to go the pub on a Friday night. Thanks a lot Gordon!
Victor, Manchester

Why raise personal allowance on income tax then take it away on tax restrictions?
Henry R. Davies, Dudley, West Midlands

Can someone please explain how Gordon Brown gets inflation at 1.6% when utility bills have risen on average by 20% and council tax on average at 5%?
Sally Wood, Princes Risborough, Bucks

How can it be right that a young person who decides to stay on at school after the age of 16 will receive 75 per week 'pocket money', which is more than the amount of old age pension for a single person, who has paid NHI contributions all their life?
Dudley Holley, UK

A cynically election-focussed budget
Steve Brereton, York, UK
A cynically election-focussed budget. I am amused that there seems a blatant attempt to buy off the over-65s with substantial fuel and council tax relief. Whoever told the Chancellor that raising the stamp duty threshold to 120k was a good thing hasn't checked the market recently. If there is anywhere left that has any substantial housing stock that is under that price, I'd love to know.
Steve Brereton, York, UK

Concerning the proposed Council Tax refund of 200 for pensioner households. Will this only apply if both pensioners are 65 or over? That is what I believe the Chancellor was saying, but I'm not clear. If so, why must both pensioners be over 65. What if one pensioner is over 65 and the other between 60 and 65, why would the 'younger' pensioner be excluded?
Annie Woodgate, Christchurch, Dorset

By failing to increase the higher threshold for stamp duty, Gordon Brown is demonstrating his continuing tendency to introduce stealth taxes by fiscal drag. The recent year-on-year double-digit increases in house prices means that many family homes worth 250k and over will attract a tax that was originally intended for the rich.
Paul, Sheffield, UK

Why again is there the comment about hard working families? My Husband and I have grown up children, and cannot claim tax credit of any kind, as my wage is just over 20,000 gross. He also works for the National Minimum Wage, is put on short time working in winter with no recompense, and has had no rise for 4 years over and above National Minimum increases. This Government's policies has seen the value of my income drop drastically due to above inflation increases in everyday expenses like Council Tax/Electricity/Insurances etc.
Carol Macmillan, Fort William

I would have thought that the Chancellor would like to make some lasting changes in what may be his last budge
Eleanor Crane, London
I would have thought that the Chancellor would like to make some lasting changes in what may be his last budget. Inheritance Tax is an unjust tax and should be scrapped immediately. Raising the threshold to 300,000 makes little or no difference. Gordon Brown had the opportunity to make a real difference this time and he missed it again!
Eleanor Crane, London

The news on stamp duty is excellent, I've just saved 1100. I'm not sure why people aren't happy with the current economy. Do they remember high unemployment and a 15% interest rate?
Stephen Daly, London, UK

How I object to the term "hard working families" It excludes "hard working individuals".
Craig Whittaker, Stratford on Avon, England

Considering the government is so worried about alcohol abuse, it would have been a better idea to increase the taxes on booze - 1p on a pint is hardly going to make people think twice about how much they spend on beer every week now is it?
Gary, UK

You get nothing off this Chancellor without paying for it somewhere else
Mark A, Manchester
My girlfriend and I decided to take the plunge and plough our savings into buying our first home last summer for 85k. Believe me, the stamp duty really hurt us - nearly 1k to Gordon Brown for having the audacity to buy our own house. So is the raising of the threshold an admission that it is a completely unfair tax - particularly for first time buyers? Can I get a refund for what I shelled out to Mr Brown? Don't count on it - you get nothing off this Chancellor without paying for it somewhere else. I just hope the electorate can see this, because the next budget is going to hit us hard if Labour is still running the show.
Mark A, Manchester

Thanks Gordon. As a first time buyer I will continue to wait until the widely predicted 20%+ fall in house prices occurs so I can take advantage of your oh-so-generous change in stamp duty.
Tim, Canterbury

With regard to pensioners, once again the Government has penalised savers. We are encouraged to save and provide private pensions for our retirement, but when we do we are denied a decent pension, the additional benefits only being available to those who could not, or chose not to save.
W R Simpson, Edinburgh, Scotland

His budget will do absolutely nothing for people without kids
Phil, Newcastle, UK
As usual it's family this and child that. This budget will do absolutely nothing for people without kids, I'm frankly sick of being ignored just because I have no interest in children.
Phil, Newcastle, UK

Before everybody moans that this budget doesn't go far enough, think about how better this is for the majority of people after this budget compared to the previous budgets. As long as the predictions for growth stay firm, it looks like a good next economic cycle!
Ashley Smith, London

I am 57, married, self-employed, and disabled with epilepsy. Gordon Brown has down nothing for me, or my generation.
Barry Hayden, Croydon, Surrey

So income tax allowances only go up by inflation again - another disguised income tax increase.
Colin Shepherd, Farnham Surrey

There is nothing in it for me. I haven't started a family yet. The Stamp duty threshold increase really annoys me because I have recently moved house and therefore I had to pay, whereas I could have missed it now. The house price problem is not new and because of this attempted bribery he has lost my vote. This threshold should have raised years ago.
Alan Fradley, Worcester

OAP's and first-time buyers will not protect the streets of England. Where is the extra budget for more police recruitment?
Eamon, Manchester

Doubling the stamp duty threshold is a bold move
Jon Bowman, Frimley
Doubling the stamp duty threshold is a bold move from Gordon Brown and fantastic for me as a 1st time buyer. However, it still reeks of pre-election promises and I still won't be voting labour!!
Jon Bowman, Frimley

As a first time buyer who has just had a 116,000 offer accepted last week, I'm just a little bit chuffed with the news that the stamp duty threshold has been raised! Now to work out where to spend the 1k saved!!!
Tim, Norwich

Is 1p on a pint of beer and 4p on a bottle of wine really going to pay for all this??? We had better get drinking!
Clifford, Biggleswade, Beds

Raising the stamp duty to 120,000 does not even have an impact on the majority of the South of England. Increasing it in line with inflation year on year from when it was first introduced is the only fair way to deal with Stamp Duty.
James Perrett, Bath

Things really aren't as good as Brown says
David Ball, Wokingham, UK
There you have it. Nothing of consequence for the ripped-off tax payer. Did you see all the stealth taxes he's frozen? Air passenger tax, insurance premium tax, climate change levy, aggregates levy and company car levy. If the economy was as good as he has claimed and tax revenues so high, he could have lowered income tax. So things really aren't as good as Brown says.
David Ball, Wokingham, UK

I've never understood why Stamp Duty was charged at a flat rate. For example around the 250k band a difference of 1 in the purchase price means 5000 difference in Stamp Duty. Why doesn't Gordon just put it on the same basis as income tax, i.e. 0% for the first 120k, 1% for the next 130k etc.? Tax doesn't have to be taxing Mr Brown! I blame all those special advisors who've never lived outside of Westminster or student politics!
David Maddock, Hagley, UK

The Budget has been a complete waste of time: we'll end up paying more and more taxes as the government wastes more and more on bureaucracy. What makes anyone think things will suddenly change? It is about time we had a new government
OH, Maldon, England

Cutting stamp duty will not help first time buyers
Stephen Hucker, Cheltenham
I believe cutting stamp duty will not help first time buyers, but may only help the seller by stimulating the market. The only way to help first time buyers is to lower the cost of housing. I think Mr Brown, wishes to look like he is helping first time buyers, without upsetting home owners. As someone looking to buy my first flat, this will not help me, and may make it harder.
Stephen Hucker, Cheltenham

Not everyone is concerned with how the Budget affects them directly - some of us can look at the wider picture. I think that the changes to the stamp duty threshold will make a big difference, particularly in Scotland and the north.
Caitlin, Glasgow, Scotland

Why is the South East excluded from the stamp duty benefit? 120,000 isn't realistic for anyone in my position.
Sophie, Surrey

Selling off our national assets and giving the money to children, has he gone mad?
Tom, Norwich

It's hard to knock his provision for the elderly and for school-aged children. However, for those of us that are not old yet, it would have been far more reassuring to see something to address the overwhelming pensions crisis facing UK employees and employers alike.
Andy , Leeds





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