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Thursday, 23 March, 2000, 09:17 GMT
Budget 2000: How was it for you?

Hospitals, schools and small businesses have been targeted by Gordon Brown's budget. But it has been attacked by the Conservatives who accuse Labour of rising taxes by 'stealth'.

We want to hear your views on his plans. How will this year's budget affect your pocket? Has the chancellor left anything out? Do you think it's fair?

Send us your views on Budget 2000. HAVE YOUR SAY

Great to see 25 pence on a packet of cigarettes - with the money earmarked for the NHS. We should tax social 'bads' to help fund social 'goods', and increase hypothecation of taxation.
Paul Richards, UK



Until this Government stops making the black economy look so attractive, how can the real one ever tempt me?

John Grassick, UK
Like Gordon Brown, I'm 100% behind Prudence and tight fiscal policy. That's why, as long term unemployed, I'm better off staying in bed. Saving 100% on interview/work clothes. Saving 100% on stamps & Stationery. Saving 100% on travel costs. Saving 100% on rent/rates. Saving 100% on prescriptions. And £100 worth of "Grant" will never persuade me otherwise. Until this Government stops making the black economy look so attractive, how can the real one ever tempt me?
John Grassick, UK

The commitment of the Government to 'Education, education, education' has not been delivered so far as University students from England are concerned. Whilst it is laudable to eradicate child poverty, it is invidious to continue to keep students poor, and Universities starved of funds. We must invest in further education.
Keith Punshon, UK

To Bob Perry, stop being so paranoid And ignorant. The increased stamp duty is not a tax on the English, as homeowners in the NE and NW (especially) of England will tell you. It is an attempt to stop the SE of England overheating yet again and dragging the rest of us down.
Julie, UK

It's nice to live in a country where we are wealthy enough to use the latest computer technology to complain about how hard up we are, isn't it?
Luke Yates, UK



The British Public cannot expect to have a decent health service and good education for their children without having to pay for it.

Lynda Wallace, Scotland
The British Public cannot expect to have a decent health service and good education for their children without having to pay for it. A good budget and who cares about the tax? People on low incomes pay very little tax anyway and it seems to me that people who complain about more tax under Labour are the ones who can afford to pay it
Lynda Wallace, Scotland

Like many other people I will be worse off after this budget although I consider myself to be part of a 'hardworking family'. I don't mind paying more to support those in society who are poorer or to improve the NHS but I dislike the dishonesty of a chancellor who is clearer taxing many families and individuals more to achieve this but is afraid to admit it.
Mark Slattery, England



How can anyone complain at having to put their hand in their pocket for their own flesh and blood?

Fiona, UK
As a single, childless female, with no mortgage/car, who doesn't smoke/drink, this budget hasn't been too bad for me personally. I was, however, rather surprised to see separated/divorced parents on here complaining about the married allowance going (but you're not married are you!) And about the loss of the tax breaks on paying for their responsibilities. Particularly with the latter, they really should have thought of that before walking out on and/or neglecting their marriages. How can anyone complain at having to put their hand in their pocket for their own flesh and blood?
Fiona, UK

Personally I'm really glad to see a big injection of cash into the NHS. It'll go some way towards making ordinary people's lives a bit better, rather than bribing the already wealthy middle-Englanders with tax cuts. I notice people complaining that they don't have children, so why should they subsidise other people's. In reality well cared for, well educated and healthy children are a bonus to society as a whole, not just their parents, so consider the money an investment in a better society, rather than a loss to your personal wealth - you'd only spend it on stupid things anyway.
Johnny, Ireland

This is a blatant PR budget. The chancellor knows that he has to make the Labour party look like a responsible, financially competent administration. He has used the greatly increased tax income to accumulate a surplus, and is now able to do his Santa Claus act, giving an extra 2 billion to invest in the NHS. This money was only there to play with because of the Conservative's frugal policies in the early 90's which made them so unpopular.
Alex S, London, UK



The problem with New Labour has been their reluctance to really invest in the public services they're supposed to stand for.

Rob, London, UK
The problem with New Labour has been their reluctance to really invest in the public services they're supposed to stand for. At least with the Tories you knew they stood for low taxes and self-sufficiency; New Labour has managed to increase the tax burden without any discernible improvement in public services. As a Londoner, I enjoy a collapsing public transport system, few state schools I'd dare put my kids near, and months of waiting for any kind of service from a struggling NHS. Yet I seem to paying more in taxes. Come on New Labour; either lower taxes and let us look after ourselves, or increase tax revenues and put real effort into improving our public services - the middle way just doesn't work.
Rob, London, UK

A brilliant budget with targeted money going towards one of Britain's best asset - the NHS.
Peter Horah, UK

Smoking is becoming the largest expense in many households. No one knew of the health risks of smoking until the 1960's or 70's. Many people who smoke are pensioners, and they can not give up after smoking all of their lives. It would be a more acceptable tax if at least they were excluded from it. Also couldn't some of the tax revenue from tobacco be used to help people quit, such as making some aids available on prescription? But this won't happen because the government is not serious about stopping people smoking. They enjoy too much tax revenue from it.
Brian, UK

The Labour Party could have reduced taxes in its own self-interest; it didn't. This will allow us to invest more in our health service and the education system, both of which will create jobs and improve standards of living. The budget has reduced business capital gains tax, which will attract companies, and also create jobs. With a better-educated, healthier workforce and greater employment opportunities the United Kingdom's economy should continue to grow soundly and strongly.
Neil W, United Kingdom

The number of people responding to this question in terms of "me, me, me" is absolutely appalling. I am a middle-class IT professional and can categorically state that I have not been better off or more secure for many, many years. Do these people not realise that hospitals and schools need to be paid for?
J Cahill, UK

Just another Brown budget - dozens of insignificant changes, but overall we end up paying more tax. As someone who lives in a rural village and has no choice but to use their car, my current estimate is that 60% of my salary goes on tax. And yet I earn well below the national average. Nice to see Labour are creating a fair society...
Ian, Scotland

I have never seem such petty, small minded, money grabbing, misanthropy masquerading as something more noble. You can't have it all, but a lot of people seem only to be interested in "me me me". Don't these people remember the boom & bust years? Stop whining, try seeing the bigger picture and try thinking of others too.
Paul Steven, Scotland



Another budget with the same old stuff. When will a Chancellor bite the bullet and simplify the ridiculously complicated tax system.

PCH, Netherlands
Another budget with the same old stuff. When will a Chancellor bite the bullet and simplify the ridiculously complicated tax system. Take a look at New Zealand - one rate of VAT on EVERYTHING (simple, hard to avoid, no complication as to what rate to apply to what product), and simplified tax scales with next to no deduction. Simplifying the tax system, while significantly dropping the rates will result in a higher tax take, but more evenly spread - most people will end up paying less, but big corporations, and wealthy individuals would find themselves actually having to pay tax for the first time in their lives. Compliance costs would fall, benefiting all. As for the petrol price, well.....
PCH, Netherlands

What a shame that the Chancellor has decided only to include cars below 1200cc in the cheaper road fund licence policy. What about diesel-engine cars which, although having (for instance) 2-litre engines, use less fuel than your average 1000cc petrol-engine car?
Dave, UK

Why has no one spotted that Income tax relief on child maintenance payments has been withdrawn from April 1st? This will cost me over £37 per month in extra tax. It was not announced in this budget, and I don't remember it being announced in the last budget, but it's on my tax coding. Due to this tax hungry government, I now have to pay in total over £60 a month extra in tax, not to mention council tax.
Steve Hutton, Lancashire, UK



This government does not really give a damn about the poor or the nearly impoverished, it's the goodies for small-time business which gives the game away. Labour my foot!

David Jenkins, England
Am I one of the many who feel that this budget has left me, NHS excepted, worse off than before? I earn less than the national average, pay a mortgage, am married and (by choice) have no children. Therefore I stand to lose out in just about every way. Isn't it about time that those on an 'average' or above wage who choose to have children should not expect the rest of us to foot the bill? I would rather such resources went to the elderly. After all, one can opt to have children but there is no choice in the matter of getting old! And how about student tuition fees? Actually the catch is in the provision for small business: this government does not really give a damn about the poor or the nearly impoverished, it's the goodies for small-time business which gives the game away. Labour my foot!
David Jenkins, England

Amazing! Yet again help for single parents (and I'm not knocking them, my daughter is one), and pensioners but what about the disabled? My disability is made worse by the cold yet I get no help with heating costs, I need my car or I would be housebound, I enjoy smoking (25p up) and watching TV (where's my free licence?) I don't drink so the increase in duty there doesn't affect me, but I wonder why there is rarely an increase in duty on spirits? Could it have something to do with what MPs drink?
Karen Richards, Wales

My husband and myself are senior citizens and the increase in pensions of 75p plus an extra £1 on the winter fuel allowance will not pay the Labour run Wirral Council's increase of 5 and a half % increase in the rates this, of course, has a knock on effect and the water rates will probably increase too. We are already paying higher rates than most throughout the country.
Beryl Wood, UK



It seems that most PC owners here seem to be very selfish and greedy Tories.

Andy B, UK
Rather than moaning about how he hasn't given pots of money to all the selfish people, why not try to see some of the good that he's doing. It seems that most PC owners here seem to be very selfish and greedy Tories.
Andy B, UK

A 2p per litre rise in the price of petrol was hardly needed when it's already gone up by about 4 or 5 pence per litre in the last few weeks, so that will have had any effect he desired in cutting carbon dioxide emissions, why can't he leave the motorist alone, like he promised in November!
Paul Hickman, England

This budget does nothing for my family. Disabled after 20 years service in the Civil Service and with a disabled husband, the abolishment of the married couples allowance and no increases in benefits other than the rise in inflation means my young family, despite having a background of working hard for my living will be approximately £40 per month worse off due to my tax allowance being cut from 252 to 50!
Joycelyne Hamilton, England



You either have to be very poor or rich to benefit what about the millions of us who are just keeping our heads above water - through hard work.

Liz, England
Again - families like mine are suffering. My husband works, we have a mortgage, 2 cars, three kids and have never claimed any benefits, not because we don't need them but because I try to work from home to make ends meet and to save on child care which again I do not qualify. You either have to be very poor or rich to benefit what about the millions of us who are just keeping our heads above water - through hard work.
Liz, England

I have to say that I am not impressed at all with Gordon Brown's 2p raise in tax on petrol. When is this ridiculous farce going to stop. The price of petrol in this country is absolutely outrageous, I wouldn't mind so much if the roads which we were provided with were in a good condition but I myself ride a motorcycle and also drive a car.

When is the government going to admit that the tax on petrol is nothing to do with the environment and trying to get people onto public transport because if all the people that they want to stop using their cars (apparently) did stop and use public transport the government would lose a fortune.
Stephen Nicol, Scotland.

The budget is excellent. But it doesn't provide for the graduate unemployment and redistribution of wealth by taxing the rich for the poor.
Ajewole.

The capital gains tax changes are pointless so far as investor/managers in fast moving start-ups are concerned. A 15% investment can easily get diluted below 5% in a couple of years, thus disqualifying it as a business investment, even the person remains a founder employee.
Alan Barker, UK



Would a strong economy, better NHS, better schools, small firm growth and technological advances, not benefit us all, especially those in work?

Andrew, UK
I am amazed how many people here are complaining about "us working people have to pay for all this". Would a strong economy, better NHS, better schools, small firm growth and technological advances, not benefit us all, especially those in work? It would have been nice to see some investment in (public) transport infrastructure as well. APD tax could have been made more fair, i.e. a variable tax. Unfortunately this does not help deter the loss of 'bootleg' taxes. Still, as long as we don't ever return to the Tory boom and bust cycle, I don't mind paying.
Andrew, UK

I am a married person, no children and a doctor - I have seen the Conservative government crucify the NHS, spending huge quantities on unnecessary management pyramids. I welcome the fact that people like myself who earn more are paying a bit more to keep the NHS going in times of expanding technology and high patient expectations. Nice to see a budget that benefits everyone by increasing spending without increasing debt.
Lesley Marler, England

Speaking as a pensioner I think the Chancellor has done almost nothing for pensioners. For instance it would have cost so little to have made tax concessions on Dividends and Savings Interest which would have not only have helped existing pensioners but have given encouragement for older workers to make better provisions for retirement. The extra "Christmas Box" of £l per week smacks as an afterthought and another "Insult" on top of the 75p per week extra pension. I think he could have at least returned the basis for future pension to Incomes rather than Cost of living index, thus reversing one of the mistakes of the previous administration. Another Budget large on window dressing and small on benefits.
Peter Fox, UK



I am glad to see that we are not the only couple choosing not to have children who are fed up with being forced to pay for other peoples

Gerard, England
Helen Williams how right you are!! I am glad to see that we are not the only couple choosing not to have children who are fed up with being forced to pay for other peoples'. When are couples going to realise that if you want children, fine. BUT pay for them yourselves!!!
Gerard, England

Gordon Brown has apparently put money into crime prevention. Does this include serious funding for the statutory Community Safety Partnerships or must they continue to operate on the grossly inadequate amounts from existing Council and Agency budgets?
Colin Goodhind, UK

I cannot believe that fuel prices have been increased. The UK prices are already the highest in Europe. This is going to cripple the poor, people who live in rural areas and small businesses. He has said it is in line with inflation but its easy to forget that in the last two years of this government prices fuel prices have already risen by about 15%.
David Marshall, England

Last IT person leaving the country. Turn the lights out.
Phill, England



I think the way the NHS is going it is advisable for us all to consider private health cove

Louise Thelwall, England
I think no matter what Gordon Brown promises for the NHS there will never be enough injection of cash!!! I complained relentlessly last year about my husband paying tax on private health cover for the family, which is part of his work package. I wanted him to give the private plan up because he is taxed so heavily on it.

I am so glad I came to my senses and agreed to keep the private plan, I think the way the NHS is going it is advisable for us all to consider private health cover. The NHS is in a critical state.
Louise Thelwall, England



When will something serious be done to encourage people like us to use public transport?

Ian Weller
As a married couple with no intention of ever having children, yet having a dual income, it seems like this large section of the population has not been given any consideration. As for Green issues, my wife and I live in a village, public transport to our work place would cost over £16 a day because high fares charged by privatised rail companies. Whereas we can use our car for £3 (fuel costs). When will something serious be done to encourage people like us to use public transport?
Ian Weller

Could the Chancellor really be embarrassed to announce a tax cut on tampons? If the cut is for tampons only, then it is not acceptable. Tax cuts should be on ALL sanitary products, not just on tampons, which cannot be used by all females. In fact, I don't think these products should be taxed at all. Whilst this may seem a small matter in the bigger picture, it nonetheless affect the majority of females for a large percentage of their lives. I have a feeling that if men had to use these products on a monthly basis, there would be no tax on them at all!
Jenny Matthews

However, increasing the allowances is all very well if one is receiving enough to use them. An increase now in the basic pension would have been more helpful. Our local community charge is set to rise by about £1.50 per week for the coming year, which makes the 75p pension increase look sick. Even the £150 heating allowance although useful won't arrive until next winter. Sorry Mr Brown, your speech sounded like so much waffle. John R Watson (Pensioner), Eastbourne

I think we should wait for the small print to be published before we start praising or condemning this budget overall - after all it was in the post-budget proposals that IR35 came to light last year so there could yet be some unpleasant surprises, even though on the face of it, it looks to be a fairly safe, balanced sort of budget.
Caroline, UK

As a higher education student, I still see no support for those experiencing financial difficulties whilst studying. I am sure I am not alone when saying that I estimate a personal debt of estimating around £10,000 before I start work.
Neil Bird, Southampton

I am concerned by the Chiseller's maths. How can a 2p rise on petrol @80pence per litre be a "rise equal to inflation", and 1p rise on a £1.50 pint of beer also be a "rise equal to inflation"?
Chris Dames, Kings Lynn

Great to have £50 extra winter fuel allowance a year for pensioners. What a pity that its all swallowed up by increase in council tax of £48 a year (over 8% in my area)!
Pat Marsden

At a time when water rates in the Highlands and Islands are set to rise in the coming year by 40%, it is insulting for Gordon Brown to pretend we are better off after this budget.
Douglas Yule, Scotland

Few people on the poverty line have the means to send in their views. Even though I am a long-term unemployed person - I do have the means, thanks to my mother having bought me a PC to compensate for the deficiencies of statutory provision regarding training in computing. Not nearly enough is done for people with disabilities as far as New Deal is concerned, and the 'Information Revolution' has major implications for the gap between rich and poor. The tax incentives about buying computers are "for businesses," not for learners.
Alan Raymond Wheatley, BA Interdisciplinary Studies (Sociology) Mature, Disabled Graduate

It seems William Hague got it right when he likened Mr Brown to a "mugger" who expects the public to be grateful for having their money taken away from them. It's just more of the same, no thanks.
Dan Peters, Shropshire

The subject of transport seems to have been brushed under the carpet. It's all very well fuel duty "only" going up by the rate of inflation, but the damage has been done in the past two decades. On top of that, there is still no improvement in public transport, which is still unreliable and more expensive than even ONE person taking their car. Where is the incentive to catch the train or bus?
Simon Clark, England

Once again the married couple without children have been hit. Because we chose not to have children, why should we suffer and pay for everyone else's children. It's not fair and I don't think it is right.
Helen Williams, UK

Why is beer duty being raised again - what ever happened to EU harmonisation?
Chris Warwick

Airport Passenger Duty abolished for travel between the Scottish Islands and the Mainland. Good, but I wonder what the residents of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands will think of that.
A. Towler, UK



Typical useless budget from an urban-loving, rural-hating government.

Robin Elford, United Kingdom
Typical useless budget from a urban-loving, rural-hating government. Petrol prices will hit the areas that have the worst public transport - if they have any at all. No doubt his champagne-swilling Islington luvvies will enjoy the budget, but we live in hope that this is the final nail in the coffin of this bunch of con-artists.
Robin Elford, United Kingdom

A brilliant budget - a Labour budget, and a budget for long term sustainable investment in the. William Hague's response was the style, though not the skill, of a sixth form debating society. they are out of touch with the countries priorities. As for Hague saying the Tories always found the money for NHS and Education investment, why did they then describe present spending plans as reckless, and why did Mr Portillo ask for so many tax cuts for the top 5% of earners? The Tory Party are clearly out of tune with the needs and the priorities of the country.
Russell Kennedy, England

Gordon Brown could have removed VAT from the price of new cycles to get people 'on their bikes' and promote a cleaner environment...he could have...
Maz, UK

Once again this is a budget for the parents. Will Gordon Brown ever think of the people who are just starting up in life? Huge student debt leads to an inability to afford to run a car or be able to unwind with a social life. I'm glad there is more money in education and health but what about those people who were educated in the "bad old days" and who now are trying to make a living.
M.Penny, UK

I am particularly concerned at the relaxation of Work Permits for IT staff. Currently Asian IT professionals earn c.£2,000pa, so how many of the tens of thousands of UK residents are going to see their families devastated as a result of an influx of what will inevitably become slave labour? Just who are Labour looking after? Not the UK obviously.
Paul McElhone, UK

On listening to the budget I would like to know where all the money poured into the health service is going. We as a nation are supposed to be getting healthier so why are they always screaming for more money. And when are men in this country going to get equality in the 60/65 pension age?
MCP



I am sure the disabled would enjoy watching TV free too!

Jan Morgan, Cardiff
Are we to believe that there are no drink-related illnesses? I mention this because the smokers again get hit but not the drinkers?! Are there no disabled people in the country now?! Or is it that the Government doesn't give a damn about their future votes? I am sure the disabled would enjoy watching TV free too! Would like help with extra heating!
Jan Morgan, Cardiff

As a couple who are to marry in December we find the chancellor's definition of "family" as only those who have had a child a little puzzling, somewhat offensive and a convenient way of framing a tax increase in seemingly generous rhetoric.
Craig King & Molly Burnett

I agree with Rob Stringer. I am a young, single, hard working and law abiding man on a modest budget. I own a car and like a couple of pints at the weekend. What have I done to deserve these increases?
Andy MacDonald, UK

No tax for flights from the Scottish islands. What about flights from Northern Ireland?
John Carlisle, UK



Why does the chancellor not raise the tax threshold above which tax begins to be paid?

Gareth Sutcliffe, UK
Having watched the chancellor's budget this afternoon, I continue to be concerned at the government's continuing strategy of reducing the headline basic rate of income tax. While this is laudable as it gives people greater control over their own expenditure, why does the chancellor not raise the tax threshold above which tax begins to be paid?
This would have a greater effect for those at the bottom of the income scale and presumably increase the incentive work, if the benefit scheme was arranged around this aim. It would also still give a considerable tax break to all other income brackets.
The chancellor appears to have concentrated on the corporate sector in his fiscal announcements this year, but this is little excuse for an ill-thought out attempt at buying votes.
Gareth Sutcliffe, UK

Apparently nothing here for those of us who have saved all our working lives to keep ourselves in our old age! Expletive-deleted!
DC Breeze, UK

I am 53 married with a disabled wife. I earn 13500 a year, my children have grown up. I have a mortgage, what has this government done for me?
Deryck Hampshire, UK



More people, myself included, will be giving their money for smuggled cigarettes...

Julie Wacker, UK
My point is simple, and regarding one of my vices - cigarettes! I have read a lot over the last few months regarding the lost £2.5 billion revenue from cigarette taxes due to bootlegging. Why then another increase in cigarette prices? Does this not just encourage people to buy smuggled cigarettes?
Surely if the price was actually reduced, British people will buy British taxed cigarettes... Therefore increasing tax revenue. With the solution being to increase prices, more people, myself included, will be giving their money for smuggled cigarettes... Next year's 'lost' revenue can only increase, and only be blamed on illogical policies....
Julie Wacker, UK

Why not additionally fund the NHS with Lottery money like it is done in Spain, and also Lottery money towards education.
Gisela Cooper

I would like to know what exactly do the government hope to achieve by putting up the price of 20 cigarettes by 25 pence? Do they hope to discourage people from smoking??? I think it is absolutely diabolical that the government continues to put up the price of cigarettes when the tax we pay on them anyway pays a lot towards out armed forces and such like.
Dave Finney, Leicester



I will never vote for New Labour again!

Alec Collie
This is a budget that has benefited pensioners, single parents and business. Who has to pay for this? The normal working person as usual! I will never vote for New Labour again!
The extra £2billion for the health service is nonsense - you need to get proper people in there running the thing, rather than throwing money at it - look at Rover!
Alec Collie

What about couples who are unable to have children? My husband and I have even tried A.I.D. and having been "passed" to adopt, lost our home so we couldn't get a council house (no children) to be able to then adopt! I will never vote for a government who ignores the hurt to those who CANNOT have children!
Joyce Graham



When will this Labour Government stop beating the motorist with a big stick?

Margaret Simon, Crewe and Nantwich Borough Councillor
When will this Labour Government stop beating the motorist with a big stick? There is just no point in penalising the motorist until there is an acceptable public transport infrastructure in place, which everyone would feel comfortable in using.
In view of the current situation with Rover in the Midlands, the Chancellor should be going out of his way to encourage people to buy and drive new British cars. If thousands of people become unemployed in this Industry it will cost him dearly in the long run.
Margaret Simon, Crewe and Nantwich Borough Councillor

The price of petrol rises yet again! When are we going to make stand against the government? When the Jamaican government increased the price of petrol they had a riot on their hands.
Dr. S, Edinburgh

We had to retire from our jobs due to a car accident 10 years ago. We have no children. What do we gain from the removal of the married persons tax allowance and the removal of MIRAS? We are not of pensionable age.
P Worley, UK

I am 29 years old and have been Medically Retired on ill health. I receive £130 per month pension. I also live off Incapacity Benefit and Disability Living Allowance for Mobility. I am a smoker and drive. What is in this budget to HELP ME !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Amanda, UK

Coming from the North East of England but now living in London I am appalled that yet again the working person is hit. Public transport in London is a joke with conditions that would have animal rights activists throwing themselves in front of the train if I was a sheep. When will this government look out of it's windows and see the reality of London:- £130,000 for a two bedroom flat, overcrowding on dirty, late trains and tubes. This budget does nothing to help those that have created the surplus in the first place.... A total waste showing no imagination at all.
Paul Martin , UK

"Taking these measures together, by April next year one million pensioners will be, compared with 1997, £20 a week, £1,000 a year better off," said Mr Brown. Since 1997 .. by end of next year? That's £5/week per year of government. Please let me never grow old under a Labour government.
Dave Keene, England



I personally will stay abroad with cheaper fuel, cheaper beer, wine and fags

Mark Lisle , Germany
With IR 35 around all the expertise for e-commerce will be abroad because Mr Brown will want his pound of flesh from all us computer contractors. I personally will stay abroad with cheaper fuel, cheaper beer , wine and fags.
Mark Lisle , Germany

I am separated and have a small child, I have just finished retraining at University and just got married. I pay maintenance, a career development loan before I start to live. I now loose my marriage allowance and tax relief on my maintenance payments. A budget for everybody is it?
John Helliwell, Hertfordshire, England

Whilst I can applaud tax breaks for working people this budget once again keeps the reigns tight on anyone who dares to work hard for better life. It seems strange to keep penalising motorists, motorists are the majority. Labour are starting to get over confident with their intrusive controlling ways, people rebel against that - or at least they should! I would like to see the IR35 given more attention. It's anti-enterprise and unfair on British people.
Geoff Jones, Berkshire

The BBC budget simulator leaves me better off. Not sure how, but I wouldn't mind being a little worse off if the money went to those who need it. People who are moaning about MIRAS should remember that it's been whittled away for years and is hardly worth having, especially when some people can't even afford to heat the homes they have! As for the Married Couples' Allowance, good riddance! Not applicable to singletons, widows and widowers, gay couples or to single parents (who are especially in need!).

The tax system should not be used to reinforce the relationships guidelines: leave that to Blunkett. An excellent Budget for anyone with less than average income: as I sometimes work with low income groups, this is well overdue and should be applauded by all rational people - even those with big mortgages!
Steve, UK



A brilliant budget - a Labour budget, and a budget for long term sustainable investment in the future

Russell Kennedy, England
A brilliant budget - a Labour budget, and a budget for long term sustainable investment in the future. William Hague's response was the style, though not the skill, of a sixth form debating society. They are out of touch with the countries priorities.

As for Hague saying the Tories always found the money for NHS and Education investment, why did they then describe present spending plans as reckless, and why did Mr. Portillo ask for so many tax cuts for the top 5% of earners? The Tory Party are clearly out of tune with the needs and the priorities of the country.
Russell Kennedy, England

If you want good services, you have to pay for them. So stop complaining. Yes, people will have to pay a little more so that Billions can go into improving the NHS and the schools. Remember that we need more nurses and teachers. Remember that we need good public transport. Remember we need a welfare system that makes work pay. And when you remember all these things, you realise that this budget will not give money away in tax cuts, but make real the Labour promises to improve our public services.
Riad Mannan, London, UK

Having just paid the full amount of car tax for my 1109cc vehicle, should I cash in the disc and get a new one at the cheaper rate?
Matt, England I am very disappointed that so little value is placed on marriage, and the mums who stay home to look after their children. We lose out every time.
S O'Sullivan, UK

Do you agree, as I do, that raising the price of tobacco by 25 pence per packet, thus pricing 20 cigarettes at more than £4, the chancellor is encouraging the illegal import of tobacco from our cheaper European neighbours?
Andrew Wynn, North West

The devil is in the detail. Lots of promises of jam tomorrow, but somehow, under this Chancellor tomorrow never comes! Whilst more funding for the NHS and Education is to be welcomed there do appear to be lots of string attached i.e. conditions imposed by Central Government, will have to be met.
Barrie Roberts, Yardley, Birmingham

I wonder when the Treasury is going to have the guts to even suggest an increase in direct income tax in order to pay for the services we all want and have come to expect? It would be more honest than the ever-increasing indirect taxation (fuel duty, 17.5% VAT) we are asked to pay. Not to mention the loss of MIRAS and other tax credits. These all hit the less well off most.
Kirsty McCallum, Sutherland, Scotland

Once again a Budget to pander the needs to single mums living off benefits, who will be laughing all the way to the bank... Whilst people who try to make a go of their career and improve the education by studying part-time are punished with the end of MIRAS and Married couples allowance. Once again, no commitment towards the environment with no incentives towards travelling by public transport.
Valerie, Didcot, OXON

Ring fenced tobacco taxes for the NHS - does that mean they'll get less money when more people smuggle because the taxes are so high?
John Stanton, UK

I'm off to France to buy some cigarettes, 200 for £16!
Ace, England

Well - I have never bought a property in the vain hope that I could save a significant deposit first. As soon as I get close, stamp duty goes up again. I live in London, so I and my family are going to have to pay £10,000 in tax just to buy a house for us to live in. Fine if you've seen your existing property double in value over 3 years like those who already bought (with much lower stamp duty). Gordon: exclude first time buyers from this exorbitant tax!
Tony, London, UK

There have been two or three references in your programme to the relatively short duration of the Chancellor's speech: do these comments take account of his breakneck rate of delivery, devoid not only of intonation but also of pauses to allow his words and their import to sink in?
Mike Joseph, Ashford, Middlesex



As a working married couple with two kids, two cars and a social life we yet again get nothing out of this budget

Chris & Nicole Arnold, England
Oh well...another year and no change. As a working married couple with two kids, two cars and a social life we yet again get nothing out of this budget. And as an IT consultant trying to help this country into the E-commerce/Internet age - I'm about to be taxed out of work by the IR35 changes due to come into effect 4 April 2000. I applaud William Hague for his attempts to get this issue raised today, but hear that both Gordon B and Tony B had their collective backs turned and no doubt ears closed.
Chris & Nicole Arnold, England

Once again more money has been given to children. Parents tend to stay at home whereas people like myself tend to eat frequently in restaurants and drink in pubs, both of which are good for the local economy, and thus inevitably have far higher expenditure. Perhaps the chancellor should direct benefits to unmarried child-free people.
Ilya, UK

Gordon Brown must assume that we're all completely stupid. "No real-terms rise in petrol duty" ... yet it is the increase in petrol prices that helps to set the level of inflation. Result, petrol goes up at twice the retail price index. Motorists, drinkers and workers punished again. Nothing ever changes for the better.
Des Howlett, Reading, England

I am saddened by Gordon Brown's presentation of the budget today. Yet again, there are numerous re-announcements of already publicised and planned changes. The Chancellor has manipulated the data to penalise most of us; yet again. Having voted for Labour for some years I really will have to review my loyalties.
Martin Bailey Woodville Derbyshire

It appears that as a graduate working in the public sector I am no better off. My mortgage is increasing constantly but my pay rise does not match these increases. Just as well I don't have a car! However I do have lots of student debt to pay off. Thankfully I finished my degree in time to avoid tuition fees. I doubt if I would have been any worse off under the Tories.
Sharon, Glasgow, Scotland

I sympathise with Mr. Stringer, having similar tastes and possessions, but would like to point out not to stress the part about being single. If he were married as I am, he'd have lost even more in the next tax year (about 200 pounds) due to the abolition of the marriage allowance.
Stephen Hillier, UK



As I thought, the Chancellor's Budget is simply another give with one hand and take massively with the other situation

Ruby Goode, England
As I thought, the Chancellor's Budget is simply another give with one hand and take massively with the other situation. He claims tax is falling but look at the increases. Fuel, booze, stamp duty and cigarettes aside, I am a new mum claiming child benefit. But this benefit goes up only from April next year to £15.50 a week. By then everything else will have soared as well (because the tax increases always seem to take effect immediately), and this so-called benefit will not actually benefit me or anyone else at all. I will vote for William Hague in the next election because at least he can explain the real meaning of the Budget for us all, and seems to have a sense of humour with it, unlike Mr. Brown.
Ruby Goode, England

Good budget. The only moaning minnies, as usual, are those who don't want to contribute to the nation. Delighted for pensioners; increased fuel duty offset by lower VED as a small car owner. Don't mind paying more for some things if it helps those who do not earn, for whatever reason.
S Thomas, Coventry, UK



Very impressed! Give Brown a chance and he'll have more of us better off and less of us worse off which is surely the main objective of socialism

Robert Coulthard, UK
Very impressed! This government has taken a lot of stick for not being 'socialist' enough. Intervention and services take money. If Gordon Brown can (as he seems to be well on the way to doing) work a Clintonesque economic miracle then I believe we can expect some real benefits during Labour's next term of office. I'm not expecting Clinton's five trillion surplus, but twelve billion a year's going to add up. Give Brown a chance and he'll have more of us better off and less of us worse off which is surely the main objective of socialism.
Robert Coulthard, UK

Everything great, unless you are trying to start a business from scratch, in which case IR35 will cripple you. The blind socialists cannot grasp basic economic realities. Oh well, at least we know that they shall be out shortly!
Phil, UK

I now reside across the pond in Colorado. However I lived for 20 years in Cardiff Wales. Why is it that every year that the tax man tightens his hands around the throats of the general population. Britain is getting so expensive I can't believe people put with it. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The class system will never changed because its impossible to get out of the hole the government put you in at birth. How can a gallon of gas cost 3 pounds and in the states a pound? If people knew what the rest of the world was paying to live I'm sure half the country would leave.
Sean, USA



At last, a government who has the decency to put a reasonable amount of money into Health and Education

Ted O'Neill, Reigate Surrey, UK
Well Done Gordon ! At last, a government who has the decency to put a reasonable amount of money into Health and Education. The Health Service is desperately in need of this money, and Gordon Brown has given it a secure future, and guaranteed income over the next few years. And thank goodness, our schools now have more of the money they need to buy books and give our children the support they need.
Ted O'Neill, Reigate Surrey, UK


As for pensioners, of which I am one, I continue to be completely disgusted.

S. Sharpe, Norwich
I note, without surprise, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer made no mention of Defence spending. Our Services are over-stretched to the extent of shortly falling apart. The prime responsibility of any government is the defence of the people.
As for pensioners, of which I am one, I continue to be completely disgusted. For those of us who have contributed to our country for the best part of our lives, we receive virtually nothing.
S. Sharpe, Norwich

It is all very well for Gordon Brown to talk about the New Deal for Adults. However, I have been attempting to force my local Job Centre to help me find work. However, not only do they claim there are few real jobs, but also that they do not even have the resources in terms of available staff to telephone me in respect of looking for jobs on my behalf that I have not noticed.
Mark Underwood, UK



Typical Labour to punish the grafter who wants to better him/her self!

Steve Thorne, England
Yet another stinker! For those of us without kids, who are working hard (I'm just about to be made redundant!) and trying to better ourselves, life just gets more difficult in this country. Perhaps we are being encouraged to emigrate and so make room for the ever-increasing number of asylum seekers flooding here.
It seems to me that the less you have contributed to the country's coffers over the years, the more you get handed out to you. Typical Labour to punish the grafter who wants to better him/her self!
Steve Thorne, England

To Rob Stringer: you, like myself, are "punished" because we are the least needy. Should the poor, ill, elderly or disabled suffer to make your life better? I think the budget was excellent.
WGS, UK



The chancellor has given incentives to families with children.

Edward MacInnes, UK
Once again it is interesting to note that the NHS only has nurses, obviously the doctors working over 70 hrs a week do not count. It is also interesting to note that there are no incentives for working families. The chancellor has given incentives to families with children, but those who work and do not have children, are still families they have no additional incentives.
Maybe an incentive to keep the population to a manageable level, or more for looking after the ageing population and have families look after their own children would have been a fairer budget for some in the country.
Edward MacInnes, UK What a hypocrite, talk about e-commerce, but with IR35 we all go bust on April 6th so are not around to benefit from these stupid schemes.
Mark Rush, Great Britain


The NHS doesn't need more money it needs less patients.

Robert Fisher, UK
As usual billions more for the NHS to swallow up. The NHS doesn't need more money it needs less patients. Why to we continue to penalise the less fortunate whilst pandering to those who can afford to look after themselves.
Robert Fisher, UK

Just what has the budget done to help a young single man on a modest income who runs a car? I will be worse off.
Andy MacDonald



It's about time people thought more about the real needs of the country and not just about themselves.

Ian, Liverpool
I'm a single, non smoker, car driver who seems not to have gained with this budget. I earn £35,000 a years as an IT worker, but this must be the first year for along time that something good has been done in a budget. I'm happy that people who are less well off are getting something out of this budget-low earning families, pensioners, national health service, education and of course the small businesses who contribute a great deal towards our economy.
It's about time people thought more about the real needs of the country and not just about themselves. Hopefully Labour have proved they haven't forgotten about their grass roots-the less well off.
Ian, Liverpool

This Budget still forces pensioners to make ends meet on a 75p pension increase this year.
Age Concern, England

The ever increasing tax burden on goods such as cigarettes and alcohol is actually decreasing Revenue. When oh when is the government going to realise that the ever increasing tax burden on goods such as Cigarettes and Alcohol is actually decreasing revenue as more and more items are being brought in form overseas, thus encouraging criminal activities e.g.
2 ounces of British tobacco about £8 here
the same brought in from France about £3 What an encouragement to smuggle. It is hard bargain to say no to.
John Williamson, UK

Yet another increase in the 'spite' tax. We should all take note of the fact that rather few people in Scotland will bear the extra 2% stamp duty imposed on house sales above £250,000. This is, almost exclusively, a tax on the English, by a Scotsman.
Bob Perry, UK



I am disgusted that fuel prices are going up again when they are already the highest in Europe, possibly the world!

Daniel, London, England
I am disgusted that fuel prices are going up again when they are already the highest in Europe, possibly the world! It is killing the person who relies on the car to get around. If he wanted to raise fuel he should at least get the transport working first!!!!!
Daniel, London, England

The Chancellor indicated an increase in the heating allowance to £150.00 for each pensioner. Previously this was per household, not per pensioner. Is this still the case?
Mike Clifford

Good to see the ISA limit retained at £7k.
Iain Laskey, UK

Why did BBC1 not allow the Leader of the Opposition to be given a full hearing and complete his speech. Anyone who has watched the Chancellor's speech does not need your presenter to repeat the whole thing, to the detriment of allowing Mr Hague a full hearing.
S A Watson, UK

How can the BBC you headline Gordon Brown's announcements about e-commerce for small businesses? Yet at the same time, thousands of small businesses that could benefit from these changes will be prevented from doing so because of IR35 - my business is being forced to close. Yet you don't mention this, I just don't understand why there is such a void of publicity in the media surrounding this issue. Even in his budget he says how he is going to make it easier for overseas IT experts to obtain work permits - this IS connected to IR35 forcing UK IT experts to desert the country, can you not see that?
Andrew Russel, UK

As someone who has just taken on a big new mortgage, the ending of MIRAS and the ending of the Married Couples allowance (both from last year) couple with NO reduction in the basic rate of tax, is going to leave me and my family in real trouble.
Another Rob, UK



A great budget. The chancellor is now directing money to the areas that need it most: health, education, pensioners and families

George Tatch, UK
A great budget. Having shown he can look after the nation's finances, again in this budget promoting business, the chancellor is now directing money to the areas that need it most: health, education, pensioners and families... Social inclusion more than a sound-bite. A clear commitment from the greatest ever Labour Chancellor.
George Tatch, UK

Once again I am disappointed to note that those in higher education have been overlooked. As a postgraduate student I had to pay for the luxury of an education. Now in full-time work I am repaying crippling debts. When will this government realise that the future of the country is dependent upon access to education for all and that for the single person in full-time work life is not easy.
Rebecca Booth, England

Brown should have lowered diesel, less sulphur in it than 4*, so why kill taxi drivers with an increase?
Simon Vine, UK



I think the budget is yet another stealthy one, but the increase in petrol tax is absolutely devastating to me and my family

Melinda Tilley. Oxfordshire
I think the budget is yet another stealthy one, but the increase in petrol tax is absolutely devastating to me and my family. We are an ordinary family, running cars for getting to work, shopping and leisure, we live in a rural community and so need our cars. This tax is an absolute disgrace, I really didn't think the chancellor would have the bare-faced cheek to do this again. Very, very angry.
Melinda Tilley. Oxfordshire

As if buying a property in London wasn't expensive enough, Gordon has managed to make it even worse! Does he really think that with 11 buyers per property on London market, 0.5% extra stamp duty will impact prices?
Tristan, London

Why is the ordinary motorist being punished yet again by increased fuel taxes? The concessions given to road haulage companies will hardly help rural communities! It's time the petrol companies wised up and printed the amount of tax paid on motorists receipts. If the public saw this rip off in black and white every day, it might become less acceptable.
John Rhodes, England

People are confused by ISA plans and now will be even more confused. However they will be better off. Fuel duty should be reduced not raised. Motorists are already penalised enough!
Simon Aston, UK

I run my own business, and I am disappointed that the Chancellor seems to have done so little to encourage those businesses which are building the economic sectors of the future - renewable energy, organic farming, energy efficient technologies: the 21st century alternatives to the dinosaur industries of the past. Businesses need incentives to move to the technologies of the future, and shouldn't be encouraged to stay dependent on the wasteful and damaging ways of the past. Why haven't we heard more about the budget's impact on the environment?
Penny Walker, London, UK

The current focus on education has missed University funding and the way in which students of middle income families are finding it harder to afford further education. Help should be given to middle income families and high income groups need to start contributing more towards their University education.

Added to this is the imbalance between Scottish and English/Welsh students who face greatly varying University costs. It's too expensive to bring all students to the Scottish level so why not abolish the help for Scottish students and redistribute the money into the University system as a whole?
Oliver Scott, UK

Once again Gordon Brown has lifted the spirits of the poor and the elderly. A very good budget for families with children.
Suseelan Damodaran, UK

This budget was a green budget alright!! This government sure knows how to recycle money previously announced!
Memo to the Chancellor: Get out into the real world and see how people are surviving on the terrible public services in this country, rather than viewing things from the back seat of a Jag!
Reg Alderton, UK

Do not the words 'incapacitated' or 'disabled' exist in Gordon Brown's vocabulary. Yet again the genuine sick and disabled are ignored. How much better of will they be this year?
Michael Cooke, Newcastle under Lyme



We will wait to see the small print...once bitten, twice shy.

Roger Hayes, Small Business - Wirral
It would be foolish for anybody to assume that what the chancellor says on Budget day represents the reality - we will wait to see the small print...once bitten, twice shy
Roger Hayes, Small Business - Wirral

Well, no mention of IR35 from what I can gather, so I assume that his "e-commerce budget" will spring to life and cripple any small IT contract firms. Pathetic.
Mark Turner, UK

There is no pleasing some people - Gordon does his best to help.
Luke Middleton, UK

Well no change as usual! As a home owning, car driving occasional drinker I've been taxed further again! Oh well ca plus change...
Rob, UK

The Government's endless plugging of E-Commerce leaves me unsure of whether to laugh or cry. IT experts who understand business, i.e. those in a position to help launch the "E-Commerce Revolution" are about to be taxed out of business under the provisions of IR35. Joined up Government? Ha-Ha, Boo-Hoo.
David Hollick, UK

Doesn't John Prescott look miserable! This is an election budget so let's hope that he has not emptied out the purse for the wrong reasons. Transport policy sounds fair if money is ring-fenced. Education smacks of being a bribe and is not long term. Nothing special for Scotland or the north of England.
Bruce Beaton, Teeand.
Bruce Beaton, Teesside



How comes this country always wants to punish people like me?

Rob Stringer, Chislehurst
Surprise surprise! As a single man in his thirties with a mortgage and a car, who happens to enjoy a social life when he is not working extremely hard, I find that once again, the chancellor has made my life worse.
I enjoy a cigarette and a drink, and I take pleasure in driving, so I am made to suffer. Where are my tax cuts to pay for my increase in my living costs? My mortgage seems to be spiralling upwards, and whenever I need to go to the hospital, I always have to wait at least 5 hours. How comes this country always wants to punish people like me?
Rob Stringer, Chislehurst


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