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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 March 2008, 21:01 GMT
Budget 2008: Readers reaction

Chancellor Alistair Darling has delivered his first budget. He announced big increases in duty on alcohol and high-polluting cars, and delayed a planned increase in fuel duty for six months.

A panel of BBC news website readers gave their reaction to the Chancellor's plans.

Martin Moxham, a small business owner from Stevenage, felt that the government was no friend to people like him.

Gary Sutherland is a rural commuter from Kintyre. He really wanted Mr Darling to drop the fuel escalator.

Lyn Richell is a pensioner from Poole in Dorset, she wanted older people to be exempt from council tax.

Samantha Callaghan from Carshalton is part of a working class family. She wanted the Chancellor to help those trying to get on the housing ladder.

MARTIN MOXHAM, SMALL BUSINESS OWNER, STEVENAGE

Since 2001, we have grown a business from scratch that now employs nine people. When the Chancellor announced last year that he would be ending taper relief on Capital Gains Tax, this 'simplification' meant an 80% hike in tax on the future sale of our business.

Martin Moxham

This is a low key budget with no big surprises for small businesses.

The deferment of legislation regarding income shifting is really welcome.

In many family businesses, it is very difficult to put an objective value on the contribution made by husband and wife, and thus it is difficult to set objective criteria with regard to income shifting.

The proposed legislation would have placed a burden on us in terms of additional record-keeping, and it would have acted as a disincentive for couples contemplating starting a business. Let's hope that the government now consigns it to the bin.

Entrepreneurism is about risk and reward; if the rewards are taxed away, then people will be less inclined to take the risks, thus depriving the UK economy of the jobs and wealth created by expanding and successful small companies.

GARY SUTHERLAND, RURAL COMMUTER, KINTYRE

We live in a very rural area. I'm self-employed and my wife is a schoolteacher who has to do a weekly mileage of 250 miles. The cost of fuel for her alone is 100 a week. Previous budgets have meant that our standard of living has worsened year on year. If we don't see any light at the end of the tunnel, we are going to have to move.

Gary Sutherland

Fuel prices cripple us out here.

It's really useful that this Budget has delayed the fuel duty increase - but it would have been nice if the Chancellor had brought it down by 2p.

It's not just the petrol we put in our cars - it's the economy in general. We live in such a rural area, the price of our foodstuffs is more expensive because it has to be dragged so far to the supermarket.

Our gas arrives by tanker, which again boils down to fuel. It affects so many areas of life.

What I would really like to see is a fixed price for the whole country on fuel - heating as well as road fuel.

I drive a Landrover - our roads eat cars. We don't have a choice, it is an inefficient vehicle, but we need a sturdy vehicle to deal with roads.

We should not be penalised for living where we do - we pay our taxes too.

LYN RICHELL, PENSIONER, POOLE, DORSET

My husband died a couple of years ago and I have to pay all the household expenses and mortgage out of my pension instead of two pensions...If I didn't have to pay council tax then perhaps I could manage, but I still need a larger pension in order to maintain a basic living standard.

Lyn Richell

There is nothing here for pensioners. Just lip service, a quid a week.

Nothing whatsoever on council tax, and that is one of the biggest burdens on pensioners.

My council tax for the year is now more than three months worth of my pension. And I've still got to pay gas and electric, and a small mortgage.

I am getting to the point where I'm thinking 'can I afford my food this week?'

I just want to live a normal life, buy my food, pay my bills, instead of which I have to work. I'm 63. It's absolutely frightening.

We should not have to go out and earn money in order to survive.

SAMANTHA CALLAGHAN, WORKING CLASS FAMILY, CARSHALTON

Both my husband and I work full time to support our family and yet we are barely managing to survive. The rich have become better off with the rise in stamp duty and changes to inheritance tax, while all the social reforms only seem to help those families on benefits.

Samantha Callaghan
What the Chancellor proposed doesn't help me in the slightest.

I was impressed by the move to limit stamp duty on shared ownership homes, but that only applies to key workers where I live in the south.

I had hoped the Chancellor would extend shared ownership qualifications and give priority to working parents.

I would like to have seen more changes in the welfare state. Why do we have to wait until 2010 for the changes in incapacity benefits?

And they say they are trying to tackle child poverty - but they will never deny benefits to people with kids, so people are still choosing to have children so they can live off the system.

There is nothing that has helped us, nothing at all. But then I didn't expect much.





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