Budget 2012: Comet country reaction

Billed as a Budget to reduce the deficit, reform tax, support growth and reward work, the Chancellor’s announcements today (Wednesday) were met with both support and anger in Comet country.

Changes include raising the level at which workers pay income tax to �9,205, reducing the 50p top rate of tax to 45p and freezing or scrapping tax allowances for pensioners.

The removal of the universal child benefit will go ahead but with a gradual implementation for those earning between �50,000 and �60,000; an estimated 300,000 people will be drawn into the 40 per cent higher tax rate, and stamp duty of seven per cent will be charged on properties worth more than �2m.

Tobbaco was hit with a rise of five per cent above inflation and a planned 3p hike in petrol duty will go ahead, while drinkers face paying an extra five to 10p on a pint.

Businesses will pay less corporation tax which will be cut in stages to 22 per cent by 2014.

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Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland said the announcement will give residents more money and opportunities.

“This is a Budget for families, jobs and pensioners with fairness at the heart of it,” he said. “I am proud we are lifting millions of people out of tax and local people will have more money in their pocket. And we are introducing the biggest ever increase in the state pension to help the elderly members of our community.

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“Our help for businesses will mean more jobs and opportunities for young people and the massive investment in the pupil premium which helps the poorest pupils in school is a real boost for families struggling as we try to clear up the massive debts Labour left behind.”

North East Beds MP Alistair Burt said it was a radical Budget which will help Britain “earn its way in the world” and cut tax avoidance by the wealthiest in society.

He added: “The historic increase in personal tax allowances to �9205 will lift 75,000 people in the East of England out of income tax and will benefit 2.2 million in the region. A further 88,000 households in Bedfordshire and across the East of England will also benefit from the welcomed adjustments to the child benefit plan.”

But Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor said it was the same old Tories “giving big hand outs to millionaires”.

“There’s some investment in tax allowances, but people are facing fuel increases, food price going up, unemployment going up to nine per cent, wages being frozen.

“The additional amount of tax allowance is nowhere near going to meet the amount people are going to have to spend.”

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