MPs slam Budget

TWO Tory MPs today (Thursday) slammed the Chancellor s Budget. On Wednesday, Chancellor Alistair Darling announced a arise in tax on alocohol, putting 1p on the price of a pint of beer. The same amount of tax on tobacco means an extra 7p on a pack of 20 c

TWO Tory MPs today (Thursday) slammed the Chancellor's Budget.

On Wednesday, Chancellor Alistair Darling announced a arise in tax on alocohol, putting 1p on the price of a pint of beer. The same amount of tax on tobacco means an extra 7p on a pack of 20 cigarettes. Both rises came into force by midnight last night (Wednesday).

Fuel duty will rise by 2p a litre from September then by 1p a litre each April for the next four years.

From next month until March 2010 motorists get a �2,000 discount on new cars if they trade in cars older than 10 years.

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Income tax for those earning �150,000 or over, will rise to 50 per cent from 2010.

Stamp duty for holiday homes up to �175,000 will be extended until the end of the year.

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Statutory redundancy pay is up from �350 to �380 a week.

The annual limit for tax-free ISAs is to rise to more than �10,200 a year for over-50s this year and for everyone else next year.

MP for North East Herts Oliver Heald said: "The Budget was concrete evidence that this is the worst recession since World War II, with unemployment rising faster than the recessions in the 1980s and 1990s and annual Government borrowing at the highest ever level of �175 billion.

"The Government did not fix the roof when the sun was shining and important action to cut Government borrowing has been put off until after the General Election. Basically, the sooner we tackle the debts, the less the long-term problems.

"With increases in National Insurance already in the pipeline and new tax rises on beer and petrol, the Budget will make life more difficult for hard working families, whose personal debt levels are high enough already.

"What they should have done was to introduce an effective Loan Guarantee Scheme to help businesses keep going, start on reducing unnecessary Government spending and help young people more, particularly those apprentices who are losing their training as jobs are lost.

"Conservatives believe we need to start tackling the Government debts now and to build an economy on saving and investment rather than Labour's decade of debt."

Alistair Burt, MP for North East Beds, said: "The headline figures are frightening enough for my constituents. At a time when unemployment in NE Bedfordshire has risen by over 150 per cent in a year, and is still climbing fast, the debt to be faced by them and their children seems astronomical, and far beyond recessions of the past.

"The Budget is a despairing re-run of Labour's sleight of hand. The increased burden of tax, on fuel and National Insurance, will be faced by the many not the few: �1000 tax rise for every family over the next two years, and each child born facing a �22,500 debt. Cuts in schools, the NHS and skills just expose how badly off the rails it has all become.

"But long term there must be a vision for a changed relationship between state and private spending, and how political parties and the country are going to cope with such a different economic landscape. Only a fresh start can achieve this, an economy built not on debt but on saving and investment, and the sooner the better."

Two pub landlords were not impressed by the Budget. Terry Eaton at the White Lion in Stevenage Old Town said: "The Chancellor has just put the knife into our trade a bit deeper.

"The trade is suffering with cheap drink in supermarkets so we needed some help because we are still suffering from the smoking ban."

The landlord of the Coach and Horses in Stevenage Old Town said: "The Budget was no surprise, but all pub landlords will still be struggling when they are up against the prices in supermarkets."

Estate agents are also unhappy with the Budget. One, who did not want to be named, said: "Increasing taxes on everything else means people are spending money elsewhere so it's going to have a negative effect on the housing market.

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