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The Budget: East Lancashire reaction
CHANCELLOR George Osborne was derided for delivering a ‘more of the same’ Budget of few goodies to a rowdy House of Commons.
He was happy with Labour leader Ed Miliband’s jibe as he highlighted the tough challenges the nation faced, keeping giveaways for a year’s time when a 2015 General Election looms.
The only surprise was beer drinkers getting a penny a pint price cut.
Wine, cider and spirits drinkers got no such bonus as duties rose as usual, while smokers saw 27p added to the price of 20 cigarettes.
Motorists were cheered by the scrapping of a planned 3p fuel duty rise.
There was good news for business with a one point cut in corporation tax to 20 per cent and cuts to national insurance bills. Mr Osborne had help for people raising mortgage deposits and confirmed child care tax reliefs.
Workers benefited from bringing forward a rise in the income tax threshold to £10,000 to April 2014.
Colin Tice, of Haslingden accountants Cassons, praised ‘interesting, but not truly dramatic measures’ while Blackburn with Darwen Labour Coun Andy Kay saw ‘nothing earth-shattering’.
Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle found himself the unexpected star of Westminster as he chaired a dull Budget day debate.
The senior deputy speaker had to interrupt Chancellor George Osborne four times and Labour leader Ed Miliband five times to silence badly-behaved MPs.
He told off Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls twice, telling him not to make a ‘circus’ of proceedings. and warned MPs that ‘pantomime season is not for nine months’.
THE chancellor’s decision to scrap September’s planned three pence fuel duty rise has been given an unqualified welcome.
Steve Gibson, director of Blackburn-based Gilbraith Transport Services, said: “It’s pretty good news. We spend £750,000 a year on fuel so this is a big saving.
“It’s good news for us and keeps our costs down. It’s also good news for our customers because we don’t have to pass the extra cost on to them which is good for local jobs.” Nigel Eggleton, marketing director of Transdev who run Lancashire United buses, said: “This is great news.
“Fuel is a big part of our costs. This will help keep fares down for passengers.”
Blackburn with Darwen council resources boss Andy Kay said: “This is welcome. It’s an extra cost we don’t have to pay in hard times. We spend a lot on fuel.”
THE penny in the pound corporation tax reduction and £2,000 cut in company national insurance bills were welcomed as good for small and medium-sized firms.
East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce chief executive Mike Damms, right, said: “The cut in business tax and national insurance contributions are recognition that only the private sector is going to get us out of this recession. They will give some help to local small and medium sized companies to do this.”
Tim Mills, from Blackburn accountancy firm Pierce, said:“There was some good news for family businesses but they will have to wait to see the real benefits.”
MEASURES to make it easier to raise a deposit and get a mortgage announced by Mr Osborne have been given a qualified welcome in East Lancashire.
Local estate agents believe the extra £3.5billion in shared equity for new build homes and £130billion in mortgage guarantees for any property could help boost the local housing market.
Paul Ainsworth Lord, of Ainsworth Lord Estates, of Market Street, Darwen, said: “It should help the housing market in East Lancashire but the main area is people buying new homes or their second homes.
“It should lubricate the cogs. Things are starting to move now and we are seeing more activity.”
Howard Baker, of Falcon and Foxglove of Hargreaves Street, Burnley said: “What we need here is help for people raising deposits for existing terraced homes. It’s good news provided this mortgage guarantee actually does feed through to older homes to help the market move.”
Blackburn with Darwen council regeneration boss Dave Harling said: “These measures could help us realise our aims of building 9,400 new homes, including 4,000 executive houses, in the borough.”
BREWERS, pub landlords and beer drinkers have welcomed Mr Osborne’s surprise penny cut in the price of a pint.
Steve Magnall, right, managing director of Blackburn’s Thwaites, said: “It had been feared that beer could rise by as much as six pence a pint so to have a reduction of a penny is a welcome surprise and represents a little more good news for the industry.
“Any steps made by the government to encourage people back in to pubs where they can drink in a controlled environment is good both on a social and business level."
David Grant, left, of Burnley’s Moorhouses Brewery, said: “I am elated. It’s fantastic that the Government has finally done something for the brewing and pub industry.”
Jeff Lawrenson, joint tenant of the Sunnyhurst in Tockholes Road, Darwen, said: “It is fabulous news they have scrapped the escalator and reduced beer by a penny.”
Campaign for Real Ale chief executive Mike Benner said: “This is a momentous day for Britain’s beer drinkers, who will tonight be raising a glass to the Chancellor. This decision will keep the lid on the cost of a pint down the pub.”
Rossendale and Darwen MP Jake Berry said: “It looks like the recent visit to Parliament by Thwaites dray horses made the chancellor sympathetic to East Lancashire’s beer drinkers.”