EAST Lancashire’s drinkers, pensioners, savers, and bingo players will benefit from yesterday’s Budget.
But fixed-odds betting machine gamblers, smokers and thousands of benefits claimants will be hit.
George Osborne cut manufacturers’ fuel bills, helped small businesses and exporters, and introduced a new forger-proof one pound coin shaped like the old 12-sided ‘threepenny bit’.
He raised personal tax allowances, taking thousands out of top rate tax and income tax altogether.
The Chancellor called it ‘a Budget for the makers, the doers and the savers’.
Beer duty was cut by a penny but the cigarette tax rises by two per cent above in inflation for the foreseeable future. Fuel duty was frozen.
Raising the personal allowance before people pay tax to £10,500 was welcomed as a major boost for East Lancashire workers by Rossendale and Darwen Tory MP Jake Berry.
However Blackburn Labour MP Jack Straw warned the new cap on welfare payments of £119 billion would cancel it out for many families.
He said: “The combination of rises in personal tax allowances and the proposed benefit cap with its effect on housing benefit on low income working families will mean little real difference to local people.
“This cap means the unemployed will be punished twice for losing their jobs.
“I welcome halving the tax on bingo. It is a sociable form of gambling, unlike fixed odds betting machines. I support the increase in taxation on these.” Mr Osborne’s major surprises were help for savers and pensioners.
He merged cash and share Isas into a single new version with an annual tax-free savings limit of £15,000 while allowing pensioners to cash in all their retirement pot.
He launched a new Pensioner Bond.
East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce chief executive Mike Damms said: “For local firms, the £7bn package on energy prices will help manufacturing.
“The doubling of the UK Export Finance direct lending scheme will directly benefit us”.
Moorhouse’s Brewery boss David Grant said: “Scrapping the tax escalator for all alcohol and a penny off a pint of beer is a move in the right direction.”
Helen Cowley, of Haslingden Chartered Accountants Cassons, said: “The ISA, pensions and savings tax changes are welcome for the well-advised.
“They will help to those with savings income.”