Politicians, unions and businesses have been reacting to this year’s government Budget
NEARLY 37,000 people in North Devon will benefit from an £800 tax cut following this year’s government Budget.
From April 2015, the point at which people start paying income tax will increase to £10,500, with cuts assisting everyone earning up to £100,000 per year.
The move was announced as one of a number of new policies in Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget today (Wednesday).
Savers and pensioners also look set to be better off, with new limits on ISAs and the removal of tax restrictions on pensioners’ access to their pension pots.
The 10p tax rate for savers will also be abolished, while the ‘help to buy’ scheme for new build homes will be extended to 2020. Fuel duty will also be frozen.
Businesses, too, will benefit, with the Annual Investment Allowance rising to £500,000 from £25,000 a year ago.
And from 2017, a new 12-sided £1 coin will be launched to fight counterfeiting.
Nationally, £340million has been made available for flood defence and pothole maintenance.
North Devon’s Liberal Democrat MP Nick Harvey hailed the income tax cut as ‘great news’.
“In government, the Liberal Democrats have prioritised tax cuts for the low and middle earners – cutting income tax by £700 was right on the front page of our election manifesto. So I’m delighted that in today’s budget we have been able to go even further and deliver an £800 tax cut for 36,940 people across North Devon.
“We know that our local area has some of the lowest average wages in the country so this £100 back in people’s pockets is a real boost.”
North Devon Council’s Lib Dem leader Brian Greenslade said: “All in all for low income areas like North Devon, where car use is essential for many, and where the pensioner population is quite high, relatively good news.”
Peter Heaton Jones, Conservative parliamentary candidate for North Devon, said the budget proved ‘that the Conservative Party’s long-term economic plan is working’.
“Today’s Budget is great news for businesses, pensioners and hardworking families throughout North Devon,” he said.
“I welcome the news that our vital Lifeboats Service will be getting more money. The Chancellor will divert some of the fines from the banking scandal to ensure the safety of our coastlines.”
And Matthew Melksham, Partner at Haines Watts North Devon in Bideford, said te Budget contained ‘great news for businesses in North Devon’.
“Against the backdrop of a recovering economy, the Chancellor has attempted to incentivise business whilst acknowledging the need to continue to control costs and build a resilient recovery,” he said.
But UNISON assistant general secretary Roger McKenzie accused Mr Osborne of being ‘short on fairness, short of ideas and short of a feel good factor’.
“The Chancellor has run out of time and ideas,” he said. “His claims that people are feeling the benefits of his austerity agenda are wearing thin.
“It’s a low wage economy here in the South West - since April 2008 we have seen a 13.7% reduction in wages.
“UNISON members will see through the Chancellor’s Budget for what it means – at least another four years of pain for little gain.”
Dr Colin Brown, director of engineering at the Institution of mechanical Engineers, claimed the £140million released to repair flood defences was nothing more than a ‘sticking plaster’ approach.