DORSET’s makers, doers and savers look set to benefit from the Budget.
Chancellor George Osborne highlighted areas of growth in the economy and outlined plans for the year ahead.
Areas hit by the recent storms and flooding, including Dorset, will benefit from a pot of £140million for repairs and maintenance to flood defences, while there will be an additional £200million for pothole repairs.
Mr Osborne said that money from the Libor fines will go to military charities, and added: “I can extend that support to search and rescue and lifeboat services and give £10m to the scouts, cadets and St John Ambulance.”
Unit manager at Weymouth St John Ambulance, Julie Dean, said that every penny helped to provide vital first aid life-saving training for people in Dorset.
She said it was great news, adding: “This money will help us train more people.”
Mr Osborne said cash shares and ISAs will be merged into a sin-gle New ISA with an annual tax-free savings limit of £15,000 from July 1 and will introduce a new Pensioner Bond for the over 65s.
Dorset’s lifesavers could benefit as inheritance tax for emergency service workers who ‘give their lives in line of duty’ will be waived. Other measures include a cancellation of the proposed fuel duty rise, a penny reduction in beer duty, tobacco duty to rise by two per cent, and a £20million pot to pay for cathedral repairs ahead of First World War remembrance services.
Businesses in Dorset will also benefit from the doubling of the annual investment allowance to £500,000 until the end of 2015.
And Dorset residents will benefit from the increase in the personal tax allowance increasing to £10,500 – this could see a reduction of £800 in income tax for Dorset workers.
Mr Osborne said: “We are turning this country around. This is a budget for the makers, the doers and the savers.”
Chief executive of Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry Ian Girling said the chancellor’s recognition of the need for investment to support economic growth is a welcome step towards recovery.
He added: “Our economy is clearly growing although the economy remains fragile and standards of living have been eroded over the last few years.
“We continue to see austerity measures to reduce the budget deficit and we have some way to go in terms of recovery.”
What the Budget means for you
Mickey Jones, chief executive of DJ property in Weymouth, pictured above, said the budget was interesting and was geared towards big business and savers.
He said the government was trying to grow the private sector and make it more competitive.
Measures to make big business more energy efficient would make them more competitive. If they were more competitive they would be more profitable and this could be passed down to companies and individuals, he said.
Mr Jones added: “All of us can find a little something where it helps us. There’s no bad news in it – that’s the key thing.”
Mark Bennett, owner of Bennett’s on the Waterfront restaurant in Weymouth, pictured above, said it was ‘frustrating’ that the standard rate of VAT hadn’t been reduced.
He said: “I didn’t think it was going to happen.
“I just had a gut feeling it wouldn’t.
“It would help if it did. It would make a lot easier for everybody.”
He added: “What I was hoping for was a feel-good factor to come off the budget, which I don’t feel we have received.”
THE ESTATE AGENT
ESTATE agents have welcomed the extension of the Help to Buy equity loans discussed in the Budget.
Chancellor George Osborne’s scheme to help families buy homes worth up to £600,000 was originally due to wind down in 2016 but will now continue until 2020.
Mr Osborne has announced a £6billion extension of the scheme, which sees the government offering a 20 per cent equity loan to buyers of newly built properties, who must offer a five per cent deposit.
Mr Osborne announced in the budget that the extension would help build 120,000 more homes.
Sean Austin, director of Austin Property Services in Weymouth, said: “I am pleased to say that the housing market in Dorset specifically in Weymouth and Dorchester is booming.
“What the government is doing to help the public with help to buy schemes and equity schemes – specifically for first time buyers in Dorset – is excellent.
“The demand for property in general is rising but property prices are also going up.
“The decision to extend the Help to Buy scheme is good news for the mortgage market.”
Robert Wilson, director of Wilson Tominey estate agents, said the move is a positive step for first-time buyers in Dorset but could raise house prices further.
THE SINGLE DAD
A SINGLE Dorset dad who works full-time says future savings cannot be made due to rising living costs.
Not only does Stuart Kerr work for 30 hours each week, he also cares for his son and goes to college.
He said that while George Osborne’s promises of a ‘budget for a resilient economy’ sounds positive to ordinary working people more needs to be done to help working single parents.
He said: “While on paper it looks good the reality is that this saving will be swallowed straight up in the general increases in electricity, gas, water, council tax and other everyday expenses.
“I’m a struggling single dad – I work, I pay my maintenance and I have my son Oliver twice a week but still struggle as I get no help or assistance.
“I can only afford to rent a room in a shared house and when my son comes to stay we share a room.”
He added: “There needs to be more support for single parents and childcare costs.
“The Budget mentions more help for married couples but what about single working parents?”
He told the Echo he also felt more could be done to deter tax avoidance.
Yvonne Hall, 67, from Southill, Weymouth, said she did not believe the budget held anything much for her as a pensioner on the basic rate pension.
She said: “I don’t have savings every year to put away in an ISA, that part doesn’t affect me.”
She added: “People like me and there’s a lot like me, we don’t have money to invest.”
She added that she didn’t think the budget had anything aimed at pensioners. She said: “The government are completely out of touch with low paid working people and basic rate pensioners.”
Rob Golsby and Amber Thorn, live in Upwey and have two children, baby Isla and Alfie, 18 months.
Mr Golsby said he was pleased the Help to Buy scheme had been extended until 2020 as they were looking to get involved with the scheme, but had been concerned it would finish before they got a deposit.
He said: “It makes it easier.”
With regards to the rest of the budget, Mr Golsby said he was sceptical about it. If the energy measures introduced led to a substantial saving, Mr Golsby said that would be good.
The government said yesterday they would be funding a £7billion package to cut energy bills which could equate to a saving of £15 a year for families.
Mr Golsby said: “It doesn’t really make a difference, does it?”
- Personal tax allowance to be raised to £10,500 next year; £800 average savings
- Higher rate threshold for 40p income tax to rise from £41,450 to £41,865 next month and then by further 1% to £42,285 next year
- Transferable tax allowance for married couples to rise to £1,050
- 15% stamp duty on homes worth more than £500,000 bought through companies
- Inheritance tax waived for emergency services personnel who "give their lives protecting us"
- VAT waived on fuel for inshore rescue boats and air ambulances
- Fuel duty rise planned for September cancelled
PENSIONS AND SAVINGS
- All tax restrictions on pensioners’ access to pension pots removed and tax on cash removed on retirement cut from 55% to 20%
- Reform of taxation of defined contribution pensions to help 13 million people from March 27
- Abolition of 10p starting rate of tax on income from savings
- GDP growth forecast to be 2.7% this year, then 2.3%, 2.6%, 2.6% and 2.5% in following years - making the UK economy £16 billion bigger than predicted
- Deficit revised down to 6.6% this year, and forecast to fall in following years before going into surplus of 0.2% in 2018/19
- Borrowing expected to be £108 billion this year – £12billion less than forecast
- Debt revised down to 74.5% of GDP this year; then predicted to peak at 78.7% in 2015/16 and fall to 74.2% by 2018
- £270 million guarantee approved for the Mersey Gateway Bridge.
- Support to build 200,000 homes.
- Additional £140 million made available for repairs and maintenance to flood defences
- OBR forecasts 1.5million more jobs over the next five years and earnings to grow faster than inflation
- Welfare cap set at £119billion for 2015/16, rising to £127billion by 2018/19, only state pension and cyclical unemployment benefits excluded
- £7billion package to cut energy bills includes £18 per ton cap on carbon price support, saving medium-sized manufacturers £50,000 and families £15 a year
- Compensation scheme for energy intensive industries extended four years to 2019/20; £1billion to protect manufacturers from cost of green levies
- Tobacco duty to rise by 2% above inflation
- Alcohol duty escalator scrapped
- Duty on spirits and ordinary cider frozen. Beer duty cut by 1p a pint
- Duty on fixed-odds betting terminals increased to 25%
- Bingo duty halved to 10%.
- 20% tax relief for theatre productions
- Business rate discounts and enhanced capital allowances in enterprise zones extended for three more years
- Research and development tax credit for loss-making small businesses raised from 11% to 14.5%
- Annual investment allowance doubled to £500,000 and extended to the end of 2015