The Budget 2011: Huddersfield residents, businesses and politicians have their say

What do different groups of people in Huddersfield think about yesterday's budget?

The Pensioners

RETIRED joiner Donald Crowther and his wife Doreen have welcomed the Government’s plans to fund more apprenticeships.

The Budget won’t have an impact on their finances as pensioners.

Mrs Crowther, 77, a retired office worker said: "We are pleased with the announcement for Government funding for another 40,000 apprentices.

"Donald served an apprenticeship and we are pleased the Government has decided that more young people need to work with their hands rather than go to university."

Mrs Crowther, of Heaton Drive, Kirkheaton, said as neither herself nor her husband smoked and they didn’t often drink, this part of the Budget did not really affect them.

But she welcomed the 1p fuel duty cut, although she thought it was not really enough to make a big difference.

The couple also welcomed the increase in tax allowance for working people.

"It is good if people can earn a bit more before it is taken away in tax," she said.

Mrs Crowther commented on increasing food prices.

"We were brought up during the war years, so my advice to people would be just to buy what they need and make do," she said.

Regarding pensions she said as herself and her husband had worked and managed to save a little, they were lucky that they did not have to rely on the state pension.

The Smoker

WAITER Grant Spencer, who smokes 20 to 30 a day, was unimpressed by the Chancellor’s announcement that the price of a packet of cigarettes would rise by 2 per cent above inflation.

"I didn’t know about the increase but I suppose it’s better news than normal because cigarettes have been getting more expensive over the last few years,’’ he said. "They seem to have become extortionate."

The 21-year-old, who lives on Bath Street in the town centre, smokes Benson and Hedges, which currently cost around £6.80 for a packet of 20.

But Grant, who works as a waiter at Coffee Evolution on Church Street, does not believe a 2p rise is enough to persuade him to stop.

"I don’t think there’s anything the Government could do to make me quit,’’ he said.

"If people want to smoke, they will smoke.

"If the Government put up the price by £2 or £3 above inflation I would have to cut back."

The Developer

MEASURES to support the property sector were welcomed by a Holme Valley developer.

But Richard Conroy, chief executive of Brockholes-based Conroy Brook Developments Ltd, said Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget was "tinkering around the edges" in an effort not to "rock the ship" as the economy showed signs of recovery.

Mr Conroy welcomed the "modest measure" to pump £250m – funded from the bankers’ levy – into helping first-time buyers on to the property ladder and free a "log-jam" which was affecting all house sales.

But he said the Government’s "presumption in favour of development" sat strangely alongside its Localism Bill, which would give residents a greater say in what development took place.

Mr Conroy, who business employs 25 people directly, but provides work for up to 250 tradespeople, said: "I don’t think my industry was expecting a great deal from the Budget. The table is pretty bare."

The Businessman

THE Budget’s measures to boost enterprise should provide some encouragement for local firms, says a leading business figure.

Jeremy Garside, managing partner of law firm Chadwick Lawrence, said: "The Government has repeatedly said that small and medium sized enterprises must create the jobs to offset those jobs lost in the public sector and it was time for the Government to act to support business."

Mr Garside, whose firm employs 170 people at offices in Huddersfield and across West Yorkshire, said: "On the whole I was very encouraged by the Budget. Measures to reduce regulation and free up the planning system will help business locally.

"However, much lies in the detail which is not currently available. On the face of it, measures to assist business financially sound encouraging but I am not sure that those measures will make finance more readily available for our clients, many of whom are struggling in their efforts to raise finance, hampering development, growth and jobs."

He added: "The future of this country lies with small and medium sized businesses. The Chancellor appears to be setting out his stall in favour of business and starting to give business the support it needs which can only be good news."

The Motorist

DRIVERS in Huddersfield were unenthusiastic about George Osborne’s 1p fuel tax cut.

The Chancellor announced that duty would be reduced at forecourts from 6pm yesterday.

He also delayed the 1p increase planned for next month until April next year.

But at the pumps motorists said it would make little difference.

Keith Fuller, 59, of Birchencliffe, uses his car in his job as a self- employed industrial sewing machine mechanic.

He said fuel prices were "crucifying" his business.

He said: "I put in about a tenner of fuel a day at the moment but it’s going up all the time.

"It’s really good- hearted of him to cut duty by 1p isn’t it?

"Of course they should be doing more – they get half of what I pay for petrol in tax."

Taxi driver Nwaz Shafi, 27, of Springwood, said: "Our fares stay the same because that’s up to the council, but we are losing money because we are having to pay more for petrol.

"Just 1p a litre isn’t going to make much difference."

Nurse Emma Slater, 31,  said her weekly spend on fuel had increased from about £15 to £20.

She said: "A penny isn’t much is it?

"I don’t really know what else they can do though because prices are affected by what happens overseas."

Retired lecturer Liz Balderstone, 65,  of Longwood, does not often use her car during the winter but travels all over the country for dog agility trials during the summer.

She said: "It costs me about £60 to fill up.

"When I bought the car four years ago it was about £40.

"I’m OK, but a lot of my pals are really struggling and it’s having an affect on the dog trials and numbers are well down.

The Family

FAMILIES have been given little relief from the monthly financial balancing act, according to a Marsh dad.

Neil Salmon, who is married to Rachael and has two daughters Lydia, six and Eve, four said the one pence cut to petrol duty would help a little.

"It isn’t very much when petrol is extortionate, but it could have been much worse and at least he has acknowledged that the price is too high," he said.

Neil works as a creative media demonstrator at the University of Salford and his wife is an administrator at Mirfield’s Community of the Resurrection.

He said the increase in personal tax allowance was not significant and neither himself nor him wife had received pay rises this year.

"It becomes more difficult each month to make ends meet,’’ he said.

"I travel to work by train and my seasonal ticket has gone up to £200. Food has gone up also and even though we try to use local shops in Marsh for essentials, we are having to shop around more and get special offers and bargains."

Mr Salmon said he felt the Budget could have been much worse but it brought little relief to families.

The Charity THE Budget is a welcome boost for cash-strapped charities.

Neil Salmon from Marsh-based Joseph Salmon Trust said: "This is a excellent Budget for charities. There are a lot of positives and some of these changes we have been campaigning for a long time."

The trust was started in 2008 by Rachael and Neil Salmon, whose three-year-old son died as a result of pneumonia in 2005.

The charity provides financial help for parents who have lost children to cover funeral and related costs.

Neil welcomed the announcement that charities no longer need to fill in gift aid applications for donations between £10 and under £5,000. Under the Gift Aid scheme, charities can reclaim an extra 25% in tax on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer.

Neil said the change would mean an additional £1,000 a year for the charity.

"Currently we only capture a third of our donations for gift aid so this will make a huge difference to a small charity like ours."

Small gifts from collection boxes would particularly benefit from this he said.

The Trust will also be able to claim inheritance tax revenue which Neil said may encourage more people to give money to charity as legacies so their cash was bequeathed to a charity rather than going to the Government.

Small Employer THE owner of one small firm in Denby Dale says Chancellor George Osborne’s "Budget for business" will bring him few benefits.

Alan Fish, managing director of water cooler distribution and installation firm Cool Water Direct, said: "It will not make much difference to companies of our size."

Mr Fish, whose firm employs eight people, said he had hoped to see tax relief for capital equipment which would have enabled him to buy more machinery and free funds to employ another two tele-sales staff.

He said a 1p drop in fuel duty was small compensation for his company which had been hit by "dramatic" increases in fuel over the past few months.

Mr Fish welcomed moves to combine income tax and National Insurance Contribution in a bid to simplify tax matters for employers.

But he said: "There was nothing in the Budget to encourage me to do anything differently."

The Haulier

SLAITHWAITE-based haulage company owner Ken Taylor said he was pleased with the Budget.

"They’re trying,’’ he said. "It’s the first time we’ve had a Budget that we’re not shouting about.

"We’re still struggling but it seems like good news that they’re going to balance the duty.

"We might be able to get a bit more of a stable working environment.

"What we really need is for them to do something about the foreign hauliers.

"They don’t care what price diesel is as they don’t buy it here.

"They should be charged at the ports."

Institute of Advanced Motorists chief examiner, Peter Rodger added: "Reducing fuel duty is a welcome break for hard-pressed motorists and businesses, but eco-driving is the only guaranteed way to reduce motoring costs. It's no longer an ethical choice, it's a money-saving essential – especially in rural areas where driving is a necessity.

"The best fuel-saver is a light right foot and anticipating the road ahead."

Local political reaction

HUDDERSFIELD MP BARRY SHEERMAN said the Budget left him "in fear and trepidation" for employment prospects in the town.

The veteran Labour MP said: "We are going through a period of retrenchment and a decline in growth.

"The economy is flat and the commonsense approach would be to give it a boost. I don’t think the Chancellor realises what a serious situation we are in."

COLNE Valley MP Jason McCartney believes the town’s university could be in line for Government cash from the Budget for scientific innovation and research.

The Tories outlined £100m towards science enterprise and Mr McCartney said: "Huddersfield is in line for some of this."

He said overall it was a Budget for families and enterprise.

"We have taken another 250,000 low-paid people out of the tax system,’’ he said. "That means we have helped 1.1m people in this way since we came to power.’’

And he said people will benefit from the 1p off fuel now ..

He added: "There will be 40,000 new apprenticeships and 12 technical colleges with funding for 100,000 work experience placements.’’

KIRKLEES leader Clr MEHBOOB KHAN criticised the Budget.

The Greenhead Labour man said: "There’s no plan for jobs and growth. We welcome the move to help motorists but there ought to be greater support to improve rail and bus transport.’’

CLR ROBERT LIGHT, leader of the Kirklees Conservatives, welcomed the tax changes.

The point at which people start paying tax will rise by £630 to £8,015 from April next year.

Clr Light said: "It’s good news about personal allowances, it will help a lot of lower-income families cope with the financial pressures."

The Birstall and Birkenshaw man was also happy to hear a planned increase in petrol tax had been delayed until 2012.

CLR KATH PINNOCK, Kirklees Lib Dem leader, said yesterday’s Budget included many policies from her party.

She said: "One of our key manifesto promises was to raise the level at which people start paying income tax to £10,000 by the end of the Parliament.

"The first stage begins this April when every taxpayer will be £100 better off."

KIRKLEES Green leader Clr ANDREW COOPER criticised the chancellor for announcing tax cuts.

The Newsome man said: "You’ve got to ask whether tax cuts are the right thing to do, given the cuts being made to services for elderly and vulnerable people."

 

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